Top 50 LGBT Characters
Mainstream media have made huge strides in terms of realistically portraying the many facets of members of the LGBT community.
Gone are the days when queer characters were used as comedic relief or merely tokenized, now we have iconic characters that are progressive and hold significant value to the storyline.
LGBT characters should be recognized beyond their identity; it’s high time that we equally recognize their abilities, skills, and personalities as human beings.
We have really come a long way as a society by having diverse, complex, and well-written LGBT characters that can help other LGBT viewers feel seen and heard.
So let’s celebrate this win by recognizing the top 50 LGBT iconic characters from movies and series everyone should look up to:
50. Pran (Korapat Kirdpan)
From: Bad Buddy (2021)
Pran is the other half of Pat in our dearest BL Thai series, Bad Buddy. Pran is a perfectionist first-year student who studies architecture.
Pran, together with Pat, subverted the “only gay for each other” trope that may come off as dismissal of queerness; both explicitly state that they are queer even outside of their attraction and love for each other.
Pran was such a sweet and loving lgbt character who always takes care of Pat. He has all the green flags we should look for in any romantic partner: communicates well, actively listens, asks for consent, respects opinions, and is all-around toxic-free.
49. Lord Varys
From: Game of Thrones (2011)
Asexuality is rarely represented in mainstream media, so for a huge show such as Game of Thrones to have one is a game-changer. Lord Varys, a prominent character, is a eunuch.
While other eunuchs in the show are still sexually active, Lord Varys stays off the activity and claims that he is actually asexual. Eunuchs are men who have been castrated, but Lord Varys’ asexuality predates his castration.
From: Big Mouth (2017)
Big Mouth is an animated show that tries to demystify the topic of sex, especially about hormones, periods, puberty, morning woods, and anything that goes along with it.
It’s a really great show for children, as the topic of sex is discussed in such a creative and in a layman manner. Another best thing about Big Mouth is Matthew, he is just an all-around nice and smart guy whom everyone adores.
At one point in the show, he was the only openly gay guy on the campus. He is sweet and compassionate, but he can also be too straightforward and judgemental when he knows he’s in the right.
His character dynamics truly make the show more interesting and realistic!
47. Double Trouble
From: She-Ra and The Princess of Power (2018)
Double Trouble is from the animated series She-Ra and The Princess of Power. They are a shapeshifter mercenary and temporarily a spy for the Horde.
They started a mission to infiltrate the Rebellion under the guise and persona of Flutterina; however, they were discovered but they then decided to ally with the Queen knowing that they would take advantage of the Horse with the Heart of Etheria.
This cartoon is made for children, so to have a non-binary gay character with an androgynous appearance is a win for the entire community.
Additionally, most of the main characters of the cartoon show are also lesbians!
46. Sailor Uranus
From: Sailor Moon (1991)
Sailor Uranus is a bigender lesbian character of this old anime show. She is in a cute relationship with Sailor Neptune.
As compared to the other Sailors who are ultra-feminine with their long and colorful hairstyles, Sailor Uranus’ expression does not fit any gender norms.
She often has a masculine expression, with her male uniform, short hair, and Japanese male speech patterns. Despite this expression, Uranus still identifies as a woman.
Unfortunately, the English-dubbed version of Sailor Moon erased Uranus’ identity by making her and Neptune cousins, but the creator of Sailor Moon, Naoko Takeuchi, himself confirmed that Sailor Uranus is indeed into women and is the lover of Sailor Neptune.
45. Ilana Wexler
From: Broad City (2014)
Iwana Wexler lives in Brooklyn where she can often be found with her best friend, Abbi Abrams. She works at a group discount website, Deals Deals Deals; unfortunately, she is bad at her job in every way imaginable.
She is constantly high on marijuana, doesn’t take care of her hygiene, and sleeps in the bathroom stalls just to escape her work.
She is in a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship with a guy who is ready to make it exclusive, but Ilana digresses since she knows that she is sexually interested in other girls like Abbi. Despite this, Lincoln still serves as her financial backup plan since she is always strapped for cash.
Illana is truly an eccentric character, and very refreshing to watch; she is free-spirited and simply content in people-watching on a park bench.
44. Willow Rosenberg
From: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a horror-comedy that was aired from 1997 to 2003, and almost two decades after, it’s also already considered a TV series classic.
Despite being a supernatural show filled with darkness and occult, the series was a coming-of-age tale that realistically portrayed trauma, friendship, loyalty, love, and loss.
The show also didn’t shy away from being one of the first TV shows to exhibit a genuine progression of a romantic relationship between two women.
