Family is a place of belonging. To be married or have someone’s blood running through your veins does not have to be the only definition of a family. At Gaysi we are constantly redefining the term as a community to share stories with and give and receive love and support. A queer imagination of the family challenges the traditional idea of heterosexual monogamous relationships. Our understanding of gender and sexuality is built upon growing up in a family and watching other families around us. This makes representation of queer families in television and web series crucial to the society’s understanding and attitude towards the community. But most importantly, to watch queer families on screen as a queer person makes the world seem less hostile and more hopeful like a rainbow filter over an unaccepting world. There have been some efforts made to pump queerness into conventionally straight narratives. We decided to put together some of them for you in the hope to create many, many more!
Romil and Jugal
Romil and Jugal (a take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet) is an Indian web series by Alternative Balaji. It is a comedy romance between Romil, a hyper masculine closeted town boy, and a cute Jugal who is comfortable with his sexuality, a secret to everyone but his best friend. It is very Bollywood and daily soap-like which is a space we aren’t used to seeing queer love stories play out. Besides that, the light hearted take on gay love brings in relief from the conventional gloomy and tragic narratives.
Sense8 is a science fiction drama series based on a bunch of characters from different countries that are called sensates, which means they are psychically linked with each other. Besides featuring a gay relationship, it has one of the first representations of a trans-lesbian relationship. To see these queer relationships play out in what has been a predominantly heterosexual genre is a radical move towards more visibility and acceptance. In the midst of all the science fiction action it does not lose sight of the struggles of being queer and the path through by continuing to raise questions about identity and sexuality.
You Me Her
Jack and Emma’s marriage lacks sex drive. This conflict leads to the welcoming of a third person in their marriage, Izzy, a woman escort that both of them have started to fancy. The story explores a three-way queer relationship as they learn to overcome their insecurities. Monogamy has been one of the primal tents of the heteronormative narrative. This Netflix show challenges it by telling the story of a polyamorous relationship.
A sitcom telling the story of three families based in an American suburb, one of which features family of a gay couple, Cameron and Mitchell. Being broadcasted on Indian TV channels popularly, it has been one of the first sights for many, including myself, of a male-gay family on screen. From struggling to find acceptance from a homophobic parent to getting married and raising a kid, it shows it all.
Transparent follows the lives of a family after their father, Mort, comes out and transitions as a transwoman. The maker of the series, Jill Soloway got the idea for the show after their own father came out as a transwoman. It speaks for many transgender individuals and their families who came out quite late in life. Emotionally packed, tender and chaotic at the same time, Transparent is worth a watch to truly understand the whole family’s transition to being ‘queer’.
The L Word
One of the older series in the list, The L word is a television drama about the lives of a group of lesbians. Tina and Bette struggle to get a baby as Tim, his girlfriend Jenny, and Maria explore the complexities of a polyamorous relationship. Besides this, it also features the stories of an androgynous individual, a bisexual woman and a closeted lesbian. Queerness is at its core, evident in its characters and their relationships- in an effort towards normalization of queer sexuality and families.
The Fosters follows the family of a lesbian couple- Stef Foster, a cop, and Lena Foster, a teacher, as they live with Brandon, Stef’s biological son, and Jesus and Mariana, adoptive twins. The story begins when 15 year old twins Callie and Jude enter the family as foster children. The queerness of the family isn’t limited to their parents. As we follow the story, we meet a multiplicity of queer characters, including one of the kids, Jude. The Fosters later also introduces a transgender character. It gives insights on parenting a queer child as they navigate through questions about gender and sexuality.