These five killer shows feature twisted plotlines, engrossing stories, and authentic representations of queer relationships and characters.
The world isn’t all bad news and bigotry. Although we still have a long way to go, LGBT representation in U.S. television is rising, reaching an all-time high in 2022. Nearly 12% of regular characters are queer, up 2.8% from the previous year. Of course, there are still shortfalls and missed opportunities. But it’s a positive trend that’s great for representation. It’s also been a win for audiences who have enjoyed diverse, challenging, and compelling programming.
If you’re looking for some great, critically acclaimed, and widely heralded shows that also feature great queer relationships and characters, we’ve got you covered!
Binge-watching shows is a great way to spend quality time with someone special. Covid may have forced us to stay in a bit too much for too long, but we’re still huge fans of cuddling up on the couch for a quiet night in. And horror shows are often dark and twisted enough to satisfy hardcore horror fans without being too intense or exceedingly gory. This means those who may be a bit more squeamish can still enjoy them, and it may be easier to convince your partner to join you for a character-driven series than a terrifying horror film.
If you don’t have someone to bond and binge with, modern technology is a great way of connecting with compatible individuals. You can find trustworthy reviews of dating apps and sites, including many tailored to the queer community, like gay sugar daddy apps and sites.
When it comes time to connect in real life, these five fantastic LGBTQ-friendly horror shows are sure to bring you closer.
1. American Horror Story
Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, this cult horror franchise has now run to eleven series. It features a fabulous ensemble cast, including luminaries as varied as Jessica Lange, Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, James Cromwell, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Chloë Sevigny, and Lady Gaga, among many others. Each season brings many new and returning faces, as well as a new setting and overarching theme. We’ve been treated to a murder house, a carnival freak show, a haunted hotel, a powerful coven of witches, an asylum for the criminally insane, and a summer camp. We’ve moved backward and forward through time. We’ve joined a cult, prepared for the apocalypse, looked to the skies, danced with the devil, and so much more.
In January 2020, FX renewed the series through to at least thirteen confirmed seasons. The series draws consistently high ratings for the FX network, with its first season being the most-viewed new cable series of 2011. It’s also one of the most diverse and representative shows of all time, in both its characters and stories and its talented cast.
A supernatural drama aimed at a teen audience that became a cult phenomenon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer gained huge ratings from the moment it first aired back in the 1990s. It remains must-see LGBT-friendly horror. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as the eponymous heroine, the action revolves around a chosen slayer who has been tasked with protecting humanity from vampires and various other demons.
The show was groundbreaking in its portrayal of both complex female characters and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Back in 1999, when the show first started exploring the lesbian relationship between Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson), there was very little LGBTQ+ representation in the media, especially among the main cast of characters. The show’s writers received a lot of pushback from the networks during this time but persisted, nonetheless.
Willow’s personality was not solely defined by her sexuality, but it was a key part of who she was, which was uncommon for mainstream media representation at the time. In addition to this important relationship that was central to much of the show’s plot and character development, Buffy featured many themes related to the queer experience.
Not all the aspects of the show hold up to 2023’s representation standards. But that doesn’t discount the show’s importance in bringing more awareness to and acceptance of queer representation on television. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics even went on to explore Buffy’s sexuality and Willow’s post-show relationships.
What are the terrifying secrets that drove a family to flee their home, the titular Hill House? Each of the characters involved in this tragedy has to relive haunting memories as they come to terms with disturbing events from their pasts.
The middle sister of the family, Theo, is queer and has psychic powers that are invoked by touching people. Her special gifts allow her to tap into hidden dimensions, bringing inexplicable paranormal events to life. She’s one of the most richly developed out and proud lesbian characters to ever grace the horror genre.
Theo is a layered, nuanced, and damaged adult, still haunted by the events of her childhood. Her sexuality is never hidden, established within the series’ first half hour, but it isn’t used as a point of additional horror or trauma. Her queerness is a part of her, but it’s not all that defines her. She’s funny, brave, and incredibly easy to root for.
Many fans were overjoyed to see fans of Shirley Jackson’s seminal 1959 novel receiving the quality adaptation it deserves, with an openly gay character that many have believed was always written to be gay, even if it can be argued that was not Jackson’s intention. The censors of the 1950s kept Jackson from pursuing an explicitly lesbian presentation of Theo at the time of original publication. But her implied sexuality, it can be credibly argued, has always been present.
If you are looking for an LGBTQ-friendly horror show with a heart, this is definitely one you should indulge in.
Perhaps not a traditional horror TV series, Mindhunter nevertheless focuses on some of the most horrific characters to have created nightmares in the real world. An absolute treat for true crime junkies, it’s atmospheric and often deeply unsettling, centering around two FBI agents who team up with a psychologist to try and profile some of America’s most notorious serial murderers. Along the way, they cross swords with notorious blood-soaked figures like Edmund Kemper and Charles Manson.
Conceived by David Fincher (Gone Girl), the show is based on the book of the same name and describes the process of psycho-analyzing the “first” serial killers. Dr. Wendy Carr, played by Australian actress Anna Torv, is a psychologist on a grant to help the detectives. She is also a lesbian, which makes for an intriguing subplot. Against the overtly masculine world of secret government agents involved in clandestine operations in the 1970s, we see how a queer woman would have struggled to fit in.
Though the show featured a main lesbian character in season one, Wendy really takes a backseat to the male detectives. Her character doesn’t get much development. But season two really leans into that character’s personal life in season two, exploring the balance between her personal and professional identity.
Set in 1979, the second season of Mindhunter comes at a crucial point in the fight for gay civil rights. The American Psychiatric Association had, until as recently as 1974, considered homosexuality a mental disorder. And while the scientific community had turned the corner, that change in mindset was painfully slow to filter down into the general population and to law enforcement.
Wendy is a complicated, multi-faceted character that adds depth to an already compelling show.