Willow Rosenberg was initially introduced as a shy, studious, and introverted teen who is in love with a fellow student who turned out to be a werewolf.
This relationship, however, did not turn into fruition; Willow eventually joined a college Wicca group to further explore witchcraft. In this group is where she met Tara who shares the same interest in magic as her.
Both decided to meet regularly to practice spells, and Willow later admitted that she doesn’t come over just to learn spells but because she likes spending time with her.
While this plot may sound too basic and straightforward, it was really way ahead of its time. The same-sex relationship was not at first explicit, which proves that their same-sex relationship was not created for mere exploitation value.
Willow and Tara also had a happy ending. The two moved in together and adopted an adorable kitten, without any negative comments and discrimination from their group of friends.
43. Tasha Williams
From: The L Word (2004)
The US Military is known for being a male-dominated field, with pretty conservative values and homophobic policies.
The L Word became revolutionary by raising awareness on the discriminatory practices in the military through the character of Tasha Williams, a Military Police Officer in the Army National Guard who is an African-American lesbian woman.
Tasha’s storyline touches on different issues such as Bush’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy, Iraq War, and how many military veterans grapple with PTSD.
But one of its highlights is the discrimination Tasha experienced as a lesbian officer where she received an official complaint about engaging in inappropriate conduct (i.e being in a same-sex relationship).
She was ordered to never speak or show signs of her “lifestyle”. However, the situation got worse when she was under investigation for “homosexual conduct in the military” or DADT.
Tasha’s plot has multiple bumps along the road, but in the end, she was able to gain her freedom and inherent right to love whoever she wants.
Watch Tasha’s story and The L Word to know more about DADT and other homophobic policies in the military during that era!
42. Dr. Casey Parker
From: Grey’s Anatomy (2005)
Grey’s Anatomy definitely has a cult following, with its medical drama and steamy romance between doctors, residents, and interns.
The show always has something new and exciting to show, and one of its unrecognized gems is introducing a proud trans man character, Dr. Casey Parker. Dr. Parker is introduced mid-season as a new intern, gifted surgery doctor, and tech genius.
One of Dr. Parker’s most iconic lines in the show is, “I’m a proud trans man, Dr. Bailey. I like for people to get to know me before they find out my medical history”.
His character sends a strong message that trans people are more than their identity and medical history and that they should be respected and recognized for their abilities and skills, just like any other human being.
The icing on top of the case is Dr. Parker’s actor, Alex Blue Davis, is really transgender! The show producers also worked closely with Alex and other LGBT advocacy groups to ensure proper representation.
41. Emma Hernandez
From: Vida (2018)
Emma is a vivacious, queer, and independent woman in the TV show Vida who was forced to return to her hometown in East Los Angeles, together with her sister.
Emma’s character was able to realistically portray the microaggression even within the LGBT community. Emma was called a “baby queer” and a “tourist” by a queer woman for refusing to identify herself, which others claim makes them uncomfortable.
Emma retorted by fiercely saying, “I’m sorry I don’t abide by your dated categories of queerness. I’m sorry that you think I’m confused or indecisive because I have a wide range of what I can get off to”.
Emma always received questions and invalidating comments around her queerness, but she never backs down and always holds on to her true self. Indeed, an LGBT icon!
From: Legend of Korra (2012)
The Legend of Korra, just like The Last Air Bender, was celebrated and loved for its complex plot, well-developed characters, and one-of-a-kind bending world.
I’m sure every fan of the show was shocked with LOK’s ending, as Korra’s bisexuality was finally confirmed.
Korra met Asami in the first season of the show where they were pitted against each other over a man, but in the show’s final moments, the two women were shown holding each other’s hands while lovingly staring at each other’s eyes.
While this may be too implicit to actually prove Korra and Asami’s bisexuality, Bryan Konietzko, co-creator, confirmed this by posting on his Tumblr: “You can celebrate it, embrace it, accept it, get over it, or whatever you need to do, but there is no denying it. That is the official story”.
This might be the first canon same-sex relationship of Nickelodeon, and let’s just hope that there’s more to come!
39. Lili Elbe
From: The Danish Girl (2015)
The Danish Girl is a 2015 biographical romantic drama based on the 2000 novel of the same name by David Ebershoff. It was partially inspired by the lives of Danish painters Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener.
Lili Elbe, in reality and in the movies, was a force to be reckoned with during her time in the 1920s. Lili Elbe was born as a male initially named Einar Wegener.
Then Einar and Gerda were enjoying their career as painters and their happy and tender marriage. One day, due to some (un)fortunate circumstances, Gerda persuaded Einar to stand as her model and wear stockings and ballet shoes.
