5 Remarkable Children’s Shows With Queer Representation

Here is a list of shows that are meant for a younger audience that will educate them about queer relationships.

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Rainbow background with a television centered. Inside the television there are two women kissing their daughter's cheeks.

Finding shows with equal representation for a younger audience can be difficult. As we celebrate Pride Month this year, it is important to educate children and show them what it means to accept people for who they are. There is more representation on the big screen, and even on prime-time television, but they are meant for an older audience and inappropriate for younger viewers. Disney+, Netflix, and other streaming platforms have made progress in providing true representation for a younger audience. Here is a list of eight shows meant for a younger audience to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community and showcase the importance of acceptance.

The Owl House on Disney+

The Owl House is an animated series found on Disney+ and is appropriate for children ages seven and older. The show covers a wide range of progressive issues while remaining child-friendly. It is a supernatural animated series that follows a girl, Luz, as she embarks on a journey to becoming a witch in a demon realm where she meets Amity. Luz and Amity have a very progressive enemies, or frenemies-to-lovers, relationship that the creators and writers of the show slowly developed.

The Owl House poster on Disney with two characters flying over a forest on an owl broom. One character who is seated in the front is holding a glowing object while looking up and the character behind them is holding a flame.

Luz helps Amity ask out her crush, not knowing Luz herself is the one Amity is crushing on. The romance between the two blossoms and they become girlfriends, showcasing how cute teen love can be. The Owl House furthers its queer representation by featuring another character, Raine, who identifies as nonbinary and uses “they/them” pronouns. Disney+ has taken great steps to empower representation for everyone, The Owl House was just the beginning.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series on Disney+

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series premiered on Disney+ when the streaming platform was released to the public and marked a milestone as one of the first Disney shows to feature a gay character and couple in its first season. The show was very different from other Disney shows because it was on Disney+ instead of Disney Channel, and it tackled key issues that Disney had not discussed before. Carlos, one of the characters on the show, is presented as gay but it is not made as a defining quality; instead, they focus on his passions. Carlos faces his fears and nerves when he asks his crush to the school dance where they would embrace their sexuality and dance in front of the whole school.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series poster with a cast of 15 people throwing their graduation hats in the air. The background is white while all the characters are in black and white with red shirts.

They are not the only queer representation on the show; in the third season, Ashlyn comes to terms with her sexuality while away at summer camp. Ashlyn goes through the process of coming out and on her self journey she figures out her “why,” which embraces coming to terms with who you were always meant to be. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series was created in 2019 and is intended for ages 10 and up.

Andi Mack on Disney+

Andi Mack focuses on a young girl, Andi, as she navigates life growing up after finding out the woman she thought was her older sister turns out to be her biological mother because of an unplanned pregnancy. Andi Mack was very different from the usual Disney Channel shows as it was the first show to feature a gay main character, Cyrus, who had a moving coming-out story. As Cyrus navigates life after coming out, he receives a love interest, TJ, who goes through his own form of accepting his sexuality, but in the end, it is hinted that Cyrus and TJ are a couple. Andi Mack can be found on Disney+ and is suited for ages six and up.

Andi Mack poster for Disney with a girl laying down on a purple blanket next to three pictures of her with friends and as a baby.

Julie and the Phantoms on Netflix

Julie and the Phantoms only had one season, directed by High School Musical’s director Kenny Ortega, and was very popular when it was released. The show features a charming queer couple that is prominent in the plotline. Alex, the drummer of the band, comes out off-camera to his friends and family, but it is mentioned that his parents were not very accepting. Meanwhile, his bandmates and best friends accepted him right away. It can be a very realistic portrayal of queer kids who were not immediately accepted by their parents when coming out. Still, seeing his bandmates completely supportive of him was heartwarming.

Purple background with four bandmates on the right side. One girl holding a microphone in the center with three boys around her, two with guitars and one with a drumstick.

Alex develops a romantic relationship with Willie throughout the season, almost like a slow-burn friends-to-lovers that is very cute and charming. When they reveal how deeply they care about each other, it is delightful and genuine, making people feel like their feelings for each other can overcome every obstacle. Julie and the Phantoms can be streamed on Netflix and is intended for those eight years old and up.

One Day at a Time on Netflix

One Day at a Time is a sitcom that revolves around the lives of a Cuban-American family. Elena, the daughter in the family, comes out as lesbian in the first season, leaving her parents confused. Elena is accepted by her mother at first, but her dad struggles with accepting who she is. Her coming out was very realistic in a way because it continued over several episodes. Elena is very vocal about the Pride movement and educates her family as well as the people around her about what it means to be part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Yellow background overlaying a kitchen with six characters standing on the side. Each character is smiling at the camera like a happy family.

In the second season, Elena’s partner is introduced as a non-binary character named Syd. Their relationship is featured heavily on the show, and the audience gets to learn about their identity from them, as well as being educated about the LGBTQ+ community. Syd and Elena’s romance is a great portrayal of a queer relationship that is goofy, awkward, and fun. One Day at a Time is streamed on Netflix and is appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Allowing representation in children’s entertainment does not harm their development but only educates them more about the real world. These shows are an example of how naturally LGBTQ+ characters can be portrayed in the media in a way that is suitable for younger viewers.

Read more about how the media portrays the LGBTQ+ community through songs by reading another Bookstr article, 7 Amazing Queer Songs Everyone Will Love.

You can also check out the Hooray for Representation bookshelf on bookshop.org to read more about Pride during Pride Month!