7 amazing LGBT shows you can binge instead of watching Trump’s inauguration
There’s a disturbance in TV-land this weekend, as networks disrupt normal service in favour of wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump’s inauguration celebrations.
If you’re not into the anointment of the Great Orange One and would rather hide under the covers and pretend it’s not happening, why not settle in for a binge of some the underrated LGBT box sets available on your favourite streaming services?
Here are some of the shows we can’t get enough of.
I Am the Ambassador (Netflix)
Perhaps the most timely series to watch this week, this fly-on-the-wall documentary series follows Rufus Gifford, the openly gay US Ambassador to Denmark.
Mr Gifford was an appointee of President Obama, and one of a string of gay ambassadors named by the outgoing President who had sought to remedy the lack of LGBT diversity in diplomacy.
Through two seasons, the show follows Mr Gifford across his day-to-day work, also featuring his relationship with husband Stephen, who he married in Denmark in 2015.
Don’t hold your breath for a third season, though… Mr Gifford officially loses his job as Donald Trump takes office.
Please Like Me (Amazon Video UK, Hulu US)
One of our all-time favourite TV shows, Please Like Me, a hidden gem from Aussie comic Josh Thomas, doesn’t get nearly enough love.
The show is unafraid to inject humour around big topics like mental health, and achieves the rare distinction of having gay characters and mentally ill characters who feel like normal everyday people.
Across four seasons Please Like Me has tackled everything from Grindr and coming out to depression, HIV, anxiety and suicide – and manages to be unfailingly hilarious, if at times devastating.
The acclaimed series was launched by trans sibling directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski – focusing on eight pansexual individuals around the globe with an apparent psychic connection.
The show features openly trans actress Jamie Clayton – making it notable as the first mainstream show to have an openly trans writers penning a trans role for an openly trans actress.
The Wachowskis are unafraid to explore sexuality, with ample lesbian sex and a notorious orgy scene that’s certified to traumatise the pearl-clutching prudes in your life.
A second season of the Netflix hit will arrive in May 2017.
When the studios won’t fund it… do it yourself!
Kit Williamson’s crowdfunded comedy EastSiders is entirely unchained as it follows gay couple Cal and Thom as they struggle with issues including infidelity and substance abuse.
EastSiders might not have the budget of a TV network behind it, but the indie production punched above its weight enough to land deals with Netflix and Logo TV.
Williamson explained: “I know how hard it is to get the machine behind anything, much less a gay dark comedy ,from a relatively unknown writer and director. There really only ever gets to be one gay narrative on television at a time in the states… I do think that we are seeing that change slowly but there’s still a lot of resistance towards having LGBT people at the center of a story.
“We can be friends, we can be neighbours and coworkers but we’re relatively secondary and not the stars of our own story.”
Transparent (Amazon Video)
Touching, poignant and heartbreaking, Transparent continues to make waves with its refreshingly queer approach to storytelling.
With a third season of the show recently released and a fourth in production, Transparent continues to follow the lives of the flawed – and occasionally obnoxious – Pfefferman family after they discover their patriarch (Jeffrey Tambor) is trans.
Tambor’s dignified portrayal of Maura made the show an instant hit, but it is creator Jill Soloway’s unique ability to authentically explore each of the character’s relationships with sexuality, spirituality and gender identity that makes Transparent one the best television shows ever written.
RuPaul’s Drag Race (Netflix, Logo)
‘May the best woman win’ may have been the unsuccessful rallying call of Democrats in last year’s election, but it’s also one of the many, many catch-phrases on RuPaul’s drag reality contest.
The perfect antidote to reality TV, Drag Race mocks pretty much everything, and never takes itself too seriously as the cast of drag queens take part in a series of costume acting, comedy and lip syncing challenges.
The show has a unique ability to penetrate both popular culture and lingo, birthing pale imitations like Lip Sync Battle while causing a generation of gay men to scream ‘Yasss queen’ at every opportunity.
And if you think contestants of America’s Next Top Model are bitchy, just wait until you fall in love with each season of queens… and watch them tear eachother apart.
Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
‘Ground-breaking’ is an increasingly overused term in today’s society, but it’s hard to think of another way to describe this flagship Netflix hit.
Set in the confines of Litchfield Penitentiary, OITNB follows the lives of the prison’s female inmates, winning countless awards for its honest and often brutal portrayals of life on the inside – and out.
The show also gives a strong voice to its array LGBT characters – including trans inmate Sophia Burset (Laverne Cox), “butch dyke” Boo (Lea DeLaria) and the loveable Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’ Warren (Uzo Aduba).