Over the past few years, two major changes in streaming television content have developed at around the same time. The first is an influx of international TV shows — particularly on Netflix, but also on Amazon Prime and other platforms — or shows in other languages that monolingual English speakers use subtitles or dubbing to […]
Over the past few years, two major changes in streaming television content have developed at around the same time. The first is an influx of international TV shows — particularly on Netflix, but also on Amazon Prime and other platforms — or shows in other languages that monolingual English speakers use subtitles or dubbing to watch. The second shift is a move toward telling more stories that center people from marginalized groups, including women, Black and other non-white people, disabled folks, and LGBTQ+ individuals and families. So why not combine these positive trends and watch some of the best LGBTQ TV shows in other languages?
Here are some popular international shows with queer representation you can stream online. Whether you want to practice your language skills or are simply looking for some more queer content, be sure to add these LGBTQ TV shows to your binge list.
In this Spanish-language Netflix original series, a murder mystery at a prep school in Spain unfolds in a series of flash-forward scenes mixed in with a present-day story of sex, love and corruption. The show is notable for its complex gay and bisexual characters and storylines, which range from difficult coming out stories to passionate threesome sex scenes. As always, we encourage you to watch the show in its original Spanish and turn on the English subtitles — the dubbed experience is inferior for both language-learning purposes and show quality.
Also known by its French title Dix Pour Cent (“Ten Percent”), Call My Agent! tells the story of four agents working for a talent firm in Paris. Equal parts funny and dramatic, the show takes viewers behind-the-scenes as the agents work to solve crises involving their film star clients. One of the lead characters is a gay woman, and as LGBTQ TV shows go, this one does a particularly good job highlighting issues of queer parenting, including relations with the sperm donor and bringing a same-gender partner into your baby’s life.
This crime drama was Netflix’s first original series in Italian. It’s based on the film Suburra and a novel of the same name, telling a story of violence between mafia gangs, corrupt politicians and clergy members from the Vatican. One of the main characters is a closeted gay gang member, who faces a closed-minded Catholic family and an arranged marriage to a woman, among other hardships.
This soapy, dark comedy centers on a wealthy, dysfunctional family that owns a successful flower shop in Mexico. When the family patriarch’s mistress reveals all his secrets at a family party, things spiral out of control. The series doesn’t shy away from LGBTQ storylines and the realities of homophobia, and there are several queer characters who provide bisexual, gay and trans representation in the main cast.
This period drama, based on a series of historical fiction novels praised for their accuracy, takes place in 1929 Berlin during the Weimar Republic. In the show, police detective Gereon Rath comes to the city to investigate a pornography ring and ends up uncovering a larger political conspiracy. One of the characters frequents a gay bar, where cabaret performers dress in drag, and the wild sex parties depicted in the show are apparently pretty historically accurate.
Language: Brazilian Portuguese
An adult animated comedy from Brazil, Super Drags is the story of three friends working in a department store by day and protecting the LGBTQ community as drag queen superheroes by night. Though it only aired for one season, the show is fun, colorful and unabashedly queer. The English dubbed version features the voices of some of the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but we still recommend using subtitles so you can practice your Portuguese.
This Russian web series is particularly important because it was produced in the wake of Russia’s homophobic “anti-gay propaganda” law, which essentially banned talking about being queer or promoting LGBTQ content to minors. The creators of Here I Come attempted to get around the law by making an independent web series that’s only available to adults (though YouTube’s restrictions can probably be easily circumvented if minors really want to watch). The show tells the story of a law student in Moscow coming to terms with his sexuality and is available on YouTube with English subtitles.
Wrapping up our list of LGBTV TV shows in other languages, we have another Spanish Netflix series. Someone Has To Die, or Alguien tiene que morir, is a 3-episode miniseries that takes place in 1950s Spain when same-sex relations were illegal. Created by Manolo Caro, who also created The House of Flowers, this compelling thriller is about a young gay man whose conservative family is trying to set him up with the daughter of a family friend. When he brings home a male ballet dancer friend from Mexico, he learns that his family will stop at nothing to hold on to power and bury old secrets.
Header photo: Niete/Netflix
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