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(Photo by © ABC / Courtesy: Everett Collection, Adrian S. Burrows / ©Showtime / Courtesy Everett Collection, Courtesy of Netflix, Pari Dukovic/FX)


LGBTQ+ representation on TV has been advanced through reality shows — both competition and otherwise — and documentaries, even those that aren’t explicitly billed as queer: MTV’s The Real World was a groundbreaker for gay and lesbian representation, and Project Runway has spotlighted the talents of dozens of LGBTQ creatives. In this list you’ll find the queen of them all, RuPaul’s Drag Race, along with some more hidden-gem reality competitions to check out, among them TRANSform Me, hosted by Laverne Cox, and The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula. Also here: insightful docuseries like Gaycation, in which Ellen Page explores different LGBTQ+ cultures across the planet, and Apple TV+’s Visible: Out on Television, which dives into the impact that television — including some of the shows on this list — has had on the community and how it is perceived.

Favorite LGBTQ+ TV Shows
Groundbreakers and Big Firsts | Shows That Center on the LGBTQ+ Experience
Shows With LGBTQ+ Characters and Storylines | Reality Shows and Docuseries

Synopsis: Comic Billy Eichner transitions his man-on-the-street-style interviews that first became popular via the Funny or Die website to TV, roaming... [More]
Starring: Billy Eichner

Synopsis: Ten monster drag artists must compete for a $100,000 prize and the title of "Dragula: The World's Next Drag Supermonster."... [More]
Directed By: The Boulet Brothers

Synopsis: They're not typical farmers in the least, but Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge hope their entrepreneurial spirit makes up... [More]

Gaycation (2016)

Synopsis: Openly gay actor Elliot Page heads out, with best friend Ian Daniel, on a journey to explore various LGBTQ cultures... [More]

Gayme Show (2020)

Synopsis: Matt Rogers and Dave Mizzoni host as two straight contestants compete in a series of physical, mental, and performance challenges... [More]

I Am Cait (2015)

Synopsis: Caitlyn Jenner's first public appearance since her transition included making an impassioned, heartfelt speech at the ESPY Awards about the... [More]
Starring: Caitlyn Jenner
Directed By: Andrea Metz

I Am Jazz (2015)

Synopsis: When Jazz Jennings was 2 years old, she asked her mother when a fairy was going to change her from... [More]

The Lady and the Dale (2021)

Synopsis: The story of Elizabeth Carmichael, who released a fuel-efficient vehicle during the 1970s gas crisis; as she wins over major... [More]

Legendary (2020)

Synopsis: Pulling from the underground ballroom community, voguing teams, called "Houses," compete in dance challenges and showcase fashions for chance to... [More]

Synopsis: A dance team based in Mobile, Ala., the Prancing Elites face more obstacles than similar troupes as they work for... [More]

Pride (2021)

Synopsis: "PRIDE" is a documentary series chronicling the struggle for LGBTQ+ civil rights in America from the 1950s through the 2000s.... [More]

Queer Eye (2018)

Synopsis: More than a decade after the original series went off the air, Netflix reboots the "Queer Eye" franchise with a... [More]

Queer Eye (2003)

Synopsis: Five gay style experts aid hapless straight men.... [More]

The Real World (1992)

Synopsis: Seven young adults share close living quarters.... [More]
Starring: Janelle Casanave
Directed By: Kasey Barrett

Transcendent (2015)

Synopsis: From the producers of Fuse's highest-rated series, "Big Freedia," comes a reality docuseries focusing on a 21st-century cultural perspective: what... [More]

TRANSform Me (2010)

Synopsis: Helping women make changes from the inside out, each episode of this show follows one person in need of a... [More]

The Real L Word (2010)

Synopsis: In this offshoot (sort of) of Showtime's drama series "The L Word," cameras follow lesbians in Los Angeles and New... [More]

RuPaul's Drag Race (2009)

Synopsis: "RuPaul's Drag Race" is a reality show in which a group of talented drag queens compete in challenges to impress... [More]

Synopsis: An exploration of the history of the American LGBTQ movement through the lens of TV; archival footage is combined with... [More]

We're Here (2020)

Synopsis: This reality series features drag queens with charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent as they travel across the United States and... [More]

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