This started Einar’s fascination with cross-dressing, at the same time exploration of his gender identity.
Einar’s persistent dilemma of presenting himself as a male became too much of a burden that she sought the advice of Dr. Kurt Warnekros, who explained to him that there are people like her who are born as a male but identify as female.
The doctor then proposed a male-to-female sex reassignment, the first of its kind. She wholeheartedly agreed to the operation, but the ending is up to you to find out.
Know more about Lili’s life in the 20s by watching The Danish Girl.
38. Princess Bubblegum
From: Adventure Time (2007)
Prince Bubblegum is a side character in the children’s cartoon Adventure Time, who is known for her long pink dress and equally long bubblegum pink hair with a gold tiara on top.
She is the founder and ruler of the Candy Kingdom, which makes her very analytical and highly responsible.
At first glance, she may look like an ultra-feminine straight character due to her appearance; however, the creators of the show confirmed that she was previously in a relationship with another awesome woman character in the show, Marceline.
Marceline is the Vampire Queen who constantly wears an all-black outfit while Princess Bubblegum is the exact opposite, it’s intriguing to know how the two met and fell in love. They do say that opposites attract, right?
37. Kaworu Nagisa
From: Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)
Kaworu is an Evangelion pilot who was ordered to replace another pilot after an Angel, a monstrous alien, leaves her unable to fight.
Nobody actually knows where this 15-year old boy came from or who he is, but they were short-staffed so they were left with no choice.
Kawaru is undeniably cute, especially when he flirts with his fellow pilot Shinji Ikari, an extremely shy boy.
Kawaru often tells him that the reason he was placed into this world was to meet him, and Shinji, after suffering from a lifetime of loneliness, is quick to accept and reciprocate the affection.
Such a heart-warming character, especially for a 90s anime show!
36. Titus Andromedon
From: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015)
Every friend group has a Titus Andromedom– the melodramatic, self-centered, eccentric, compassionate, and comedic friend. Titus is a bit secretive about his life before moving to New York City, which the show should delve into in the future.
He lives in a dreary and small apartment with Kimmy Schmidt, his new roommate who spent the last 15 years living underground as part of the doomsday cult.
He is trying to enter the musical theater industry, but he has failed countless times in getting cast. Despite his vibrant and strong personality, he often finds himself overwhelmed with everything that’s happening around him.
Titus’ character explores the real-life scenario of people who seem to be put together and happy all the time but are actually struggling on the inside, especially in terms of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-identity.
35. Maura Pfefferrman
From: Transparent (2014)
What makes Maura a powerful and famous character is her relatability, her challenges and story were all so true-to-life and compelling to other trans people in the world.
This web series showed Maura’s coming of age and coming out of the closet– from trying to keep up with the male facade, having her family discover her true self, facing medical limitations in terms of transitioning as an adult, and the journey of making peace with this information and with herself.
Transparents, however, is more than her story. She was not depicted as a perfect woman, she was also selfish, bitter, and sometimes stubborn.
That’s totally fine, it shows that she is just like any other human out there who has their own flaws and quirks.
From: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
If you love chaotic, boisterous, and loud musical-comedy drama films, then you will definitely love Hedwig from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Hedwig is a cocky yet naive and optimistic transgender rock singer from East Germany. She was born as a biological male named Hansel Schmidt.
After affirming that she does not identify as a boy, she went through horribly botched sex-change operations to transition to female and become marriageable.
She was able to reach her goal of getting married, and she soon later escaped to America to become a rock singer after her husband left her.
Unfortunately, she was not lucky in this department, but she ultimately fell in love with another boy with whom she was able to live her rock star dreams.
33. Mae Martin
From: Feel Good (2020)
Mae is a stand-up comedian who does gigs at a local comedy club, The Gag Bin. In one of their performances, they met Goerge and quickly fell in love, and soon started an exclusive relationship.
But Mae’s bad habits and dark past starts creeping back and dragging her down; Mae is a former drug addict who begins to slip back into their unhealthy tendencies during the span of the relationship.
Just like any other story with drug addiction in it, it’s not always that simple. The show deepened the discussion by tracking back to undesirable events during Mae’s teenage years.
The story became more complex as it delved into the question of morality: are there good or bad people or are we just people who do good and bad things?
And the more important one is, can people who have done bad things in the past truly change?
32. Adira Tal
From: Startrek: Discovery (2017)
Startrek is an intensely famous movie series, on the same level as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, so to have a non-binary character in such a famous show is a groundbreaking success!
