Over the course of the last few decades, the amount of LGBTQ+ content in media has skyrocketed. Once only hinted at or suggested, queer narratives have been making waves in the film and television world as of late, and for good reason.
These stories, in addition to being thoughtful entertaining, and interesting, provide great representation for queer folk young and old and open up the door for even more diverse stories in entertainment in the future. While there are increasing numbers of LGBT+ TV shows, lesbian films, gay comedies, and more – we can only hope to see the number of queer stories on-screen go up in the coming years – and with a greater diversity of genders, sexualities and races.
One place where you can find plenty of gay and lesbian content is on Netflix. The streaming giant, which originally became popular in part because of its willingness to carry more explicit or “taboo” content, has dozens if not hundreds of queer television shows and films now in its library, and they’re adding more every day.
Not all of them are award-winning masterpieces of course (though some are), but Netflix clearly has made a dedicated effort to add more LGBTQ+ content to its ranks here in recent years. And honey, we are here for it!
Another area in which Netflix has bulked up their content in recent years is anime. The streaming service has publicly stated that they’re doubling down on their anime production and acquisition and that they hope to be a major provider of it in the near future.
So, with a major increase in both LGBTQ content as well as anime content, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are a number of queer anime series that you can watch on Netflix right now.
A quick note however that the availability of gay anime shows on Netflix varies regionally and accessing some of these titles may depend on where you live in the world and which streaming services you have.
If you can’t find it on your Netflix, you can use a VPN to access other geo-regions, or you could sign up for a one-month free of Amazon Pride (or a 6-month trial for students) to get immediate access to Amazon Video if you can find the titles there. While you won’t be charged for your free trial, you’ll be upgraded to a paid membership plan automatically at the end of the trial period – though if you have already binged all these, you could just cancel before the trial ends.
Apple TV+ also has a one-week trial, and Hulu has a one-month trial (which can be bundled with Disney!) though we have not seen any cases of these platforms carrying these gay anime shows when not available on Netflix
While we wish everything could just be in one place – for now, this is the world we live in!
These queer anime series on Netflix range in genre from thriller to drama to action, but all of them feature either a narrative that is explicitly queer or gay/lesbian characters and themes. Here are some of our favorites!
In this article we will cover...
Based on the manga of the same name, Kakegurui is an anime that currently has two seasons available to watch on Netflix. The series follows Yumeko Jabami, a transfer student to Hyakkaou Private Academy, a prestigious Japanese school where the social hierarchy is, curiously enough, determined by gambling.
Jabami, sweet and innocent on the outside, hides a voracious and uncontrollable addiction to gambling and, using her intellect and knowledge of high stakes situations, she sets out to destroy the social ladders of the school for good, if for no other reason than that she can.
A number of the characters in Kakegurui are either explicitly queer or suggested to be so and, though the series sometimes depicts mental illness in a less-than-understanding manner, the queer representation in the series is refreshing, novel, and interesting.
Suzui and Saotome, Jambai’s close friends and two of the show’s other major characters, both have queer coding, and the three women’s relationships are dripping in sexual and romantic tension. There are a number of canonically gay characters in Kakegurui as well, like Sayaka Igarashi and Kirari Momobami, the student body president.
The women in Kakegurui are steadfast in their decisions and their sexuality. There’s a lot going on in the show and, while not all of it is perfect or done with tact, the gay characters and relationships on display in the series make it one of the most captivating queer anime out there.
The series is flashy and exciting, and with a few fascinating queer characters thrown in there, it’s definitely one gay anime series on Netflix that is worth the watch.
2. Bloom Into You
Also based on a manga, Bloom Into You is a romance and drama anime series that features two young women as its main characters. After high school students Yuu Koito and Touko Nanami both turn down potential suitors at their school, they realize that they might actually have feelings for each other, and the series follows their blooming relationship through its ups and downs in high school.
Bloom Into You is a quieter and more pensive anime than the fast-paced Kakegurui, but this allows for it to tell the story of a real and believable romance. The women at the center of the story are scared and unsure of their own sexualities, and this apprehension, something that many queer viewers will likely be able to relate to in some way, is a major plot point of the series. We watch the women’s relationship grow and get strained, and we understand and feel for them all the same.
The anime is considered to be in the “yuri” genre, which typically explores women-loving women relationships; however, as many critics have noted, it subverts as many of the yuri tropes as it plays into. Bloom Into You is a great place to start for anyone looking for an easily digestible queer anime, and regularly tops the list of LGBTQ+ animes for that reason.
3. The Legend of Korra
The Legend of Korra, a spin-off and sequel series to the immensely popular North American anime Avatar: The Last Airbender, isn’t the most explicitly queer show out there, but it deserves a spot on this list for the way in which it paved the way for queer characters to shine in children’s animation, especially in the United States and western media.
The final scene of The Legend of Korra features Korra, the lead character, and Asami, her one-time foe but now close personal friend, holding each other’s hands and gazing into each other’s eyes. Nothing more happens on screen, but fans quickly caught on to what was being implied and went to the creators looking for answers.
“You can celebrate it, embrace it, accept it, get over it, or whatever you feel the need to do,” said co-creator Bryan Konietzko, confirming that there was a queer, romantic relationship between the two characters. “There is no denying it. That is the official story.”
Korra and Asami’s relationship plays out like so many first queer crushes — a romantic relationship born out of friendship and connection. It’s something that will be familiar to many queer viewers, and while holding hands may seem like poor representation through the lens of this modern decade, The Legend of Korra’s status as a queer anime should not be understated at all.
