The most intriguing new LGBTQ characters of 2017

This year included a breadth of portrayals of LGBTQ characters in entertainment from film, TV, and comic books to video games. GLAAD's 2017-18 Where We Are on TV report found a record high percentage of LGBTQ series regular characters on broadcast television, and for the first time, we were able to tally regular and recurring asexual characters and non-binary characters. Comic books also took a leap forward in 2017 with established LGBTQ heroes fronting their own series, and new queer and trans characters being introduced in books from both indie and major publishers. As seen from the below list, mainstream film continues to lag behind, as GLAAD's two summer box office snapshots (1, 2) found, LGBTQ characters continue to be largely absent from major Hollywood films or relegated to minor roles. 

Here are just a few of the newly introduced LGBTQ characters in 2017 that stood out from the crowd in film and documentary, television, video games, and comics. Check out our 2016 list here. Tweet us your favorite LGBTQ characters of the year @GLAAD with the hashtag #RepresentationMatters!


The Chilean film Una Mujer Fantastica (A Fantastic Woman) tells the story of Marina, a transgender woman who has to deal with a devastating loss. It is a star-making turn for actor Daniela Vega, who portrays Marina with striking grace and nuance. The film, which is Chile’s official entry for the Oscars' Best Foreign Language Film award, tells Marina’s story: a lounge singer whose life is turned upside down when someone close to her unexpectedly passes away. In the face of discrimination from individuals and institutions, Marina’s strength and resilience shines through the entire film. It is noteworthy that one of the most beautiful and emotional films of the year - and one of the most critically acclaimed - centers on the story of a Latina trans woman. A Fantastic Woman will be released by Sony Pictures Classics on February 2, 2018, after a limited release this November.

One of the most buzzed about foreign films of the year, BPM (Beats per Minute), tells the story of HIV and AIDS activists in Paris during the early days of the crisis. In addition to telling a compelling portrait of activism during that time, and giving a much needed international perspective to the work of the ACT UP organization, BPM also tells a beautiful love story between two characters, Sean and Nathan. BPM deftly balances the fear, anger and sadness of the time with the joys of finding community (as Nathan does when he begins attending meetings) and a new relationship. The romance between Sean and Nathan paints a picture of two flawed but caring and resilient men. BPM is France's Oscar submission, the film won the Grand Prix and Queer Palm awards among others at Cannes where it premiered earlier this year. Find a theater playing BPM near you.

The documentary Chavela follows the fascinating life and career of Chavela Vargas, one of the most iconic singers in Latin American history. In addition to her music being extremely influential in 20th century Mexico, Chavela tells an intimate portrait of the singer's personal life, including coming out as a lesbian at the age of 81, and her relationship with different women in different periods of her life including Frida Kahlo. Using exclusive interview footage as well as mesmerizing material from her live performances, this documentary brings Chavela’s story to many new eyes, shows her love of Mexico and its rich culture, and how her work and life has influenced countless others over the decades. The stories of queer Latinx people have been too long left out of the projects making it to our screens, others should follow in the footsteps of this outstanding documentary. Find out how to watch Chavela here.


This year Starz debuted the original series American Gods which featured a variety of smaller stories under the banner "Somewhere in America..." in each episode. One of the most compelling of these was a love story between recent immigrant Salim and a wish-granting Jinn in human form. The two have a romantic encounter upon meeting, and for the rest of the season Salim sets off on a quest to be reunited with the Jinn. The show was renewed for a second season, and we hope to see more of their relationship in the new episodes. Also debuting this year was Freeform’s The Bold Type, which featured recurring character Adena El Amin, a lesbian Muslim artist, who was the love interest to one of the main characters, Kat. The show tells the story of their relationship, as well as how Adena’s art serves as resistance, and her struggle to stay in the country. Both of these series broke new ground with their portrayals of LGBTQ Muslim characters. Activist Blair Imani wrote a piece earlier this year for GLAAD about the importance of queer Muslim representation, she praised The Bold Type, saying, "Nothing is bolder than celebrating who you are in a world that does not always accept you. Characters like Adena remind me of this and expose the world to the lived realities of people like me." The Bold Type has been renewed for two more seasons, it will return in 2018.

Disney Channel’s wildly popular show Andi Mack premiered this year, and revolves around titular teen girl Andi, her family, and closest friends. One of her friends, Cyrus, early in the second season, starts to develop a crush on Jonah, the same boy Andi has a crush on. The second season follows his journey of coming out and learning more about himself. Andi Mack is the first Disney Channel show to feature a regular gay character, and is helping push forward more and improved LGBTQ representation in family programming. This year also saw two lesbian moms on Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins, a pride celebration on Amazon’s Danger and Eggs, and an expanding LGBTQ ensemble on Steven Universe.

Showtime’s Billions made history in the show's second season by introducing Taylor Mason as a recurring character. Taylor started as an intern of Axe Capital, and is now the Chief Investment Officer of the hedge management firm going into season three as a series regular character. Taylor, portrayed by non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillion, is the first non-binary identified character on a mainstream television show in this country. Having a non-binary character who uses they/them pronouns in the hypermasculine world of stock trading in which Billions takes place reaches an audience that may not be watching other series which include transgender or non-binary characters. Taylor’s character arc reaches far beyond their gender identity, as they become a major player in the firm.Taylor has led change with other series following their lead in introducing non-binary characters including Degrassi: The Next  Class and the upcoming Heathers reboot. Asia is also driving change in Hollywood; after their letter to the Television Academy questioning the binary gendered acting categories went viral, the MTV Movie & TV Awards changed to non-gendered categories. Billions will return in 2018.