Adira Tal is a non-binary Human who lived on Earth and later in the USS Discovery during the 32nd century. Adira found love and acceptance in a Gray Tal, a transgender Tril.
A bigger milestone for the show is that Adiraland Gray’s characters are respectively played by the non-binary actor Blu del Barrio and the trans actor Ian Alexander.
31. Hayley Anna Cropper
From: Coronation Street (1960)
Hayley is a character from the British ITV soap opera, Coronation Street. The character was played by Julie Hesmondhalgh who won various awards for her portrayal as Hayley.
Hayley is also notably the first transgender character in a British Soap opera and also the foremost permanent transgender character in the world of serialized drama.
Hayley is a shy and introverted supervisor at Firman’s Freezers who was eventually introduced to Roy Copper by her friend.
When Roy found out that she was initially a boy, he did not handle the revelation well and called it off. In a surprising turn of events, he realized that their friendship was more important than that and then they affirmed their mutual attraction.
Hayley then chooses to go for a private gender confirmation surgery, but it then presents her with a lot of issues, especially at work.
It was not all sad, it had a happy ending which sends a clear message that transgender people can live a normal and happy life, as well.
30. William Hill
From: This is Us (2016)
William “Shakespeare” Hill, played by Ron Cephas Jones, is one of the show’s most phenomenal characters.
The crafting of William’s character is a genius undertaking; the character is dynamic, complex, and multidimensional. Unlike other LGBT characters, William is a queer, middle-aged, person of color.
In the first episode, Randall, his biological son, found him and they played a game of catch-up William and later on revealed that he has stage 4 stomach cancer and is near death.
William lives in Philadelphia and is a recovering addict with a hideous looking yet adorable cat named “Clooney”.
During their catch-up, Randall learned the story behind his creation, how his biological father got hooked on drugs, her biological mother’s death, and why he was abandoned at a fire station as a baby.
Through a series of unfortunate events, William ended up in a Narcotics Anonymous group where he met Jessie who later became his lover.
There’s so much depth to this character, and his relationship with Jessie was definitely the ribbon on top.
29. Nia Nal
From: Supergirl (2015)
Following the usual story of SuperMan, Nia Nal, the main protagonist in Supergirl, is a cub reporter who turns into a superhero named Dreamer.
In fact, she is the first transgender superhero in the realm of television.
Nia Nal’s identity as a transwoman is connected to how and why she inherited her superpowers. Nia’s story didn’t just revolve around her trans storyline, her story revolved around her ordinary life and life as Dreamer.
Regardless of this, the producers of the show still exerted effort to ensure respectful and genuine representation of the trans community. What’s more iconic is the actress behind the character, trans actress Nicole Maines.
She is a real-life superhero by being an activist in her community at the ripe age of 17.
28. Angel Evangelista
From: POSE (2018)
Other trans people would likely see themselves in Angel’s childhood story: she forged her identity as a transwoman from a young age and ran away from home when her parents didn’t accept her.
This is a very unfortunate and common reality for most youth who realized that they do not identify with their sex at birth.
In the late 1980s, Angel finds herself as part of the ballroom culture, a vigorous underground culture where LGBT can be their truest selves.
Angel thrived in this LGBT-friendly environment, and she eventually became one of the founding members of the House of Evangelista.
If you love anything LGBT, high-fashion, history, and a compelling storyline and characters, then definitely watch Angel together with her other LGBT peers in POSE!
27. Kurt Hummel
From: Glee (2009)
I’m sure everyone knows Kurt from Glee, the fashionable and exuberant singer at Glee Club.
One of the first challenges he has to face in the show is his tension with his father whom he loves dearly; he wants to pursue ballet and singing lessons while his dad wants him to try out for a baseball or football team.
He was initially closeted due to the constant bullying and physical assault he experiences caused by football players for looking gay.
On top of this, he also does not want to disappoint his traditionally masculine father by coming out as gay. But Kurt is one of our icons for a reason, he is resilient, courageous, and compassionate.
Despite all the obstacles thrown at him, he never shied away from expressing who he truly is just to please other people.
From: Billie and Emma (2018)
Billie and Emma is a Filipino movie that won various awards in FAMAS, PMPC Star Awards, Inside Out Film Festival. Billie is a new student at a Catholic school in a conservative small town in the Province.
Unlike other girls in town, Billie supports very short hair, wears combat boots, reads “Rubyfruit jungle”, dreams of being a rock star, and has been exiled from the city by her father for engaging in a lesbian relationship.
Once she enters her new school, she meets and instantly falls in love with Emma, the shy star student. They were caught in a complicated scenario when they found out that Emma is actually pregnant.
