For Pride Month this year, I’m highlighting some great queer representation on television. Not every character is perfect nor are some of them perfect representations, but each brings something fresh and different to the screen. (Click here for full list.)
8. David Rose, Schitt’s Creek
I had so much restraint not posting him earlier. David, played by Dan Levy, is openly pansexual, an orientation that is not widely discussed or even mentioned in mainstream media. And if it is, it’s usually some weird “It’s not the gender it’s the person~~” bullshit. Schitt’s Creek is direct with David’s orientation later in the episode – including saying the word ‘pansexual’ – but we also get this amazing conversation. (FYI: Stevie is a woman.)
Stevie: So, just to be clear… I’m a red wine drinker.
David: That’s fine.
Stevie: Okay, cool. I only drink red wine. And up until last night, I was under the impression that you, too, only drank red wine. But I guess I was wrong?
David: I see where you’re going with this. Um, I do drink red wine. But I also drink white wine. And I’ve been known to sample the occasional rose. And a couple summers back I tried a merlot that used to be a chardonnay, which got a bit complicated.
Stevie: Oh, so you’re just really open to all wines.
David: I like the wine and not the label. Does that make sense?
Stevie: Yes, it does.
9. Oliver Hampton, How to Get Away With Murder
Oliver wasn’t meant to become a mainstay on HtGAwM, but Conrad Ricamora made us fall in love with him. He is smart, sarcastic, and oh so pure. His ignorance about all the dark shit happening elsewhere in his world gave Connor and us a refuge where we knew compassion and care existed. At the end of season 1, Oliver discovered he is HIV+, a huge moment in network television. Thanks to progressive medicine, the audience was told about PrEP and PEP, two HIV drugs that have changed how we deal with the virus. HIV wasn’t a death sentence for Oliver and we got to see him and Connor have sex on a desk in season 2. You know, the important things.
10. Bill Potts, Doctor Who
Bill is brand new to the world of Doctor Who but holy cow do I love her. She’s funny, quick, and critical of the world around her. Her queer identity was so subtly introduced but there’s no questioning it. We see her get crushes on ladies and even go on dates! It’s great to have two queer women of color going on a date together on such a high-profile show. Even though we’re only halfway into her first season, Pearl Mackie’s Bill is easily one of the best companions in New Who.
11. Darryl Whitefeather, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
I love Darryl so much. He’s been described as being the character most like Rebecca (Rachel Bloom), except he goes about the solution in the mature manner. Darryl, played by Peter Gardner, is a 40-something, divorced, single dad who comes out as bisexual with fanfare after he realizes he has a crush on a man but still likes women. He is open, loud, and proud about his identity and has given the bisexual community its own anthem. Thank you, CXG! (Watch “Gettin’ Bi” here!)
12. Santana Lopez, Glee
I was trying not to repeat TV shows, but Glee is a treasure trove of queer characters and I need to talk about Santana Lopez. She was only meant to be a small character, a side-kick to Quinn, but Naya Rivera put so much life into her that she couldn’t be ignored. Unlike all the other queer characters on Glee, Santana really didn’t know she was gay until later in the series. We see her realize her identity and then grow into it, breaking that age-old stereotype that queer people “have always known” they were queer. (I sure didn’t.) She is a strong, loyal, passionate, lesbian Latina. And on today, the anniversary of the massacre at Pulse, we are reminded that queer Latinx people need support and representation more than ever.
13. Mac, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Mac. Oooooooh Mac. Mac’s sexual orientation has been a small thread going through the series from the very beginning. It’s been a slow build for literally 12 seasons. All the other characters knew Mac was gay and alluded to it several times over the years, but Mac would deny, deny, deny. He is undeniably in love with Dennis, who is a monster of a human being. (They’re all garbage people, let’s make that clear.) When he did officially come out (for the second time), he did so during legal arbitration. The Gang expected him to go back into the closet like he had done so many times before, but instead he stayed out. I love Mac because there is so much compassion in his coming out and sexuality. He genuinely loves Dennis. These sweet moments add to the true heart of the show and make you really care about them, even when they’re huffing paint or kidnapping people.
14. Ian Gallagher, Shameless (US)
Shameless is such a great show. The Gallaghers are one super fucked up family but they’re just trying to keep it together and get through the day. One of the 6 Gallagher children is Ian. When we meet Ian, he’s 16, a little shyer than his siblings, and a generally good kid. Oh, and he’s having sex with his married male boss. Ian draws the attention of Mickey Milkovich and his goons who are intent on beating the shit out of him for being gay. Things get interesting when we find out Mickey is also gay. Their relationship is very different from those we see on most other shows because their relationship is very unhealthy and sometimes extremely toxic. Ian and Mickey love each other a great deal and care about each other, but often encourage the other to be reckless and cruel. It’s one of the few queer couples on TV who are not put on a pedestal of perfection or flawlessness. It shows that queer couples can be just as volatile as straight ones.