Happy National Coming Out Day! 15 Groundbreaking TV Shows That Celebrate the LGBTQ+ Community

Watch: Billy Porter Talks Playing "Male Whitney Houston" on "Cinderella"

For a significant amount of time, many viewers did not see themselves represented on television, as straight white relationships dominated most, if not all, shows.

However, the TV landscape has changed quite a bit in the last couple decades, with shows finally telling queer stories. And with today, Oct. 11, being National Coming Out Day, we felt it was only right to highlight some of these incredible programs.

First up? NBC's Will & Grace. Though the show had some problematic stereotypes at the heart of it, we just can't compile a list about groundbreaking LGBTQ+ shows without including Will & Grace. This is mainly because the sitcom was one of the first mainstream shows to have gay characters at the forefront.

The multi-award-winning comedy hit proved that gay characters were just as compelling as their straight counterparts—and opened the door for mature cable shows like The L Word and Queer as Folk.

photosRemember These LGBTQ Firsts on TV?

Fast-forward to 2018, when Ryan Murphy and his creative team launched Pose, a beautiful and insightful drama about New York City's drag ball culture. The captivating series not only catapulted Billy Porter onto the A-list, but it finally put Black and Brown queer stories in the spotlight.

And these are just a few shows worth mentioning!

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So, in honor of National Coming Out Day, we invite you to take a look at 15 impactful shows that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

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Will & Grace follows Will Truman (Eric McCormack), a gay lawyer, as he lives with his straight best friend, Grace Adler (Debra Messing), in New York City. The cast is rounded out with Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes, who play Karen and Jack, respectively, the over-the-top foils (and fan favorites) to Will and Grace's more strait-laced characters.

The NBC show initially ran for eight seasons between 1998 and 2006 before being revived in 2017. The reboot ended its run after season 11 in 2020.

Where to watch: Hulu

NetflixMaster of None

Lena Waithe's portrayal of Denise on Netflix's Master of None is both critically acclaimed and a favorite of fans. Season one's "Thanksgiving" episode, which documents Waithe's character's coming out journey, earned Waithe an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 2017.

In season three, Denise becomes the central character, taking over for Aziz Ansari's Dev, with the five episodes chronicling the highs and lows of her love story with partner Alicia (Naomi Ackie).

Where to watch: Netflix

Pop TVSchitt's Creek

Schitt's Creek follows the once wealthy Rose family as they relocate to a small town they purchased as a joke gift. Despite their reduced circumstances, the Roses find love and support from their new neighbors and, for the first time, each other. Most important, Schitt's Creek is a town without hate, allowing the main character David Rose (Dan Levy) to openly explain his pansexuality using bottles of wine.

Where to watch: Netflix

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