Would the two be able to fight for their love and circumstances despite the homophobia and discrimination against teen moms in the small rural town of the Philippines?
Watch Billie and Emma, and support its creator, Samantha Lee, who is a queer Filipina filmmaker.
25. Kat Edison
From: The Bold Type (2017)
Kat Edison is a social media manager and an activist. She was a former Scarlet’s Magazine social media director where she was in charge of anything and everything social media– from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and more.
This is where she meets the other protagonists of the show, Jane and Sutton, and to whom she shares her struggles.
Kat’s story revolved around her questioning and exploration of her sexuality until she finally found her true self.
Once she was more confident with her identity and orientation, it made her more courageous to speak her mind and she never backed down, even if it costs her dream job.
Kat’s journey in exploring her true identity is a relatable and heart-warming one, especially watching her interactions with other queer characters who helped her with her journey.
24. Mateo Liwanag
From: Superstore (2015)
If you loved Titus Andromedon from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt then you will surely love Mateo Liwanag from the Superstore! Mateo is a sales associate at Cloud 9 Store #1217 in Missouri.
He is intensely competitive, sarcastic, and sometimes bordering on sardonic, go-getter, and can sometimes be funny. Indeed, he is not the best character in the show, but his role in the show goes beyond his character.
His ancestral and national backgrounds are central to his story and the challenges he has encountered as a gay undocumented citizen.
He was born in the Philippines, and moved to America with his grandmother; this is a scenario common to many Filipinos who are trying to escape poverty.
In line with the usual mental dilemma of other Asian first-generation immigrants, they always feel the pressure to be the best and to achieve the highest things in life which may shed light on Mateo’s competitive personality.
23. Ha Po-Wing
From: Happy Together (1997)
Po-Wing has been together 2ith Yiu-Fai for years now; however, at the start of the movie, the couple decided to break off the relationship in the middle of their trip to Buenos Aires.
Po-Wing now has to struggle alone to earn and save enough cash to be able to go back home, but due to serendipity, their paths cross once again.
This time, Yiu-Fai shows up with tons of bruises so Po-Wing took him in and helped him heal. This once again started their hot and cold relationship, from shouting at each other during arguments to slow dancing in the middle of their small kitchen.
Unlike other shows, this is not a coming-out-of-the-closet story; the movie features the reality of queer relationships. On top of this, the acting and cinematography of the movie are also top-notch!
22. Santana Lopez
From: Glee (2009)
For all the Gen-Zs or millennials out there, there’s a high chance that Santana was your gateway in exploring your own sexuality. She is one of the main characters on the show and also acts as the co-captain of the Cheerios.
As a cheerleader, she was famous in her school and had a lot of male suitors and followers. She has dated and hooked up with multiple guys even if she didn’t feel any meaningful connections to them.
Surprisingly, she also hooked up with Brittany, another member of the Glee club, but emphasized after that she has no feelings for her and that was just physical.
But behind all of this “it girl” facade, she has been struggling with accepting her sexuality. During the third season of the show, she finally came out of the closet which came out as a shock to everyone.
She finally admits her feelings for Brittany, which the latter also reciprocated.
Some theorized that Santana is bisexual due to her past, but the creators themselves confirmed that she is indeed a lesbian and her past with boys was just part of her sexual exploration.
21. Omar Little
From: The Wire (2002)
Omar Little is a fascinating revolutionary character in the realm of queer representation in media. Even the former President Barack Obama named Omar his favorite character in the show!
A lot of people are captivated by his character due to his eccentric, unpredictable, and complex personality; on top of this, he is also cool, brave, mean, but still remains to be funny.
Omar is the complete opposite of the other characters in the show, he has a strict moral compass guided by his biblical righteousness.
The producers of the show made sure that his character exists for the sole reason for having a gay black man, but made sure that he was represented more than his identity.
He deserves recognition and love by the virtues of his entirety and not just his identity.
20. Even Bech Næsheim
From: SKAM (2015)
Even Bech is one of the main characters in SKAM season 3, he is a student at Hartvig Nissen School where he later meets and falls in love with Isak, a fellow student who is still in the closet.
Before moving into Hartvig Nissen School, Even was previously in a relationship with Sonja for several years even up to the start of the third season.
Even is one of the purest characters there is, he is kind, thoughtful, and deeply spiritual.
His relationship with Isak was once first a secret, as Isak still grapples with his true feelings and identity; however, this was not the only obstacle in their relationship, Isak was also hesitant to commit when he found out that Even is diagnosed with bipolar.
