The Best TV Shows with LGBT Characters

By Advocate Contributors

Originally published on Advocate.com November 16 2011 5:00 AM ET

Happy Endings (ABC)
This modern-day, Chicago-based Friends features Adam Pally as Max, one of the rarest of breeds: a realistic gay guy in an ensemble comedy.

Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family)
A teenage mystery about four best friends that’s equal parts Heathers, Desperate Housewives, and Nancy Drew for the cyber age, and one, Emily (played by Shay Mitchelle), is a lesbian.

True Blood (HBO)
Vampires, werewolves, demons, fairies, and humans coexist in Bon Temps, a small town in Louisiana — but hardly peacefully. Many of them are bisexual or gay.

American Horror Story (FX)
Zachary Quinto as a gay interior designer and creepy former house owner is just one of the many queer things about this gothic Southern horror.

Degrassi (TeenNick)
The most underrated LGBT-friendly show is this decade-old teen soap opera in which Jordan Todosey plays trans kid Adam, Argiris Karras and Shannon Kook-Chun are gay athletes Riley and Zane, and Annie Clark is lesbian teen Fiona.
 










Degrassi: The Boiling Point Adam Torres Jordan Todosey X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COMModern Family (ABC)
This very funny family comedy posits gay dads Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) as the yin-yang of modern parenting.

Shameless (Showtime)
Gay son Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and grandma Nana (Chloe Webb) are part of the Gallagher clan around which this family dramedy is set. There are four supporting gay or bi characters, including one played by Persian-American actor Pej Vahdat and two black lesbians (portrayed by Carlease Burke and Miss Doty).

Torchwood (Starz)
John Barrowman plays one of the sexiest men on TV: Capt. Jack Harkness, the former Time Agent and con man from the 51st century, who battles extraterrestrial and supernatural threats. And he’s proudly bisexual.

Spartacus: Vengeance (Starz)
Lucy Lawless (Xena) is the bisexual Lucretia. And there’s explicit sex, plus sexy men and women in togas. A win-win. Cameron Monaghan X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COM The Good Wife (CBS)
Indian-British actress Archie Panjabi played the ethically challenged investigator Kalinda in a season-long tease toward coming out as bisexual — but what payoff! And Alicia’s kid brother Owen (Dallas Roberts) got a boyfriend (played by Michael Arden). A bonus: Gay Harvey Fierstein and bisexual Alan Cumming both have regular roles.

American Dad (Fox)
Sure, there are gay anchor partners slash dads Terry and Greg, who wave the rainbow flag as often as possible, but the bisexual alien Roger (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) is still the most interesting queer person on Sunday night TV.

Glee (Fox)
Glee clubbers Kurt and Blaine, Santana and Brittany (a gay duo and a lesbian and bisexual kid, respectively) show America’s teens you don’t have to have a GSA at your school to be yourself. Chris Colfer, Darren Criss, Naya Rivera, and Heather Morris all get props. Bonus kudos: Jane Lynch and Dot Jones, real-life lesbian actresses defying gender norms in nongay roles.

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
Callie (the lovely Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) got married in a lovely same-sex wedding and as of press time they remained happy. Surprised? Rarely are lesbians on TV happy. And so far nobody’s ruined it with a lesbian bed death story line.ARCHIE PANJABI THE GOOD WIFE CBS TV (X390) Game of Thrones (HBO)
You didn’t even have to watch the show to see this season’s hottest scene: Actors Loras (Finn Jones) and Renly (Gethin Anthony) manscaping each other. It’s a viral smash.

Bones (Fox)
Flirty forensic specialist Angela (Michaela Conlin) is a nerdy wet dream, and even though she’s married to a man, the bisexual character hasn’t been forced in a hetero closet.

The Simpsons (Fox)
Long tackling gay themes like same-sex marriage and “Homerphobia,” with guest stars like John Waters and Harvey Feinstein, The Simpsons has two out queers in Springfield, specifically Patty Bouvier (Julie Kavner) and Waylon Smithers (Harry Shearer).

Hung (HBO)
In a refreshing twist, in a show about male sex-workers, the bisexual guy isn’t one of them. Damon Drecker (Charlie Saxton) is a Detroit quasi-goth who is exploring his sexuality and identity, and his dad just happens to be a ho.THOMAS JANE SMOKIN X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)
After 12 seasons, everyone relies on gay profiler–forensic psychiatrist George Huang (played by gay actor B.D. Wong), who came out in a 2009 episode. This year is his last on the show.

HawthoRNe (TNT)
Egyptian-German Canadian actress Vanessa Lengies brings some nice flavor to the medical drama as a scrub nurse Kelly. The show was canceled in September.

Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
Viewers fell in love with bisexual doctor Eleanor O’Hara (Eve Best) during a seduction scene in which a male nurse says, “I have a girlfriend,” and O’Hara replies, “So do I.” Now Jackie’s BFF is an integral part of the show.