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15 Best Teen Shows With LGBTQ+ Representation

While most of television might have been slow to diversify and become an inclusive space for characters of all sexualities, teen television shows seemed to adapt rather quickly. Though not perfect, there definitely seems to be more LGBTQ+ characters exploring their sexualities and entering relationships on TV shows geared toward teen and young adult audiences than anywhere else.

RELATED: 9 Best LGBTQ+ Books That Deserve A Movie Or TV Series Adaptation

This is essential not only for an industry that needs to become more inclusive but also for the millions of teens and young adults who are watching these shows and seeing themselves on screen for the first time. While it’s important to remember that no representation is going to be perfect, the more opportunities LGBTQ+ characters get on major shows, the better the chance of representing the teen LGBTQ+ community in an all-encompassing way.


Updated on January 4th, 2022 by Danielle Bruncati: 2021 saw an explosion of even more LGBTQ+ content for teenagers and even uncovered some forgotten favorites from the early 2010s. What makes all of these shows so great is that they each showcase a different side of what being LGBTQ+ means in terms of life, relationships, and simply existing in the world. With every new character and storyline, the world becomes one step closer to seeing the LGBTQ+ community as simply human. 

Degrassi: Next Class (2016-2017)

Available On Netflix

Zoe and Rasha staring at each other in class in Degrassi Next Class

For generations, the Degrassi series was one of the most progressive series for teens to watch and never shied away from dealing with serious topics. However, Degrassi: Next Class truly became the most progressive in terms of same-sex relationships in all their various forms.

From Miles and Tristan’s complicated, and oftentimes toxic relationship, to Zoe realizing over the course of several years that she has been hiding her sexuality from the world. The series even explored what coming out looks like in different families and cultures.

Diary Of A Future President (2020-2021)

Available On Disney+

Liam and Bobby talking in the hallway in Diary of a Future President.

While Diary of a Future President might be geared more towards younger teenagers, it’s still a show that teenagers and adults of all ages can enjoy. The series centers on Elena, a middle school student who is still trying to figure out her life despite her growing up to be the President of the United States in the future.

However, the series also pays close attention to Elena’s family including her older brother Bobby who has begun to explore his sexuality. In the first season, Bobby realizes he’s gay after he gets a crush on one of his best friends. His sexuality exploration continues in season two as he starts dating and begins to embrace his sexuality.

Good Trouble (2019-)

Available On Hulu

Sherry Cola as Alice in Good Trouble

A spin-off of the popular Freeform series The Fosters, Good Trouble centers on sisters Callie and Mariana who move to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams. It’s there that they move into a communal living building and befriend their new roommates.

While the series focuses mainly on Callie and Mariana, the other Coitere residents do get their chance to shine like Alice Kawn, the manager of the complex. Alice is an aspiring comic who is also a lesbian who isn’t always lucky in love. Through the show, Alice comes to terms with her sexuality, comes out to her immigrant parents, and even begins to find romance.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (2019-)

Available On Disney+

Seb and Carlos hugging

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is, of course, a spin-off of the widely successful DCOM High School Musical. Set in East High, the series follows the East High drama department as they put on various theater productions under the guidance of their eccentric drama teacher Miss Jenn.

Like most teen shows, HSMTMTS is full of adorable couples, but one of the cutest has to be Seb and Carlos. While these two start out as just friends in season one, it’s clear that there are serious feelings involved. With a little help from Carlos, Seb comes to terms with his sexuality and the two embark on an epic high school romance full of support and love.

I Am Not Okay With This (2020)

Available On Netflix

Sophia Lillis as Sydney in I Am Not Okay With This (Netflix)

Unfortunately part of Netflix’s historic “canceled after one season” club, I Am Not Okay With This is a unique teen series that deserves to be celebrated. Based on a graphic novel, the series follows Sydney Novak as she struggles with her newfound superhero identity while also navigating her sexuality.

Like many teenagers, Sydney isn’t sure what her sexuality is and this struggle becomes a major complication during the season. Eventually, Sydney comes to terms with the fact that she is attracted to girls, especially her best friend Dina.

Julie And The Phantoms (2020)

Available On Netflix

Alex and Willie in Julie And The Phantoms (Netflix)

Currently racking up several Daytime Emmy Nominations including Best Young Adult Series, Julie and the Phantoms has cultivated a cult following since premiering in 2020. The series centers on Julie Molina, a young artist who has given up on music until she accidentally summons the ghostly spirits of a teenage rock band who passed away twenty years ago.

RELATED: Top 10 Teen Shows Released in 2020, Ranked According to IMDb

One of those ghostly spirits happens to be Alex, the band’s drummer, who also happens to be gay. While Alex had a hard time being gay when he was alive in 1995, he quickly hits it off with Willie, another ghostly spirit. Willie helps Alex adjust to his new life while also giving him hope that love is out there for him.

Love, Victor (2020-)

Available On Hulu

Benji and Victor cuddling while stargazing

Set in the same universe as Love, Simon and the young adult book series, Love, Victor centers on Victor Salazar, a teenager who moves to Creekwood High and is determined to finally figure out his sexuality.

