If you’re settling in to watch a new show with your family, you might be hoping for something that handles LGBTQ+ themes, but is still suitable for kids to enjoy. Fortunately, there’s a plethora of options out there; you can choose almost any genre and you’ll find some great shows to watch.
Some of the top family-friendly shows include things like Schitt’s Creek, Steven Universe, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Modern Family, Arthur, Adventure Time, One Day At A Time, and Queer Eye.
With a good range here, you’ll find something suitable for all ages, so you can introduce LGBTQ+ characters to your child at pretty much any age! You may want to screen some of the ones on the list first as they’re directed more at older children/young teens, but there’s a great selection to pick from here.
Show 1) Schitt’s Creek
For older kids and young teens (we’d recommend around 14 years old, give or take a little), Schitt’s Creek is a fantastic series to get into. This Canadian sitcom follows the story of the Rose family – a previously wealthy family struck by disaster, and forced to relocate to a place called Schitt’s Creek, where there’s an awful lot of adjustment for them to do.
The series wasn’t popular straight away, but it has risen in popularity, and received a lot of critical acclaim. It has also been nominated three times for the GLAAD Media Award for its portrayal of LGBTQ+ people, and has won the award twice. That makes it a great starting place for LGBTQ+ TV watching, and the humor is of the kind anybody can appreciate.
There are six seasons of this show, so if you love it, you have plenty of material to enjoy! The show has received a lot of awards and there’s even talk of a film being made – so keep your eyes on this space. It’s worth being aware that Schitt’s Creek isn’t ideal for younger viewers, but it’ll definitely be appreciated by older watchers, and it’s still considered family-friendly.
Show 2) Steven Universe
An animated show, this is probably suitable for kids around the age of 10 and up, although some mature younger audiences might appreciate it too. It’s got a huge amount to offer to viewers, and has been much-loved and widely talked about as a result. So, what is it?
The show tells a coming-of-age story, focusing on Steven Universe. This boy lives in a fictional town called Beach City, alongside the Crystal Gems, which are magical aliens called Amethyst, Pearl, and Garnet.
Steven is only a half-Gem, but he’s fully engaged and accepted in the family, and he has lots of friends – meaning plenty of fun when he goes off on adventures and protects his world from threats.
A lot of the show is focused on the importance of creating healthy relationships, and the value of family. For anybody looking to give their young children examples of how to interrelate, this is a wonderful option, which shows us the familiar through an unfamiliar lens, and offers fantastic life lessons for us to explore.
Of course, LGBTQ+ themes are a centerpiece of this show, and it has frequently been praised for its handling of them. It won the GLAAD Media Award and has various other awards and nominations, and it’s also spawned books, video games, comics, and more.
If you enjoy a good sci-fi and you’re keen on an animated series, this should definitely be at the top of your list. It’s a pretty weird one, but it’s really good, and you can certainly get behind the characters – the way they relate to each other is charming and heart-warming.
What’s particularly impressive, though, is that all 5 seasons of Steven Universe have 100% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes – an astonishing accomplishment. Part of the audience’s love for the show is down to its skillful handling of LGBTQ+ themes.
It’s the perfect way to introduce these to children, because the show beautifully and appropriately introduces the idea of “love is love,” and the message of acceptance and self-acceptance is expressed throughout. The show frequently explores relationships, and enthusiastically celebrates diversity, whether that’s in skin color, appearance, sexuality, or something else.
Show 3) My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
Introducing little ones to the idea of homosexual relationships can be challenging; you want to normalize and present these relationships without making them out to be a huge deal. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic can be a fantastic way to do this!
The show casually and smoothly introduces an LGBTQ+ relationship through the character of Scootaloo, who has been raised by her two aunts, Auntie Lofty and Aunt Holiday – a gay couple. That’s a pretty gentle and background introduction to use, but it gives you an opportunity to show your child that there are many different kinds of love, and families come in all different forms.
The great thing about this show is that there’s really no lower age limit. My Little Pony can be suitable as soon as your child starts watching shows, so this is a good one to consider including in their education about how the world works. You won’t regret it!
Show 4) Modern Family
Modern Family came out in 2009 (for fans of the show, it’s hard to believe it has been that long) and it was an immediate success in the LGBTQ+ world. That’s because it was a surprisingly early and surprisingly casual portrayal of two married men aiming to have a baby – shown in a totally natural, relaxed way. That vibe has held up and the show is still amazing today.
It’s probably best for ages around 13 plus, as younger viewers may not find it particularly engaging. It revolves around family life, and explores three different kinds of families – same-sex, nuclear, and blended. Its examination of what “modern families” can look like has been very highly acclaimed, and it has won the hearts of audiences around the world.