Isak is all too familiar with this as he experienced his own mother’s mental illness growing up, hence he was not sure if he can handle it.
Season three showed Even’s struggle with his bipolar disorder at the same time maintaining a relationship with someone who is still in the process of coming out.
19. Nicole “Nicky” Nichols
From: Orange Is the New Black (2013)
Nicky is one of the main characters of the popular TV show Orange Is the New Black. As a summary of her prison stint, she was sent to Maximum security in Season 3 and was once again sent back to Mac security in Season 6.
Contrary to people’s assumption of inmates, Nicky is a tough nut on the outside and a smart, kind, wise, and humble person on the inside.
She earned the nickname of “Junkie Philosopher” among the inmates due to her profound intelligence, and her ability to provide sound advice to other inmates.
Nicky’s downfall is her drug addiction, and she turns to sex to cope with it; she strives hard to have sex with as many inmates as possible. Despite this, she has a soft side as manifested in her love for Lorna and her fierce loyalty to Red.
She exhausts all means just to protect both women. She continues to struggle with drug addiction throughout the entire series, but her loyalty to these two ladies paid off in the end. Nicky’s storyline will surely pique your interest.
She illustrates the multi-faceted challenges of being a queer inmate, at the same time the struggles of a queer woman struggling with addiction.
18. Yukito Tsukishiro
From: Cardcaptor Sakura (1998)
Cardcaptor Sakura was way ahead of its time by having a gay character in the show. There’s a high chance that the children who grew up watching Cardcaptor Sakura were once captivated by him.
But sad news to all the girls out there, Yukito is actually gay and he is attracted to Touya Kinomoto, another cute character in the show.
From having a very close relationship as friends, they eventually started dating. How cute, right!
17. Sophia Burset
From: Orange Is the New Black (2013)
Another notable LGBT character from Orange Is the New Black’s Sophia Burset. Sophia is a transgender who was sent to prison for credit card fraud, a crime she committed due to her desperation to finally be who she is.
In order to finance her transition, which we all know costs so much, she committed fraud which landed her in jail for a long time. The transitioning and getting caught with the crime jeopardized her relationship with her wife and son.
Notwithstanding all the unfortunate circumstances that happened, Sophia persevered and remained resilient and courageous. She faced the crime she committed, with acceptance and bravery.
There is a complex hierarchy of discrimination amongst inmates, and trans inmates are probably one of the most vulnerable people. Despite this, she never wavered and continued to demand respect and recognition as a woman.
16. Ian Gallagher
From: Shameless (2004)
Ian is the third oldest child in the Gallagher family, and he is known for being the most uncompromising, persistent, reckless, and wacky.
Ian’s first challenge in life was being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder where he was too stubborn to visit the doctor and take medications, this resulted in erratic behaviors which led him to drop out of high school.
He eventually found himself in the army, where he even attempted to steal a helicopter! A pretty wild stunt, I know. Despite all of his crazy antics, Ian is struggling with hiding his true identity as a gay man.
Throughout the entire season and on top of all his out-of-this-world adventures, he was also exploring his burgeoning sexuality in secret.
After going through the sexual exploration, he has met aggressive neighbor thug, Mickey Milkovich, with whom he had an on-and-off relationship.
There’s so much more to Ian’s story than this, so watch Shameless and watch Ian’s journey and life transformation!
15. Magic Mike
From: Magic Mike (2012)
Magic Mike, the movie, is very famous for its groovy dances, lively music, and hot performers. The character is played by Channing Tatum and is loosely based on his experience as an 18-year old stripper in Tampa, Florida.
Mike has his own business but still has a few side hustles and one of which is performing as the star stripper at Xquisite Strip Club in Tampa.
This club is owned by Dallas who dreams of creating an empire out of strip clubs. Soon he meets a 19-year old college dropout, Adam, and takes him under his wing.
They went through a series of drug-infused and money-fueled adventures until Mike realizes that he has enough and he wants to quit stripping altogether.
There’s a second movie to this, so better put that on your list, as well!
From: Special (2019)
Ryan is a gay new adult who has cerebral palsy. His central struggle throughout the show is to be seen and recognized beyond being “the gay disabled man”.
He struggles in the dating field, especially when everyone he meets has six-pack abs that he could never have. The show also illustrated his struggle of wanting to lose his virginity, so he decided to hire a sex worker without any fear or embarrassment.
Ryan is a relatable character, especially for LGBT people who also have a disability. He is an embodiment that he is just like any other person, who goes through the same scenarios in life but with just more difficulties.
He is funny, snarky, deeply insecure, selfish, and also self-aware with his flaws and tries his best to always be better.
