Pride is a symbol of visibility, love, community, and respect for our LGBTQ+ family. For a long time, the LGBTQ+ community did not have a lot of representation in film or on TV, but times are changing. Now, we're seeing our LGBTQ+ family represented like never before. To get a good sense of how LGBTQ+ representation has progressed on TV from its origin to now, we highly recommend that you watch our top pick Visible: Out on Television . It's a powerful docuseries about the history of LGBTQ+ representation on-screen and behind the camera through the ages. If you're looking for some quality LGBTQ+ content and have recently subscribed to the new Apple TV+, then look no further than this list.
Best Overall: Visible: Out on Television
Visible: Out on Television is a powerful docuseries about the history and representation of LGBTQ+ people on TV, both on-screen and behind the camera, from the beginning of TV to the present day. It touches on the importance of TV as a medium that has shaped American consciousness through the decades, and how the LGBTQ+ movement has influenced what we see on TV today.
The history of how our LGBTQ+ community has been portrayed on-screen (and off) is fascinating. This series starts in the "Dark Ages," when LGBTQ people were portrayed as murderers, sexual deviants, and all-around evil characters in early TV. It wasn't until the 1970s that positive portrayals of LGBTQ+ people began to emerge. It then goes on to talk about how LGBTQ activists began using television as a tool for change, followed by how the HIV/AIDS epidemic was initially ignored by TV, and fear of the disease stunted LGBTQ representation. Eventually, TV was able to raise awareness of the seriousness of the HIV/AIDS health crisis. It speaks on how Ellen DeGeneres made history by coming out on her TV show and in her personal life in 1997, and the series finale talks about how today's new guard of LGBTQ creator TV has opened the door to greater representation and wider inclusivity for our LGBTQ+ family.
It is incredibly moving, informative, and an important docuseries that everyone should see. Directed by Ryan White, it features actors/activists/famous figures like Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Anderson Cooper, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Ellen DeGenerous, Billy Porter, Tim Gunn, Carson Kressley, Andy Cohen, T.R. Knight, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (to name a few). There are five episodes available to stream now on Apple TV+. Make sure to grab your Kleenex because this series will make you want to cry, scream, laugh, and rejoice at how far we've come, and how far we have yet to go.
- Progressive and compelling
- Moving and inspirational
- Informative and educational
- Can get heavy when talking about prejudice
Visible: Out on Television
Out on TV Visible is a powerful documentary miniseries about the history and representation of LGBTQ+ people in television.
Best Inspirational: Dear...
This show is about how the inspiring story of how a single person can change the world. This series was created by R.J. Cutler, and profiles famous icons and the people whose lives they've inspired by way of a written letter, hence the title. It features appearances by Jane Goodall, Spike Lee, Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey, Misty Copeland, Yara Shahidi, Big Bird, Gloria Steinem, Aly Raisman, and Lin-Manual Miranda, and is bound to inspire and motivate you to overcome adversity and reach for the stars.
Although not LGBTQ+ per se, this series features game-changers that are beacons of hope and symbols of what is possible. "If one person tells their story, that allows other people to tell theirs." You'll watch these heavy hitters talk about their struggles, their triumphs, and how they beat all odds to become some of the most credited, loved, and recognized trailblazers in their given fields.
Take note that this amazing series isn't available just yet. It's coming to Apple TV+ on June 5, 2020.
- Features game-changing icons
- Compelling content
- Inspiring and motivating
- Not streaming yet (drops June 5)
- Not specifically LGBTQ+ centric
One person's story can change the world This 10-part docuseries profiles game-changing icons and the people whose lives they've inspired.
Best Comedic Series: Dickinson
"Emily Dickinson was born in 1830 in Amherst, MA. She lived throughout her life in her father's house. Near the end of her life, she rarely left her room. Aside from a few mostly anonymous verses, she remained unpublished. When she died her poems were discovered. Some of the strangest, most fascinating poems ever written. Almost 2000 of them, hidden, in a maid's trunk."
