Pop Culture Spin

The 40 Best LGBT TV Characters from Current Shows: 40-31

Summer is a great time for catching up on TV. If you’re anything like me, you decide whether a show is worthy of your time based on how quality its LGBT characters are. That’s universal, right? Here are my choices for the 40 best LGBT TV characters from current shows.

40. Maura Pfefferman (Transparent)

Played by: Jeffrey Tambor

Network: Amazon

The fact that she’s played by a man made me hesitant about this character, but still it’s nice seeing a show with a trans protagonist and it is cathartic when she talks about the specifics of the trans experience. Maura just wants the whole situation to be less awkward and that makes her easy to relate to.

39. Kevin Cosner (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

Played by: Marc Evan Jackson

Network: Fox (catch up on Hulu)

Although Kevin is only a recurring character and not a main one, he’s well-defined and a joy to watch every time he appears. He and his husband Ray Holt have fantastic chemistry and the show doesn’t shy from the fact that he distrusts Ray’s fellow cops after all the discrimination he’s experienced.

38. Arizona Robbins (Grey’s Anatomy)

Played by: Jessica Capshaw

Network: ABC (catch up on the latest season on Hulu or watch from the beginning on Netflix)

Arizona has been through a lot in her six seasons on Grey’s Anatomy. Through all her ups and downs, she’s kept a bubbly appeal that makes her very watchable. Her relationship with Callie Torres isn’t always smooth sailing, but is complex and a major part of the show.

37. Stef Foster (The Fosters)

Played by: Teri Polo

Network: ABC Family (catch up on the latest season on Hulu or watch from the beginning on Netflix)

Stef can, at times, be one of the most difficult characters on television, but her flaws only make her a stronger character. And at her best she’s one of the bravest, most loving and fiercely protective characters around. Her love for her family is obvious and is the center of some of the most emotional moments on the show.

36. Hartley Rathaway (The Flash)

Played by: Andy Mientus

Network: The CW (catch up on Hulu)

Yes, so far he’s only appeared on two episodes. But, I have to believe The Flash will have the good sense to bring this character back for more next season. Hartley is a fun, charismatic and fascinating villain who I am in love with and you should be too. His scenes with Cisco Ramon are a true gift.

35. Shane Harvey (Faking It)

Played by: Michael Willett

Network: MTV (catch up on Hulu)

Shane is a fun character, full of one-liners, who pops on the screen. Faking It has avoided the angstier cliches of many portrayals of gay high schoolers, to remind us that gay teens can be overall happy and confident.

34. Karen Lipinski (Other Space)

Played by: Bess Rous

Network: Yahoo! Screen

Admittedly, the reveal that Karen has had sex with fellow crew member Tina was a bit of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. But, Karen has quickly become one of my favorite sitcom characters. Her struggle to get through a girls night in the episode “Ted Talks” was one of the most hilariously relatable things I’ve seen. The casual reveal of her bisexuality made her even better.

33. Alison DiLaurentis (Pretty Little Liars)

Played by: Sasha Pieterse

Network: ABC Family (catch up on the latest season on Hulu or watch from the beginning on Netflix)

When Alison was first introduced, she seemed purely villainous. The way she convinced Emily to kiss, saying it was “just for practice” even when she knew Emily wanted more, seemed like her usual cruelty. But, the show has developed both Alison as a character and her relationship with Emily into much more than what they seemed at first.

32. Callie Torres (Grey’s Anatomy)

Played by: Sara Ramirez

Network: ABC (catch up on the latest season on Hulu or watch from the beginning on Netflix)

Grey’s Anatomy has been on for 11 seasons and Callie has been a part of it through almost all of it. This means she’s been through a lot of rough patches. But through it all, she’s managed to stay the badass that audiences love.

31. Emily Fields (Pretty Little Liars)

Played by: Shay Mitchell

Network: ABC Family (catch up on the latest season on Hulu or watch from the beginning on Netflix)

Since its beginning, Emily has been one of the most impressive things about Pretty Little Liars. She’s stood out as an LGBT character who deals with a ride range of storylines, whether they’re romantic or not, directly related to dealing with her sexuality or not. She’s a well-rounded and lovable example of how an LGBT character should be written.

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