One of the most compelling and heartwarming coming out stories on television this year was seen in Netflix’s One Day at a Time reboot. The show revolves around the multi-generational Cuban-American Alvarez family living in Los Angeles. One of the major stories told in the first season is that of Elena, the fifteen-year-old daughter, who comes out as a lesbian. The show tells her story with nuance and heart, as it does with so many other stories on the series, including those about immigration, PTSD, and workplace sexism. One Day at a Time returns January 26, in the mean time you can catch up on season one now on Netflix.

This fall saw the premiere of the newest series in the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek: Discovery, on CBS All Access. The show follows the crew of the Discovery, which features the first gay crew members on a Star Trek show. Out actor Anthony Rapp portrays Lt. Paul Stamets, the ship’s chief engineer whose research is crucial to the overall story and the crew of the Discovery. Also on board is the ship's physician Hugh Culber, played by out actor Wilson Cruz, who is in a relationship with Stamets. The success of this series with an interracial gay couple as part of the core story in such a historic franchise proves that LGBTQ people belong in science fiction's biggest properties. 


The immensely popular multiplayer game League of Legends was originally released in 2009, but has continually expanded in the past several years, and remains one of the most played and talked about games. In November, they released an official origin story for the character Varus in the form of two comics and a music video. Players learn that Varus is in fact a combination of two men, Val and Kai, who were two champions and hunters that were deeply in love. The two become trapped in one singular body, with different components of their personality making up the character of Varus. It is crucial for immensely wide reaching games such as League of Legends to include LGBTQ characters to show that we belong in these worlds.

The fourth entry in the popular Mass Effect series, Mass Effect: Andromeda, includes multiple romance options for protagonist Ryder, who can be a man (Scott Ryder) or a woman (his twin, Sara) depending on who plays Ryder. If Ryder is a man, he can romance the chief engineer Gil, or a member of the Angara race, Jaal. If Ryder is a woman, she can romance multiple characters as well, including the Asari Pelessaria B'Sayle and Dr. Suvi Anwar. Including multiple romances for a gay Ryder is something Andromeda improved upon after fan feedback, so now a Ryder can receive their romance trophies regardless of which gender they pursue.

The Kickstarter-funded adventure game Night in the Woods follows a protagonist Mae, a cat returning to her hometown Possum Springs, and a group of her friends, all different kinds of animals as they solve a mystery in the town’s woods. Mae’s best friend is a fox named Gregg, who is in a committed relationship with a bear named Angus. The two are the only gay couple in the town, and the game delves into how much the two care for each other as well as how they are effected by being the town's lone gay couple and what their post-schooling plans are.  


This spring, Black Mask Studios released the comic miniseries Quantum Teens Are Go from Kim + Kim author Magdalene Visaggio. The book follows Nat, a trans girl, and her boyfriend Sumesh who spend their evenings breaking into abandoned labs to find parts for their time machine. But when they finally get everything they need, mysterious entities interfere and work to keep them from operating the machine. All four issues are available to read now.

Dark Horse Comics launched The Once and Future Queen this year, the first five issues are available in a trade paperback now. The series is an update of the legend of King Arthur, but in this modern retelling it is actually a teenage girl named Renie who pulls Excalibur from the stone. From there, she teams up with Gwen, a new friend, and Lance, a school mate she hadn't paid much attention to, to save the world from forces of evil. The three all develop feelings for each other and decide to date as a polyamorous triad, while also figuring out how to make their relationship balanced and fulfilling for all parties as Lance is asexual while Gwen and Renie are not.

BOOM! Studios this year launched the limited run series Heavy Vinyl, formerly Hi-Fi Fight Club. The four issue series, from director Carly Usdin, flashes back to 1998 as protagonist Chris starts her dream job at a local record store opposite her crush, co-worker Maggie. She is just settling in when she learns that her record store is actually a front for a teen girl vigilante fight club who get called in to action when Chris' favorite singer goes missing just before a scheduled record signing at their store. This fall, BOOM! also launched the new series Fence, which follows the fencing team at an all boys school. 

Image Comics kicked off the new series Moonstruck this summer, the new series is written by Grace Ellis who was one of the creators of the popular BOOM! title Lumberjanes. The series takes place in a world with humans and fantasy creatures just living everyday lives side by side, including Julie, a werewolf barista who just longs to be "normal." Her co-worker and best friend Chet, a centuar, and her new love interest, another werewolf named Selena, find themselves caught up in a magical conspiracy that will test their bonds and their courage. Moonstruck is ongoing, the first three issues are available now.

Though they are not new characters, several LGBTQ characters led their own books in 2017. The new DC Rebirth Batwoman solo book launched early this year, and over the summer Dark Horse Comics released the first Legend of Korra graphic novel of a trilogy continuation, Turf Wars Part One. In March, Marvel launched the America Chavez solo book, America. America is the first Latina lesbian superhero, she has the power to kick open holes in reality as well as super strength and speed. Iceman aka Bobby Drake also got his own solo book this year, Iceman, which follows his coming out to his friends and parents as well as his finding his first boyfriend. While both books may sadly be ending in the new year, Marvel did recently announce the new multi-platform animated franchise Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, a feature length animated film featuring young Marvel characters that fans have grown to love including America (voiced by The Fosters' star Cierra Ramirez). Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors will debut six digital shorts before the premiere of the film later in 2018.

Who were your favorite new LGBTQ characters in 2017? Let us know!