From: The Bold Type (2017)
There are so many great LGBT characters in the Bold Type that exudes feminism, positive LGBT representation, and healthy friendships!
Bold Type takes LGBT representation a step further by having a Muslim lesbian character, Adena. Adena is a woman of color, queer, talented artist, confident, and empowered.
Her character also raises the discussion on wearing hijabs; while some people say that it’s a form of oppression on women, Adena digresses and claims that it empowers her.
There is so much to her story and her representation of LGBT Muslims, so definitely feast your eyes on the Bold Type and all its queer characters.
12. Captain Raymond Holt
From: Brooklyn 99 (2013)
Captain Holt is one of the protagonists of Brooklyn 99, where he was the Captain of the 99th Precinct and was formerly a uniformed officer. He is known in the office as stern, workaholic, apathetic, boring, and a stickler for rules.
But inside his home, he is a very sweet, caring, and funny husband to his husband. Seeing his very opposing personality in the office and at home makes Captain Holt a tremendously cute character!
The other characters of the show are fond of making fun of him. He is made fun of for his poker face and stoic personality, and never because of his gender identity.
Brooklyn 99 is a hilarious show without using its LGBT characters as punchlines, meaning that they don’t take advantage of the diverse cast just for comedic relief.
11. Todd Chavez
From: Bojack Horseman (2014)
Todd is one of the most beloved characters in the adult animated comedy-drama created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg.
In the world of Bojack, a place lived in by humans and anthropomorphic animals, everyone has their own quirks and mental health issues, Todd was the breath of fresh air.
He was the most “normal” and carefree character, yet he felt that he still doesn’t quite fit into that society.
In one of the scenes in the third season, Todd mentioned to his then-girlfriend that he “might be nothing”. Of course, in a world where asexuality is rarely mentioned or even portrayed in media, how can you put a label on something you didn’t even have a word for?
In its last seasons, Todd finally met someone who educated him about the different facets of SOGIESC, especially on being asexual and aromantic, and Todd finally felt seen and validated.
Todd literally built a community (even a dating site!) for asexuals in the show, but he was also able to do the same in real life. What’s not to love about our loving and carefree Todd Chavez?
10. Eric Effiong
From: Sex Education (2019)
Eric is one of the most loved characters in Sex Education. He is openly and confidently gay and loves to dress up with his colorful and eye-catching clothes and make-up which is also an ode to his Ghanaian-Nigerian roots.
He is the best friend of the main character, Otis Milburn, but the show never typecasted him into the ‘gay best friend trope. Eric was given enough screen time to also depict his struggles and successes as an African gay man studying in a British School.
He got into a relationship with the former school jock who is still coming to terms with his sexuality so they kept their relationship a secret, but Eric was more than ready to spread his wings and further explore his sexuality.
His character became more complex when he visited his hometown, where homophobia is rampant, and his mother reminded him to keep his true identity a secret.
This episode did not only illustrate the challenges Nigerian gay men experience in the country, but also the dilemma of parents of LGBT children who accept their children but at the same time fear for their safety based on their identity.
9. Lionel Higgins
From: Dear White People (2014)
Lionel is a current media student at Winchester University and was a former article writer for The Independent.
Lionel often exhibits social anxiety, especially at times when he has to introduce himself to new people, but he is never afraid to speak out about the racist events happening in their University.
The show’s producer subverted the gay black male stereotype through Lionel. In mainstream media, gay black males are usually portrayed as effeminate and used as comedic relief, while Lionel is the exact opposite of this.
He is quiet, introverted, and a little bit awkward at times.
8. Yuzu Aihara
From: Citrus (2018)
Yuzu is the main protagonist in Citrus. She is the stepdaughter of Sho Aihara, the biological daughter of Ume Aihara, and the older stepsister/wife of Mei Aihara.
Everyone loves Yuzu, as she is daring, outspoken, shameless, fashionable, and outstanding in every sense of the word.
Due to being strong-willed and stubborn, she often finds herself fighting with the school administration to let her wear makeup and customize her uniform.
Despite this, she is still hard-working, smart, and very caring. She eventually found true love, Mei, her older step-sister, in someone whom she knows society will not approve of.
This leads her to a state of depression, but Mei snapped her out of it and they still got their happily ever after.
7. Emily Malek
From: The Handmaid’s Tale (2017)
The main premise of The Handmaid’s Tale is that the world is ruled by corrupt males who enslave a large portion of the female population for breeding purposes.
Emily probably has the darkest past in the show: she went through the experience of child separation; watched her lover be beheaded; left to work in an unlivable environment; and nearly drowned in a river while trying to make it her sanctuary.