For years it’s been difficult for animation studios and writers in the States to palace queer romances in their work, and it’s not an understatement to say that Korrsami, as fans dubbed the iconic pair, paved the way for more representation not just in anime but in animation more broadly.
The Legend of Korra is a brilliant show where romance is rarely the focus, but, when it is, the relationships are done well and the queer representation is and was trail-blazing. For this, it earns its place on our list of gay anime shows on Netflix.
4. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is another North American animated series that, depending on who you ask, may not “officially” be an anime, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t include the series on this list. That’s because She-Ra is not only one of the best queer animated shows out there, but one of the best queer shows in general.
All five seasons of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power are currently available on Netflix, and all throughout those nearly 100 episodes are stories of queer and gay connections and romance. The series deals with a whole lot more than just queer issues — it tackles depression, trauma, anxiety, and much more — but the queer relationships at the show’s core are central to the story and, arguably, to the show’s success.
As Maya Gittleman wrote in her review of the first season “She-Ra not only queers fantasy archetypes but has a deliberately inclusive and diverse cast that works to highlight different means of expressing power.”
The series is likely to tackle issues that many viewers — children or otherwise — may not have had much exposure to, and it does so only in thoughtful and engaging ways. She-Ra only gets better as it goes along, but even from the first season, you should be able to tell that the series is something special.
In addition to explicit LGBTQ+ relationships though, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power also features a number of characters outside of the gender binary, something else that the series is also a pioneer for, especially on Netflix and especially in children’s content.
There are few better-animated shows out there that feature such impressive queer representation and so, while She-Ra might not fit the perfect definition of a Japanese anime, it’s an absolute can’t miss series on Netflix right now.
5. Ouran High School Host Club
The final pure anime LGBT series we’re going to be looking at is Ouran High School Host Club, a Japanese animated series based off a manga of the same name. The series is a romantic comedy of sorts and follows Haruhi Fujioka, a student at Ouran Academy, and the other members of the host club, a popular nightclub-like location in the area. Basically Shinjuku in Tokyo.
The series is full of interesting insights about LGBTQ+ issues and identity, and it features drag queens, as well as a protagonist who does not at all, seem concerned about their gender. A central point to the plot hinges on Haruhi being mistaken for a male student instead of a female one, and while there are definitely some scenes that lean more towards satire or comedy than they do actual representation, the show should be applauded for its relative hands-off approach to queer issues.
Ouran High School Host Club doesn’t call attention to its queer themes or characters, opting instead just to let them live and breathe in what feels like a very natural environment. It doesn’t move too fast, stays interesting throughout, and is one of the most classic and iconic LGBTQ+ anime series out there.
6. Super Drags
Created for Netflix by Anderson Mahanski, Fernando Mendonça, and Paulo Lescaut, Super Drags is a Brazilian animated show where the queer themes and characters are in no way subtle or not explicit. In fact, the three friends at the center of the show, Donizete, Patrick, and Ralph (who have alter egos as drag queen superheroes: Scarlet Carmesim, Lemon Chiffon, and Safira Cyan) have only one mission on their mind— protecting the LGBTQ+ community.
Super Drags is audacious and over-the-top in all the best ways, and seeing a show that is this unafraid to be a champion for the queer community is definitely something special.
The show was unfortunately canceled after a short five-episode season, but if you’re looking for a way to maximize the amount of Super Drags content in your life here’s a recommendation: watch the original Brazilian version with subtitles first and then re-watch the English language dub.
On the first watch, you can enjoy the show as the creators intended it (something all the more important when watching and enjoying art by queer artists). And then, on the second watch, you can enjoy hearing the voices of Ru Paul’s drag race stars like Trixie Mattel, Ginger Minj, Willam, and Shangela.
Released in September of 2021, Q-Force is an adult animated comedy created for Netflix by Gabe Liedman (whose previous work includes Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Inside Amy Schumer, and PEN15). The series is centered on the titular Q-Force, a group of secret agents reminiscent of James Bond’s M16.
The star of the show, a superspy named Sam Merriweather, is also familiar to 007, albeit with a few distinct changes. See, the Q-Force is made up entirely of gay and queer folk, a fact that unfortunately, in their line of work, keeps them from being as powerful as they could be.
To prove their worth to their higher-ups, the Q-Force takes a straight man onto the team, and it’s from here that a lot of the show’s comedy derives. The show has its heart in the right place, even though some of its jokes don’t land, and that makes it worth a spot on this list in our book. Additionally, even though the show was written and produced by actual queer people (something that still is all too uncommon when it comes to queer stories in major media), Q-Force bases a lot of its jokes on aspects of the gay community that would be considered low-hanging-fruit at best and insensitive stereotypes at worst.
All that being said, if Q-Force sounds like a show you might enjoy (short on nuance but easy and enjoyable to watch) then it almost certainly will be a show you’ll enjoy.
8. Danger and Eggs
Danger and Eggs, the final show on this list is actually an Amazon Prime exclusive, but we thought we needed to include it here. It is definitely aimed at a younger demographic than some of the other shows listed here; and trust us, we know that saying something, as more than half of the shows on this list are aimed at teenagers or younger.
However, we encourage you to give this oddball children’s program a chance, if for no other reason than that it’s the first cartoon created by a trans woman. Shadi Petosky, the series showrunner, has included dozens of queer and gay characters in this show, and while the show may at first appear to be a kids’ program where a mutant egg teaches life lessons, it’s revealed after just a few minutes of watching that there’s a lot of care under the surface of this show, and a lot of thought being into put into these characters and what they represent.
Granted, it is still a kid show where a mutant egg man teaches life lessons, but it’s a whole lot more than that too.