10 TV shows with iconic trans and non-binary characters that you need to watch

30 June 2021, 15:31

Pose give a first look at their third and final season

Sam  Prance

By Sam Prance

Here are just a few of the best TV shows with trans and non-binary storylines that you can watch right now.

Looking for a new TV show to watch with trans and non-binary characters? Hopefully, this list will provide some inspiration.

For many years transgender representation on television was abysmal. Not only were trans roles played and written almost exclusively by cisgender actors and writers, but the characters were often killed off and given no real development. There was also little representation of trans people who fall outside of the traditional male/female gender binary.

TV still has a long way to go but the industry is gradually doing better and there are now multiple TV shows that you can watch with iconic trans and non-binary characters. With that in mind, here are just 10 of them to add to your watchlist.

READ MORE: 10 ways to be a trans ally in your day to day life

10 TV shows with iconic trans and non-binary characters that you need to watch
10 TV shows with iconic trans and non-binary characters that you need to watch. Picture: Netflix, FX, HBO Max

1) Pose

Pose may have just aired its final season but the series remains groundbreaking television. The hit show is set in the heart of ball culture in the 1980s and 1990s and the main cast is made up predominantly of trans women of colour. From Blanca and Elektra to Angel and Candy, there are multiple iconic trans characters for you to fall in love with.

Better yet, many of the episodes of Pose are written and directed by trans women including Janet Mock and Our Lady J.

2) Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

As soon as Chilling Adventures of Sabrina first aired, fans praised the show for having a trans main character. Theo, played by Lachlan Watson, is one of Sabrina's best friends and the supernatural drama gives him space and time to figure out his gender identity. It isn't until season 2 that he officially comes out as a trans man.

Not only that but Theo's storyline isn't based solely around his trans identity. Theo gets a boyfriend in season 3 and he's a vital part of Sabrina's squad, often helping save the residents of Greendale and the world at large.

3) We Are Who We Are

We Are Who We Are is a coming of age drama set on a US army base in Italy and it follows two American teenagers, Fraser Wilson and Caitlin "Harper" Poythress, from when they first meet. At the start of the series, Harper is struggling with his gender identity but, he gradually comes to terms with who he is as the series progresses.

Jordan Kristine Seamón, who plays Harper, is non-binary in real life and uses she/they pronouns.

The official trailer for We Are Who We Are

4) Euphoria

Euphoria may be best known as HBO's edgy teen drama which doesn't shy away from sex, drugs and alcohol but there's a lot more to it. The acting is phenomenal, the script is equal parts terrifying and hilarious, and the characters are as messy as they are loveable.

Jules, played by Hunter Schafer, is an out trans teen girl and the main love interest of Rue, played by Zendaya. She's cool, complicated and makea any outfit look like it came straight off of a runway.

5) La Veneno

La Veneno is a Spanish, biographical mini-series based on Valeria Vegas' hit biography about real-life trans icon Cristina aka La Veneno. The show explores Cristina's entire life from her childhood to her sex work, and her career on television up until her death, with multiple trans actresses playing her at various ages.

The show also features Cristina's actual friend, Paca, La Piraña, as herself. Equal parts moving, hilarious and inspiring, it's must-see television.

6) Good Girls

Good Girls is a TV show about three suburban mothers who turn to crime to support their families and, if that weren't iconic enough, it also has a trans main character. Annie, one of the three main mums, has a trans son named Ben, and Isaiah Stannard, who plays him, is trans in real life too.

The show tells Ben's coming out story but it also explores his life as a teen and the ways in which his loving and supportive mum often relies on him too much and how that affects him growing up.

Netflix’s ‘When They See Us’ tells the heartbreaking true story of the Central Park Five

7) When They See Us

When They See Us tells the horrific true story of four Black teenage boys, and one Hispanic teenage boy, who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park, New York in 1989. The series explores the lives of five men who were unjustly imprisoned and, in Part 4, it tells the story of Korey Wise.

While Korey is in prison, the series shows us flashbacks of Korey, with his trans sister, Marci, who is played by Isis King. We see how much of an impact Marci had on Korey and how important she was to him, and Isis' performance is brilliant.

8) Orange Is the New Black

Orange Is the New Black may have ended in 2019 but Laverne Cox's portrayal of Sophia Burset is essential viewing. The series tells the stories of a group of women who are serving sentences in a women's prison in upstate New York. It explores their lives in confinement as well as their lives before they got there.

One of the main characters is Sophia, a trans woman who was sentenced to jail for credit card fraud and becomes the go-to hairdresser in the prison. Laverne depicts Sophia in an incredible way, bringing depth, humour and humanity to the hit Netflix series.

9) Star Trek Discovery

In 2020, Star Trek Discovery made history by introducing the first-ever trans and non-binary characters into the Star Trek universe. Blu del Barrio plays Adira, a very intelligent non-binary human bonded with a Trill symbiont, and Ian Alexander stars as Gray Tal, a kind trans Trill who dates Adira. Fans adore the couple.

No extensive Star Trek knowledge is required to watch Star Trek Discovery either. Just start at season 1 and you'll meet Adira and Gray in season 3.

10) The OA

The OA is a mystery drama about a blind woman named Prairie Johnson who goes missing and resurfaces 7 years later with her sight back. When she returns, she now goes by the name The OA. Initially, she is silent about what happened to her but, eventually, she becomes comfortable enough to open up.

Buck is a trans boy who lives in The OA's town and he is one of the only people who believes The OA's story right from the beginning. Buck is played by trans actor, Ian Alexander, who plays Gray in Star Trek Discovery.

QUIZ: Which iconic queer anthem sums up your love life?