LGBT representation on popular TV shows doesn't just give out LGBT people characters they can relate to. It can also give us the courage to come out, or help change the minds of viewers who don't know (or think they don't know) LGBT people in real life. These 57 shows feature awesome LGBT characters, and they're streaming on Netflix now.
1) Jessica Jones
The Netflix Original Series Jessica Jones is definitely one of the best Marvel superhero shows yet. Gender-swapped lesbian lawyer Jeri Hogarth may be cold, calculating, and ruthless, but we can't imagine the show without her. Her ex-wife Wendy Ross-Hogarth, and girlfriend Pam also represent lesbians on the show.
2) Orange is the New Black
The Netflix Original OITNB is full of LGBT representation. Piper, Alex, Big Boo, Nicky, Soso, Poussey, Suzanne, and numerous side characters offer a range of portrayals lesbian and bisexual women on one show. Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset was one of the first trans women to play a trans woman on TV.
While technically all the sensates are pansexual (if the massive mind-orgy tells us anything), Nomi, a trans lesbian hacktivist, and Amanita, her brilliant girlfriend, give viewers an amazing lesbian couple to fall for. Lito and his boyfriend Hernando, who really knows how to do the glasses/beard thing, also deserve a shout out.
4) Master of None
Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang's original Netflix comedy is a can't miss series. Lena Waithe shines as Dev's (Aziz Ansari) levelheaded lesbian friend Denise, who has some of the best lines of the show.
5) The Fosters
ABC's sweet show, The Fosters, portrays lesbian couple Lena and Stef and their ever-expanding family. The show also features transgender teen Cole who is played by trans actor Tom Phelan.
Nolan Ross (sidekick to Emily Thorne) dates men and women on Revenge and describes himself as a firm three on the Kinsey Scale.
Captain Jack Harkness can get down with anyone and everyone, including his serious boyfriend Ianto Jones. Tech expert Toshiko Sato is defined as bisexual in this Doctor Who spinoff.
8) How to Get Away With Murder
Annalise Keating, is a bisexual criminal defense attorney and professor. Fan favorite, Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), is an openly gay law student in a relationship with Oliver Hampton. The show also deals realistically with HIV.
9) Grey’s Anatomy
Bubbly lesbian pediatric surgeon Arizona Robbins and proudly bisexual orthopedic surgeon Callie Torres were the best couple on Grey's Anatomy. Goodbye, Calzona.
11) Chasing Life
Rebellious teen Brenna Carver struggles with choosing between two people she's dating, Kieren and Greer, on Chasing Life.
12) Lost Girl
The very adult fantasy series Lost Girl brings plenty of bisexual representation to the table with succubus Bo, valkyrie Tamsin, and Mesmer Vex, but throws lesbian representation into the mix too with human character Dr. Lauren Lewis.
13) The Fall
The Fall is an incredible psychological thriller starring Gillian Anderson as a bisexual Superintendent Stella Gibson tracking down a serial killer. Gibson is completely unashamed of her sexuality, and unapologetically pursues casual relationships with men and women. Local lesbian police constable, Danielle Ferrington, helps solve the case.
14) Nurse Jackie
Nurse Jackie Peyton's best friend, Dr. Eleanor O'Hara, is bisexual. Her long-distance relationship with a woman is revealed shortly after she cheats on her with a male nurse, but overall her bisexuality is consistent and not over sexualized. The show also features a gay nurse Mohammed "Mo-Mo" De La Cruz in season one, gay nurse Thor Lundgren throughout the show, and Dr. Cooper's two moms make several appearances.
The musical comedy-drama show, Glee, featured multiple LGBT characters. Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson's epic love story is one of the best TV romances of all time. Only Santana and Brittany, who gave us a super sweet high school love story with a killer soundtrack, rival it. Beyond these central couples, Glee also featured important trans stories with Unique and Coach Beiste.
16) Degrassi: Next Class
Degrassi: Next Class handles LGBT storylines like it handles all Big Issue storylines--with all the subtlety of a peacock swallowing a live grenade. However, the show does feature two regular gay characters, Tristan and Vijay.
