If, like me, you’re always on the lookout for new films and TV shows that authentically represent queer women, you know that they can be hard to find. Even in a time of more LGBTQ visibility on screen than ever, it’s still rare that representation comes from within the community itself. Like me, you may also have become alerted to the queer web series phenomenon with the unprecedented success of KindaTV’s Carmilla (2014–2017), which took off with its young queer audience and was able to fund several seasons and a movie off the back of its cult success. However, this phenomenon neither began nor ended with the famous vampire romance. As it turns out, YouTube is the perfect place for queer creators to put out their content and connect with an audience desperate for authentic representation of their experiences, who are willing to financially support its creation. These creators might not have the budget or the production value of The L Word Generation Q, but that hasn’t stopped them from telling their stories. The continued success of these series shows the power of the queer community to grow creators in their community and produce quality content from crowdfunding.
So here are ten great shows you can stream on YouTube or Vimeo right now, which are almost all accessible for free and created by LGBTQ women. They are also overwhelmingly comedic, proving that stories about lesbian and bisexual women don’t have to end in tragedy to appeal to their audience. Instead, they delight in their diverse approaches to queer female friendships, dating, and navigating identity in the modern day. This list is by no means exhaustive; there is a wealth of queer content out there on the internet that’s just a Google search away. So go find your people!
1. QUEER·ious (1 Season, 2019–)
QUEER·ious is a brand new web series created by Lex King with already over a million views on YouTube, centring a group of Black lesbian friends living in Los Angeles. QUEER·ious is certainly not short on the drama – K’wame (played by King) struggles to confront her emotions, Bisa falls for newbie Sam, Jazz hides a life-changing secret, and Nia and Jamila start a YouTube channel to document their journey to parenthood. It’s a fresh and funny depiction of lesbian love and friendship, and you can catch up with the recently released first season here.
2. Sjukt Oklar (2 Seasons, 2018–)
Originally produced for Swedish channel SVT, Sjukt Oklar is a comedy series starring Clara Henry as Ellen, notorious for never finishing anything in her 24 years of life. In order to prove herself, Ellen fraudulently re-enrolls herself in high school as a 16-year-old so she can finally complete her diploma. Laying low with a new friend, the oddball Moa, Ellen’s plan seems foolproof until she realises her new teacher is her ex-girlfriend, Vera, and Ellen’s lie begins to spiral out of control. Cute, funny, and more than a little absurd, the series can be found with English subtitles here.
3. SKAM España (3 Seasons, 2018–)
Despite being the sixth international remake of the hit Norwegian teen drama SKAM, the Spanish iteration of the show switched up the formula by rewriting the one of the popular central romances in the show’s second season. When Cris falls for the mysterious new girl Joana, she struggles to tell her family and best friend Amira that she’s bisexual. The show is aired in ‘real time’ episodes, and you can even follow the characters on social media for additional content. Already popular with SKAM fanatics, the series also breaks new ground in showing the implications of mental illness on relationships, with young women at the forefront. Watch here!
4. Twenty (2 Seasons, 2017–)
2017 web series Twenty follows the escapades of Maya and her rather eclectic bunch of friends living in Los Angeles. Hilarity and heartbreak ensue as Maya tries to juggle her fledgling music career, keeping her disastrous friend Tina in check, serial dating, and the unexpected reappearance of her infamous ex-girlfriend, Liz. A comedic highlight are the resident straight couple, Charles and Victoria, who are peculiar to say the least. There’s never a dull moment in Twenty. And great news – over a year after the season two finale, Twenty announced an upcoming third season! Get up to date here.
5. Brown Girls (1 Season, 2017)
This comedy series was created by Fatima Asghar and Sam Bailey, and follows best friends Leila and Patricia, who live in Chicago and both pursue creative careers. Leila breaks up with her girlfriend Miranda, who resents that Leila won’t commit to their relationship and lies to her Pakistani family, and Patricia struggles with her music career and her own commitment issues. Through it all the girls find solace and humour in their heartwarming friendship. Brown Girls was picked up for development by HBO and even received an Emmy nomination! Watch the original series here.
6. Gal Pals (2 Seasons, 2017–)
If you still haven’t satisfied your thirst for relatable queer girl comedy, Gal Pals should be your next venture! When serial Tinder catfisher Bee actually catches feelings for one of the “straight” girls she charms, and her roommate Olivia develops and embarrassing crush on their hot new neighbour Edison, both girls get more than they bargained for. The course of true love never did run smooth. You can catch up on this bizarre romantic comedy series here ahead of the third season, which is due to be announced soon.
7. Pot Luck (2 Seasons, 2015–)
Pot Luck is New Zealand’s first lesbian web series created by Ness Simon, and offers an authentic perspective on the lives of three lesbian friends who meet up for pot luck dinners every Tuesday night. During a competitive debate about their love lives, Debs, Mel and Beth make a reluctant pact: Debs has to move on from her ex, Mel has to prove she’s not addicted to hookups, and Beth must finally come out to her mother. As one can imagine, nobody finds it easy to hold up their end of the deal. Watch the first two seasons here!
8. Féminin/Féminin (2 Seasons, 2014–)
This French language, Montréal-based web series focuses each episode on different couples within one friendship group of queer women. From newly-out baby gay Alex, to recently dumped Émilie, to long-term couple Steph and Sam, the women each explore their relationships and identities through scripted scenes and personal mockumentary-style interviews. Five years after the original series aired, a further eight episodes were released. You can watch season one for free here, and rent the new episodes here (subtitles available).
9. Her Story (1 Season, 2017)
Though only comprising of six episodes, Her Story is a remarkable show about two transgender women, Violet and her narcotics anonymous sponsor Paige. Violet is intrigued by Allie, the reporter who interviews her for a feature on the trans community, and Paige cautiously begins to open up to the guy she has been seeing. The two women navigate dating and their professional lives as trans women, along with all the scary and exciting emotions of falling in love. The complete series is available to watch here.
10. Unfortunatly Ashly (2 Seasons, 2016–2017)
Created for Buzzed Violet and first released in 2016, Unfortunatly Ashly chronicles one summer when practical but socially awkward Ashly’s much cooler younger cousin Izzy comes to stay. As Izzy and Ashly become closer, they also help each other to handle their respective crushes on the mail boy and Ashly’s cute but equally awkward neighbour Avery. Funny and heartwarming, the series unfortunately ended with Ashly Perez’s departure from Buzzfeed, but reaches a satisfying resolution for its loveable characters. Watch the complete series via the Buzzfeed Violet YouTube channel.
by Megan Wilson
Categories: Anything and Everything, Women Film-makers
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