But later on in the series, her situation did become better and more livable. Emily’s queerness is an important part of her character as she faces multiple forms of discrimination for being a lesbian.
Her academic career came under threat due to her identity, and she was even ordered to conceal her sexuality for the sake of her career. But Emily is an icon, she refused to stand down and remained to be a proud lesbian.
6. Anne Lister
From: Gentleman Jack (2019)
Anne Lister fiercely walked in order for other LGBT characters to run. Anne Lister, based on a real-life person, is a stoic and meticulous woman who is a closeted lesbian which is a bold action, especially considering the world she lived in in 1832 in England.
When she moved back to his hometown, she became enamored with a young woman who lives in a nearby estate, Ann Walker. She was determined to win her heart, and they eventually did fall in love with each other.
Despite Anne’s strong and masculine demeanor, she was able to realistically and beautifully capture the tenderness and passion in lesbian relationships.
From: Steven Universe (2013)
Stevonnie is the fusion of Steven Universe and Connie Maheswaran, which was formed for the first time in the debut episode, “Alone Together”.
Since Stevonnie is a fusion of Steven, a male, and Connie, a female; hence, they do not have a singular and distinct personality but is a mixture of Connie’s and Steven’s mind.
They are carefree, friendly, fun-loving, and also awkward, polite, and intelligent like Connie. Stevonnie is intersex who identifies themself as non-binary.
But more than their identity and orientation, Stevonnie was able to illustrate the challenges of first-time relationships and the awkwardness and challenges that come along with it.
Both Steven and Connie have to make compromises and changes as they try to make the relationship work, just like any other couple.
4. Taylor Mason
From: Billions (2016)
Taylor Mason is a non-binary person, meaning that they don’t let gender define who they are as a person.
They are quiet, radical, fearless, and discerning– they know who they truly are and what they want out of life and they will never back down from any setbacks.
They are an intern at Axe Capital, a hedge fund managing billions of dollars, where they are pushed to impress their boss to get ahead of the rest. One of the main challenges they have faced, which I’m sure a lot have gone through in their lives, is reconciling their principles with ambitions.
Before joining Axe Capital, they were involved in Occupy Wall Street, a protest movement against the economic inequality between the 1% wealthiest Americans and the rest of the people who are the 99%.
3. Ma Hyun-Yi
From: Itaewon Class (2020)
Ma Hyun-Yi’s character is groundbreaking in the Asian TV series world, as it challenges gender norms that are rarely seen in mainstream media. In fact, she is the first-ever transgender character in mainstream K-drama.
She is a chef at Danbam pub and all of her colleagues thought she was a man. But her true identity was revealed when she was out clubbing in a bar, and one of her colleagues, Seung-Kwon, didn’t recognize her and tried to flirt with her.
It took a while for him to recognize her in her female self, and this revelation was soon leaked to the entire staff. They were uncomfortable at first, but they eventually wholeheartedly accepted her.
2. Jules Vaugn
From: Euphoria (2019)
Jules used to live in the Metro with her mom until her mom left and she was forced to move to a small suburban town. This suburban town is extraordinarily alive, especially for teenagers– it’s filled with drama, sex, and adventures.
Jules eventually got roped into this endless web of drama and also got addicted to shoplifting. She’s also heavily invested in her best friend, Rue, who is knee-deep into drug addiction which she tries to stop.
Jules also has her own demons; she has been battling depression since the age of seven and seems to always find herself in toxic relationships and situations.
In the third episode of the series, in the middle of a heated conversation with Rue, Jules admitted that she is transgender. This has been hinted at before with scenes of her injecting hormones or being on dating sites, but never explicitly states until this episode.
Jules’ transitioning backstory, which was apparently related to why she moved to the suburbs, was finally revealed in the later episodes.
1. Nomi Marks
From: Sense8 (2015)
Nomi Marks is one of the main characters of the show. She is a political blogger and hacktivist based in San Francisco.
Nomi is loud and proud as a lesbian transgender woman who loves to attend Pride Parades. She is deeply in love with her girlfriend, Amita, who will, later on, become her wife.
She is our top 1 iconic LGBT character because despite all the transphobia she has faced, she continues to be brave, clever, and true to herself.
She also ensures that she is a safe space for other people who are exploring their sexuality by helping them accept their true selves.
During her first sensate experience, she was involuntarily hospitalized by her transphobic mother where the doctor told her that she needs to be lobotomized due to an ambiguous brain disorder.
Luckily, Amita was able to help her escape the asylum and began seeking out information on BPO and her new sensate status.