When it comes to LGBTQ+ representation, Love, Victor does a lot of things right, including shedding a light on the harsh reality that not every LGBTQ+ person is showered with love after coming out. Thankfully, Victor doesn’t let his family’s hesitations get him too down, and he instead focuses his energy on his newfound freedom and relationship.

Never Have I Ever (2020-)

Available On Netflix

Fabiloa and Eve against porta potties in Never Have I Ever

Mindy Kaling enter the teen comedy-drama genre with a bang when she released her original series Never Have I Ever. The hilarious series centers on Devi, a first-generation Indian-American teenager who, after having the worst year of her life, has decided to reinvent herself by, hopefully, dating the most popular guy in her high school.

While Devi’s shenanigans are hilarious to watch, there is a largely underrated plot revolving around Devi’s best friend Fabiola as she comes to terms with her sexuality. Her story reaches an all-time high in season two when Fabiola begins dating Eve. Their love story is complex, not just because they’re a lesbian couple, but because they come from two vastly different social circles.

One Day At A Time (2017-2020)

Available On Netflix

Elena and Syd in One Day At A Time (Netflix)

A reboot of the popular 1970s sitcom of the same name, this iteration of One Day at a Time follows a tight-knit Cuban-American family who are all just trying to find their place in the world.

As the eldest daughter of the Alvarez family, Elena knows how to speak her mind even when telling the truth is scary. Elena comes out to her family as a lesbian in the first season in what is an important coming-out story. By the end of the season, Elena is dating Syd, her non-binary partner.

Sex Education (2019-)

Available On Netflix

Eric and Adam in class

Sex Education is definitely geared towards older teenagers, as it is a bit more explicit in content. The series follows Otis, a high school student who decides to start an underground sex education course at his school. Otis feels qualified to lead this course because his mother is a sex therapist.

With a show called Sex Education, there is definitely no shortage of relationships, including same-sex relationships like the one Eric finds himself in. Though Eric’s relationship with Adam starts off extremely poorly, the two eventually admit their feelings for each other at the end of the first season.

The Babysitters Club (2020-)

Available On Netflix

Marry Anne babysitting Bailey

Inspired by the insanely successful book series of the same name, The Babysitters Club has seen several adaptations but the most recent occurred in 2020 on Netflix. The series managed to be brought into a new decade by including LGBTQ+ representation.

RELATED: 5 Returning Teen Shows Fans Can’t Wait For (& 4 That Still Haven’t Been Renewed)

In fact, The Babysitters Club is one of the first shows to feature a transgender child character/actor. Bailey quickly bonds with Mary Anne during her babysitting session. Before long, Mary Anne becomes a fierce advocate for Bailey.

The Bold Type (2017-2021)

Available On Hulu

Kat and Adena at the airport

Recently ending after five seasons, The Bold Type is arguably one of Freeform’s best drama series. Set at the fictional Scarlett Magazine offices, the series follows three best friends as they navigate careers, love, and their friendship in their twenties.

One of those best friends is Kat Edison, Scarlett’s social media manager, a fierce activist, and a young woman who is struggling with her sexuality. Through Kat’s experiences, the show manages to shed a light on bisexuality and the biphobia that occurs both from straight communities as well as the LGBTQ+ community.

The Fosters (2013-2018)

Available On Hulu

Stef and Lena at their wedding In The Fosters

When The Fosters began airing on ABC Family, now Freeform, it was one of the channel’s most progressive shows. Set around the Adams-Foster family, the series each member of the family as they navigate the highs and lows of life especially with several of the children being adopted.

In terms of LGTBQ+ representation, The Fosters had it all. From same-sex relationships like Lena and Stef to Jude’s own coming out experience. The series also paid special attention to transgender characters featuring storylines about transitioning as well as a romantic storyline between Callie and Aaron.

Trinkets (2019-2020)

Available On Netflix

Elodie and Jillian at a party together

Based on the young adult novel of the same name, Trinkets follows a group of three teenage girls who forge a friendship after meeting in a Shoplifters Annonymous support group.

At the forefront of this group is Elodie Daivs, a grieving girl who has moved across the country to live with her father after her mother’s passing. Over the show’s two seasons, Elodie pursues a romantic relationship with a rising star who is older than her and later a friend she meets at the Shoplifters Annonymous group.

Young Royals (2021-)

Available On Netflix

Simon resting his head on Wilhelm's shoulder in Young Royals

When it comes to Netflix there are tons of hidden gems on the streaming service including several international/foreign language options. One of those is the Swedish drama series Young Royals. The show centers on Prince Wilhelm, the wild child teenage prince who is sent to boarding school to keep him out of trouble. While the school doesn’t tame Wilhelm it does lead him to explore his sexuality for the first time when he falls in love with Simon.

Young Royals offers an interesting and complex view into what it may be like for LGBTQ+ royals who know that their sexuality will be a problem with their royal families.

NEXT: 11 Great LGBTQ+ Movies To Watch On Netflix During Pride Month

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