17) Warehouse 13
The sci-fi drama Warehouse 13 features Steve Jinks, also known as The Human Lie Detector, as a major, openly gay character. The show also features Helena G. Wells (yep, H.G. Wells), a bisexual Victorian-era genius and Warehouse agent. She has a romantic relationship (though little is show on screen) with Myka Bering, but has stated that many of her lovers have been men.
18) The Carrie Diaries
The Carrie Diaries features Brendan Dooling as Walt Reynolds, Carrie's best friend who comes over the course of the show. Because the show is set in 1984 in New York City, HIV/AIDS is often discussed.
Claire Bennett's college relationship with clingy Gretchen may have been a desperate ratings grab, but then again, so was every plotline on Heroes.
20) Pretty Little Liars
We thought we'd never get over the loss of Emily's first love, Maya, on Pretty Little Liars, but we can't help but love Paige too. Alison (as scheming and seemingly dead as she is throughout the show) is also bisexual.
21) The 100
Post-apocalyptic drama The 100 follows a group of teens as they become the first humans to return to Earth after a nuclear apocalypse. The show also features a relationship between Lexa, a lesbian character, and Clarke, a bisexual character, that will rip your heart out and stomp on it.
22) Jane the Virgin
Aside from being a hilariously funny and addictive adapted telenovela, Jane the Virgin scores major points for two recurring lesbian characters, Dr. Lusia Alver, and Rose.
23) Queer as Folk
The Showtime drama Queer as Folk ran between 2000 and 2005, and was the first hour-long drama on American television to focus on the lives of gay men and lesbians. All five seasons are currently streaming on Netflix.
24) The L Word
The L Word was often ridiculous (outfits included), sometimes offensive, never perfect, but always wildly entertaining. There are a lot of things that can be said about the show, but one thing is certain--it paved the way for a ton of lesbian TV.
25) Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. features Marvel's first cinematic gay male hero, Joey Gutierrez (Juan Pablo Raba), who is an inhuman so hot he can melt metal.
26) Buffy the Vampire Slayer
How dare Joss with that Tara nonsense? Still, Buffy is definitely worth watching for a lot of reasons, including the romance between Willow and Tara. Also, we all kind of knew Andrew was gay even though he never said so, and then Joss Dumbledored us before Dumbledoring was even a thing.
27) Once Upon a Time
Once Upon a Time gives us a Mulan who's all about saving the princess. The fifth season isn't on Netflix yet, but you also have a very gay (rainbow included) kiss between Dorothy and Little Red Riding Hood to look forward to.
Nefarious White House Chief of Staff, Cyrus Beene, and his journalist husband, James Novak, are major characters throughout the first few seasons of Shonda Rhimes' addictive drama.
Yes, House had jumped several sharks by this point, but some of us kept watching for Thirteen (Olivia Wilde), the bisexual doctor with Huntington's and great suspenders.
30) Bomb Girls
This addictive Canadian period drama set in a munitions factory during World War II features beautiful and brilliant lesbian munitions worker Betty McRae played by the adorable Ali Liebert.
The first and second season of Skins gave us Maxxie Oliver, a gay young adult character who is actually popular, talented, and fairly well-adjusted. That shouldn't be a big deal, but unfortunately, it kind of is. Season 3 and 4 of Skins feature lesbian character, Emily, and her bi girlfriend Naomi as Emily navigates coming out, and meeting her first love. Cassie (1-2), Tony (1-2), Mini (5-6), and Franky (5-6) also express attraction to more than one gender.
32) The Walking Dead
The zombie drama The Walking Dead features two lesbian characters, Tara Chambler and Alisha. Season 6, which isn't yet on Netflix, features gay character Paul "Jesus" Monroe.
33) American Horror Story: Asylum
American Horror Story is a hot mess, but as long as you know what you're in for, it's often a wild ride worth taking. In the second season, Sarah Paulson plays lesbian journalist Lana Winters who is institutionalized for her sexual orientation.
34) American Horror Story: Freak Show
Since each chapter of American Horror Story can stand alone, Freak Show feels like a different show than Asylum. Freak Show features several appearances by transgender actor and model Erika Ervin as Amazon Eve.
Though Bones character Angela Montenegro ends up marrying Jack Hodgins, she has a relationship with Roxie Lyon in an earlier season, and defines herself as bisexual.
