Queer Things You Could Be Watching
2016 has been a rough year, but recently the news has gotten increasingly depressing. If you’re like me, you sometimes need to do some serious self-care or risk falling into a dark bottomless hole of fear and anxiety. How one practices self-care is different for everyone, but as a queer man who writes queer romance, I’ve been doing it by watching a lot of Queer Stuff.
So, here’s my recommendations of Queer Things You Could Be Watching. If you grew up seeking queer media and only found crushingly depressing books or movies where everyone died, this list is for you. Not everything on here is a romance or a comedy, but they have strong queer characters who are integral to the story.
This show is my crack right now. It takes place in a small town in upstate New York and follows Philip, a teenage boy who has recently been put into the foster care system. His foster mother is the town sheriff, and he’s caught the eye of the high school heartthrob—Lukas, the badass blond who does motor cross.
The queer vibes spark within the first few minutes of the show so there is zero queerbaiting here (I have no tolerance for that anymore). During Lukas’ and Philip’s first tryst in a cabin, they witness a triple murder and get sucked into a murder mystery that is further complicated by Lukas’ fear of being outed as not-quite-straight if anyone learns why they were in the cabin that night.
I cannot recommend this show enough. None of the characters are perfect, but the fact that USA Network didn’t shy away from two boys showing their affection on screen was major. The show has some violence and it’s dark, but there is real chemistry and affection between the two characters and the mystery is engaging. Check it out! They need all the ratings they can get to be renewed for Season 2.
Angels of Sex
Okay, I’ll confess, I haven’t watched this yet but it’s next on my list. It’s a Spanish romance about a bisexual polyamorous relationship. How much more perfect can it be, right? Amy Jo Cousins recommended it to me, and I’m hyped up to dive in. Here’s what she said:
It’s an interesting movie about what it means to be in a relationship and whether or not you can love more than one person at a time, with three people, including two in a long-term relationship, trying to negotiate a lot of landmines while falling for each other. And there’s a happy ending!
Those People is the story of Charlie and Sebastian. They’re childhood friends who grew up in the glitzy world of Manhattan’s elite, and are honestly difficult to relate to in that regard. What drew me into this movie was the codependent relationship between Charlie and Sebastian. They’re both gay, and Charlie is clearly in love with Sebastian but the feeling is not returned in a romantic sense. Even so, Christian would do anything for this man including sacrificing his own wants and needs time and time again because Sebastian is such a tortured person.
There isn’t a perfect happily ever after here, but there are beautiful moments of tenderness between Charlie and his boyfriend Tim.
Yuri on Ice
Okay, I’m throwing an anime in here because this was some serious escapist shit for me today. Yuri on Ice is the story of a Japanese figure skater named Yuri who has a serious lack of confidence. He’s a beautiful skater in practice or when simply skating in front of friends, but he freezes whenever he’s competing. This all changes when his idol, the famous skater Viktor, offers to be his coach.
I’m pretty sure both Viktor and Yuri are bisexual as they both express interest in women while also being infatuated with each other. It’s a sweet anime with happy queer boys skating, so what more can you ask for? If you’re interested, you can watch it on crunchyroll.com
I’m sure there are not many people left in the world who haven’t heard of Sense8, but I have to include it on the list. It’s an extremely complicated show about clusters of 8 people who share a psychic bond which allows them to communicate telepathically or even enter each other’s bodies and switch lives. There’s an overarching plot that is interesting (although not perfect), but what I mostly love about this show is the diversity. The characters are from different countries all over the world and all walks of lives. Also, my favorite fictional couple of all time is in this show—Lito and Hernando.
Lito is a Spanish actor living in Mexico, and Hernando is his lover. They live together in a beautiful flat and have extremely lovely scenes together. There is some drama relating to the rest of the plot lines, but the relationship they share is everything you want to see on TV. In a world of fear and constant intimidation, it makes me truly happy to see queer characters who are living their lives and not afraid to be in love. Coming out is a major plot point for Lito, and I think it’s well done.
However, they’re not the only queer couple! Nomi, a trans woman, and her girlfriend Amanita, who is pansexual, are also main characters in this show. Like Lito and Hernando, the affection between these two characters is palpable, and that’s what I need to see right now.
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.
Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.