The characters are engaging, realistic, detailed, and vividly realized, which led to the show’s long-standing popularity. It aired from 2011 to 2020, and attracted over 7 million viewers. It should be noted that there was some initial criticism because the gay couple, Mitchell and Cameron, were not portrayed as being physically affectionate with each other.
However, the show’s producers responded by saying that they already had plans to address this, and it was part of the intentions for season two. This was followed up with an episode entitled The Kiss, which delivered on this promise, and which attracted praise from many of the critics.
As such, Modern Family has certainly managed to hold up to expectations and if you enjoy a detailed sitcom with intricate relationships, this is the one for you and your own family to enjoy. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely worth a watch!
Show 5) Arthur
Arthur doesn’t have a lot of LGBTQ+ representation in it, but if your kid is already into this show, you have a wonderful opportunity to introduce them to the idea of gay couples – because in the Season 22 premiere episode, Mr. Ratburn gets married, and the scene is moving and phenomenally realized.
Arthur is an enormously popular kids show, so this is a very natural way to bring this sort of concept to your child’s attention, without trying to force them to watch something new. Your child can explore the idea comfortably, and come to you with any questions they might have.
It’s also heartening to see so many kids shows moving in the direction where they are happy to deal with these themes casually and comfortably. There’s certainly a long way to go still, but LGBTQ+ families everywhere are welcoming these changes and the increased representation.
Show 6) Adventure Time
If you loved Steven Universe, you’ll definitely want to check out Adventure Time. The developer of Steven Universe, Rebecca Sugar, worked on Adventure Time as a writer and storyboard artist, and this is a fantastic show for LGBTQ+ representation.
The relationship between Bubblegum and Marceline garnered particular attention from the fans when romantic subtext began to appear, and this eventually became canon, with the two characters kissing in the finale of the season. It’s not clear exactly what the sexuality of Bubblegum is, but it has been suggested that sexuality is rather fluid in the show – and that’s just fine with most of the fans.
It’s important to note that it was Sugar who pressed for this LGBTQ+ representation, pointing out how crucial it is to include LGBTQ+ characters in children’s TV so that children can both recognize themselves, and support and understand each other more thoroughly. The absence of these characters leaves a void for many children, and creates gaps in their understanding of the world.
Most LGBTQ+ people who are looking for family-friendly gay shows to watch will seriously appreciate that approach, and it’s one that has set Adventure Time apart – especially back when there was very little suitable gay content for children. It’s nice to see that the initially subtle hints, which were initially favored to avoid censorship, eventually became something much stronger and clearer for the fans.
Adventure Time is also seriously fun. Kids love the quirky, unusual characters, the interesting plots, and the humor, and there’s plenty for adults too. That makes this an excellent option for many families, and if you’ve got kids of different ages, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to all enjoy this one together – a rarity in the world of TV!
Show 7) One Day At A Time
Elena’s coming-out arc is what made One Day At A Time so popular among the queer community. Portrayed in refreshing and realistic ways, it’s so nice to see a happy Latina lesbian take center stage for a short while, full of enthusiasm for the future and self-confidence. Many people have found that they resonate with the character – and it’s refreshing to see a non-white character in this role.
This show is most suitable for young teens, although it can be enjoyed by younger children too in some cases, so don’t dismiss it if your child is curious and would like to know more. It’s got a vast number of teaching opportunities in it, covering many difficult topics that parents want to talk about but don’t always know how to address effectively.
Things like racism, ageism, LGBTQ+ representation, sexism, and more are covered, and with a surprising degree of grace and aplomb. This sets the show apart, and has left many viewers amazed.
There are four seasons, so there’s plenty to watch if you find you enjoy the show, and it’s great for adults as well as kids. Audiences have been enthusiastic and all four seasons rank highly on Rotten Tomatoes.
Show 8) Queer Eye
If you’re looking for something that will attract older teens, Queer Eye tends to be good for around 14+, and that means it has plenty for adult viewers too. This is an immensely heart-warming show, making it great for family nights together, as well as an excellent teaching tool.
Queer Eye has been praised for its inclusion of people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. It’s a reboot of the 2003 series, and so far, it has done incredibly well, with 7 seasons already available for watching, and more coming. If you want a large amount of really high-quality watching, this is the perfect show for you to jump into.
The show encompasses multiple gay characters, including the relationship between Tan France and Rob France. There’s a strong sense of celebration, but the characters are deep and real, and very easy to empathize with. What a watch – we can’t wait to see more of this one.
Finding family-friendly gay shows may initially seem challenging, but there are lots out there, suitable for many different ages. You’ll see LGBTQ+ individuals appearing in many different ways, but all of the shows on this list have been praised for their portrayals of the queer community – so jump in and enjoy what they have to offer.