This brand new comedy stars Hailee Steinfeld as Emily Dickinson. She's a poet, a daughter, and a total rebel. In this coming-of-age story, Emily's determined to become the world's greatest poet, and lives by the motto "if the rules aren't fair, break them." This series explores and portrays Emily's intense relationship with Susan Gilbert, who she was best friends with before Susan married her brother. Emily explores homoerotic themes in her writing and has a steamy, romantic, sexual relationship with Susan in the series.
This show is a highly dramatized exaggeration of the real-life of Emily Dickinson and is not historically accurate. Although it's set in the 1830s, it incorporates the use of modern-day music, which is a fun and interesting device. It features excellent cinematography, is incredibly funny, and wildly entertaining.
- Hilarious and witty
- Great modern-day music
- Explores homoerotic themes + lesbian relationships
- Great cinematography
- Historically inaccurate
If the rules aren't fair, break them. This is the coming of age story of Emily Dickinson, and how she's determined to become the world's greatest poet.
Best for Kids: Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock, Rock on!
This is a short-form series produced by the Jim Henson Company specifically for Apple TV+. It's a spin-off of the original, beloved Fraggle Rock. The Fraggles might be separated from one another, but they continue to find methods of connection despite their given situations. You'll join Gobo, Red, Boober, Mokey, Wembley, and Uncle Travelling Matt for stories and songs that show everyone how we're all connected. It's a fun, educational, music-filled ride for kids of all ages!
Although this isn't an LGBTQ+ specific series, it praises the acceptance and love of everyone and embodies connection. It also features musical artist Jason Mraz who came out last year as "bisexually open-minded." This will keep the kids entertained as they laugh and sing along!
This show was created for children, but that doesn't mean parents won't love it too! It's cute, entertaining, and features catchy jams! The Jim Henson Company has consistently put out quality children's programming for years and years, and it looks like it will continue to do so for years to come.
- Inspired stories of love and connection
- Great for kids!
- A spin-off of the beloved Fraggle Rock
- Not LGBTQ+ specific
Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock, Rock on!
We are all connected Join the Fraggles as they sing fun songs and tell stories about how we are all connected.
Best International Pride: Little America
Little America takes an in-depth look at the endearing, romantic, heartfelt, inspiring, and unexpected stories of the lives of immigrants in America. The season finale tells the story of a gay Syrian refugee, and how he dreams of being granted asylum in America so he can live openly as a gay man.
Being LGBTQ+ is extremely difficult in Syria. People living in the Syrian Arab Republic may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBTQ+ residents. Article 520 of the penal code of 1949 prohibits "carnal relations against the order of nature," and violators can receive up to three years in prison. In territories controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which controls around 7% of Syria, LGBTQ+ people are arrested, beaten, and executed. Little America tells an inspirational story about overcoming oppression and seeking the American dream.
This is an excellent series, but only the finale features an LGBTQ+ person. The rest of the series focuses on different types of immigrants.
- Inspiring true stories
- Informative and educational
- International visibility
- Only the finale features an LGBTQ+ person
International visibility This series takes an in-depth look at the funny, heartfelt, inspiring, stories of the lives of immigrants in America.
The rights of our LGBTQ+ community have come a long way over the past 50 years, and we're more visible in film and television now than ever before. It's important to educate yourself on the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement so we can celebrate our successes and recognize how far we have yet to come as far as visibility, love, and community goes.
Our favorite is the new series Visible: Out on Television because it illustrates how LGBTQ+ people have been portrayed on film and television from the very beginning of TV up until now. It's a powerful docuseries that features famous figures and activists such as Ellen DeGeneres and Wanda Sykes. Listening to their stories and those of many others inspires us to keep pushing forward towards a more collective consciousness and acceptance of people of all kinds. We are all one. Whether you're looking for something for your kids, or are looking for a great new comedic series, we've found the best LGBTQ+ movies and shows available for streaming on Apple TV+.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Nicolette Roux Nicolette is an actor, lover of film and television, as well as an avid streamer of quality content. She searched high and low to find the best of the best when it comes to excellent LGBTQ+ content on Apple TV+. She hopes you enjoy her picks!
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