2015 was a better year than most for quality LGBT characters on TV. There were a variety of complex and interesting characters, including more transgender characters than ever. (Although still not nearly enough). Here are my choices for the best LGBT characters on TV in 2015.
15. Sol Bergstein (Grace and Frankie)
Sol is a sweet goofball. He never meant to hurt anyone, but knows that he did and has to wrestle with that. This was a nice portrayal of an older gay man.
14. Craig Pelton (Community)
Over the years, I’ve felt varying levels of joy and frustration over Craig and the portrayal of his sexuality. But, this year Community got it just right. “Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing” was a rare, perfect love letter to those of us who don’t feel like any label quite sums up our sexuality. His offense when Britta tried to simplify his identity into a real thing “without all that other stuff” in the finale rang true. It was a fine line to walk, but they managed to get an unlabelled character just right.
13. Jamal Lyon (Empire)
Jamal’s story was one of the strongest elements of Empire. They beautifully captured what it’s like to have parents who aren’t understanding about your sexuality. Jamal is assertive and confident, but still has enough internalized hatred to be a sadly resonant, sometimes tragic character.
12. Sophia Burset (Orange is the New Black)
I was disappointed with how Sophia seemed to disappear from her own storyline towards the end– did anyone really want her plot to be all about Caputo? That said, Sophia will always be a joy to watch when she is given screentime. She had some great, complicated moments like when she attempts to win her son over by giving him sexist advice.
11. Piper Chapman (Orange is the New Black)
I was frustrated with Piper this season and didn’t feel the intense love for her that I usually do, but regardless she remains one of the most complex bi/pan characters on TV. I’m excited to see how her character develops next.
10. Nomi Marks (Sense8)
Not only was Nomi Marks played by a transgender actress (Jamie Clayton), Sense8 was also created by a trans woman (Lana Wachowski). That authenticity translated into a three dimensional character who was actually at the forefront of the series, driving the action. The show felt like a breath of fresh air.
9. Connor Walsh (How to Get Away with Murder)
The handsome and charming Connor is always fun to watch. He clearly has a darkness inside and I’m constantly sucked in by the question of whether he’ll fight it or release it.
8. Lena Adams (The Fosters)
Lena is compassionate and sensitive, but far from perfect. Whether she’s making mistakes and slipping into infidelity or supporting her family members with unconditional love, she’s always a joy to watch.
7. Big Boo (Orange is the New Black)
Big Boo has always been fun, but this season really fleshed her out and made her a stronger character than ever. Between her fantastic flashback episode and her friendship with Pennsatucky, this was a great season for her development.
6. Annalise Keating (How to Get Away with Murder)
Annalise is a truly unique, complex character. Her existence is a turning point for television and for the antihero archetype.
5. Titus Andromedon (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Titus is one of the funniest characters on TV. His dialogue is consistently brilliant. He’s also refreshingly relatable.
4. Ilana Wexler (Broad City)
The hilarious, free-spirited Ilana is always fun to watch. She brings an incredible sense of joy to the show. Her short-lived relationship with her doppelganger Adele was one of TV’s most delightful and surprising storylines this year.
3. Ray Holt (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Ray is everything you could want from a sitcom character. He’s three-dimensional, hilarious and not boxed into any one archetype.
2. Poussey Washington (Orange is the New Black)
This year Poussey continued to emerge as one of Orange is the New Black‘s strongest characters. Her depression and loneliness were heartbreaking and the development of her friendship with Brook was fantastic to watch.
1. Suzanne Warren (Orange is the New Black)
Suzanne has always been a strong and unique character. This year we got to see yet another side to her through her relationship with Maureen, which led to her admitting how inexperienced she is in matters of relationships.