By Clementine Hall

As of 2020, representation for the LGBTQ+ community in television has never been better. In fact, a recent report from the American media organisation shows that the amount of queer characters on our screens has increased by over 100, setting a new record.

It’s impossible to deny the role that Netflix and other streaming services have had in this. Over the past few years Netflix alone has built a reputation as one of the most inclusive sources for content and creation.

With February marking LGBTQ+ history month, below are 5 series available to stream right now which are aimed to educate others by bringing LGBTQ+ history to a mainstream audience.

1. It’s a Sin

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-55902840

This week also marked National HIV testing week, which is why Russel T Davies’ drama ‘It’s a Sin’ is the perfect show to stream right now.

Having reportedly been viewed over 6.5 million times on All4, making it the service’s most binged box set ever, Davies proves that powerful television intended to educate can also be commercially successful.

It’s a Sin follows a group of friends in 1980s London who grow up in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This five-part series demonstrates powerful storytelling, an incredible cast and the ability to show a crucial era of LGBTQ+ history to a mainstream audience.

Where to watch: Airs 9pm on Fridays on Channel 4, with all five episodes available to stream on All4 now.

2. Pose

https://pose-fx.fandom.com/wiki/Pilot

This critically acclaimed series focuses on the queer African-American and Latino communities of the ballroom scene in 1980’s New York City, and features the largest amount of trans actors in regular roles of any scripted television series in history.

Now into its third season, Pose continues to educate and entertain. After every episode, you come away with more knowledge about recent queer history and the everyday injustices faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix and BBC iplayer.

3. Ru Paul’s Drag Race

https://rupaulsdragrace.fandom.com/wiki/RuPaul%27s_Drag_Race_(Season_13)

You may see this show and think that it may not be your cup of tea, and that’s fair enough. It would be very easy to see the title and label it as just another vacuous reality show full of people desperate for their 5 minutes of fame. But here’s why you’re wrong.

Ru Paul’s Drag Race has heart, humour and is full of queens who have had to battle against prejudice and hardship throughout their lives. The show is a competition for drag queens, yes, but it is also so much more than that. It’s a show that challenges gender and teaches its contestants and its audience how to love and to celebrate themselves.

The show is filled with light, joy and positivity; offering its viewer a moment of escapism away from this cynical world.

Where to watch: Drag Race US series 1-13 available to stream on Netflix. Drag Race UK episodes available every Thursday on BBC iplayer.

4. Sex Education

https://powertodecide.org/news/something-talk-about-sex-education-netflix

This quirky, British comedy follows the life of Otis, a socially awkward son of a sex therapist trying to navigate his teenage years. Not only does this series openly discuss important conversations about sex and sexuality, the LGBTQ+ community is highly represented within the cast and the show is naturally progressive when approaching queer topics.

The storyline of Eric (played by Ncuti Gatwa) presents the ‘gay best friend’ cliché in a way that we haven’t seen before; his driving force on the show as a black, gay man from Nigerian decent makes him one of the most revolutionary gay characters on TV.

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix.

5. Disclosure

http://www.disclosurethemovie.com/

In this Netflix documentary, leading transgender thinkers and creatives share heartfelt perspectives and analysis about Hollywood’s impact on the trans community.

As we stand in 2021, the increasing visibility of transgender people is exhilarating and signals the beginning of positive social change. Since 80% of the entire population have never met a trans person, all they know has been learned from problematic media depictions.

This two-hour documentary aims to prove those media depictions wrong whilst educating its audience through real, personal interviews and experiences.

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

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