36) Grace and Frankie
Grace and Frankie stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as two friends who are brought together when their husbands announce they are gay and in love.
Need another lesbian prison show in your life while you're waiting for more OITNB? Wentworth is the answer. There are a lot of lesbian characters, but everyone is swooning over Franky.
38) The Flash
The CW's reboot of The Flash features Patrick Sabongui as sarcastic, hardboiled Central City Police Captain David Singh, who comes out in an off-hand comment.
39) United States of Tara
Though United States of Tara is mostly about giving Toni Collette some really intense clips for her reel, the show features Marshall Gregson as a gay teen character. His sexual orientation is presented as matter-of-fact.
40) The Killing
In season three, AMC's murder drama The Killing introduces a butch lesbian teen named Bullet played by Bex Taylor-Klaus. There's also a lesbian social worker in the show.
41) Gossip Girl
Serena van der Woodsen's little brother, Eric van der Woodson, comes out as gay over the course of the show, though he rarely gets enough screen time. Elliot Garfield, Eric's boyfriend, provides bisexual representation on the show.
42) The Vampire Diaries
You'll have to get through (or skip through) the first four seasons of The Vampire Diaries to see the first major gay character, but Luke Parker (Chris Brochu) is worth the wait.
43) The Originals
This spinoff of The Vampire Diaries features openly gay vampire Josh (Stephen Krueger) who is introduced in the first season.
If you're looking for LGBT representation in Gotham, you'll have to fast forward to the sparse scenes featuring out lesbian detective Renee Montoya. Victoria Cartagena's performance is worth it, but she doesn't appear after season one.
45) Hart of Dixie
The Southern comedy-drama series Hart of Dixie features a coming out storyline with a character named Crickett in season four.
46) Mad Men
Salvatore Romano, the Italian-American art director, struggles with staying closeted and 1960s workplace homophobia on the first few seasons of Mad Men. Poor Sal. Also, while it's not confirmed, I don't think anyone is buying that Bob Benson is straight.
47) Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Broadway star Titus Burgess brings a lot of perfect comedic timing to the role of Titus Andromedon, Kimmy Schmidt's roommate and friend.
Shameless explores the tense (and arguably inappropriate) relationship between closeted teen, Ian Gallagher, and his older boss, Kash, with a sensitivity that's not always characteristic of the show.
49) The Tudors
Sadly, none of The Tudors' gay storylines feature Jonathan Rhys Meyers, but the tragic love story between artist, Thomas Tallis, and closeted nobleman Sir William Compton, make it worth a watch.
Sure, League of Assassins badass Nyssa al Ghul's evil father may have forced her into marriage with a man, but there was no keeping her in it! Her heart has always belonged to bisexual Canary Sarah Lance (even if Sarah has had a few ups and downs with death and resurrection--it is fantasy after all).
51) Halt and Catch Fire
American period drama Halt and Catch Fire is set in the Silicon Prairie of Texas in 1983, depicts the personal computer revolution, and is sure to cure your Mad Men withdraw. Former IBM sales executive, Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace), is bisexual.
Did Firefly handle bisexuality particularly well? No. But the show does imply that Inara Serra is into men and women and she is an awesome character.
53) Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
If you're in need of a show you can watch with your grandma (and that both of you will really enjoy), the period drama Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is a safe bet. Bonus: aristocrat and detective Phryne Fisher's friend, Doctor Elizabeth "Mac" McMillan, is a dapper lesbian.
54) Last Tango in Halifax
Last Tango in Halifax follows Celia and Alan, who get a second chance with each other in their 70s. Celia's daughter, Caroline, comes out in middle age.
Heartless is a Danish series that follows the life of two vampires, Sophie and Sebastian. When Sophie meets Emilie, she falls in love with her and spares her life.
Rita is a popular comedy-drama out of Denmark about a mother and school teacher who is unabashedly sexual. Her son, Jeppe, comes out at 15, and his sexual orientation is treated as just another part of his coming-of-age story.
57) Call the Midwife
Call the Midwife is a period drama about a group of midwives working in 1950s London. Nurse Patsy and Delia fall for each other in the fourth season.