Yesterday, I was looking around for stories to share and came across the fact that three new episodes of the web series Jaded have been published.
If you don’t know Jaded, it’s a web series that premiered back in August. The series takes a hard look at the hookup scene in San Francisco. Primarily, this is done through a main character who both engages in it and also wants to leave it.
Unfortunately, I have no desire to write a whole article about those new episodes. No offense to Jaded and its creative/production crew, but I’m seriously getting tired of stories about White gay men in gay hookup culture (with usually one or two men of color in the background).
That’s not to say that those stories aren’t relatable and true. Hell, back in July, I wrote a piece about how I wanted to escape from the gay hookup scene much like the main character in Jaded.
But as someone looking to get away from gay hookup culture, I’m tired of seeing it being portrayed in every other gay-themed story or production.
In order to help others like myself with that avoidance, I’ve decided to share with all of you a list of alternative productions and stories.
Here are 12 LGBTQ web series that aren’t about White gay men living in populated coastal cities and in an emotionally abusive relationship with the gay hookup scene.
To help with a soft transition, I’ll first mention a web series that starts out with a Grindr message and becomes so much more than that.
Filipino web series Hanging Out follows a man named David. Bored one night, he decides to look for a Grindr hookup. Fortunately for him, he accidently knocks on the wrong door and falls into a new life and a new social circle.
A group of four friends mistakenly think David’s the date of birthday boy Adrian and rush him inside before he ruins the surprise party. Confused, David enters into the apartment and subsequently into the lives of people who will become his new best friends and one special boy named Adrian.
While this series does explore a romance story, its primary focus is on friendship. Each episode shows David hanging out with one or more of his new friends and discussing topics like trans life, HIV testing, dying friendships, and more.
This web series is sweet, fun, and well-produced, so check it out on YouTube.
The Bad Boy Series
We have covered this web series extensively here on Instinct Magazine, but I’m happy to share the show again in case you missed it.
This ongoing series of short films follows the relationship between bad boy Mack and his confused “daddy,” Scott.
One day, Scott interviews Mack before the latter takes his precious daughter out. While that conversation goes as crazily and hilariously as every other episode in this series, it also gave Mack a good impression of Scott. Afterwards, the bad boy decided that Scott would become his “daddy” in a platonic form of the term.
The web series is non-stop hilarity at every turn and is only starting what will hopefully be a long run of episodes. If you want to get in at the ground floor, check out the web series on YouTube.
Addicted the Web Series
Now, I’ll be honest with you all. This one is personal. Very. Deeply. Personal.
Addicted the Web Series follows the love between Chinese high schoolers Gu Hai and Luo Yin.
Gu Hai’s family is rich and well-off, but questions over his mother’s mysterious death have left a rift between Gu Hai and his father. As an act of rebellion, Gu Hai transfers to a school in a poor neighborhood. It’s there that he meets the smart but terse Luo Yin.
The two start off as rivals, bullying and teasing each other, but soon grow closer in time. Will outside forces split the boys apart?
This web series is a mainstay in my heart, to the point that I watch it as a yearly tradition. That’s in part because I truly love it that much, and also because the Chinese government has blocked a second season from ever happening.
Yes, two years ago China started its witch hunt against LGBTQ entertainment media and Addicted was its first victim. The series was canceled by the China Television Drama Production Industry Association and the China Alliance of Radio, Film, and Television.
In addition, the two leads have been instructed to never be seen together again, after rumors spread of them dating in real life. It got so bad that authorities physically separated the two during a fan meeting.
China’s strict pushdown of this series is a result of its beautiful production value, talented leads, and large popularity.
Thankfully, story creator Chai Jidan purposefully spread the series online, and it can now be found on Youtube easily with English subtitles.
This web series is a classic gay show and one that focuses on gay black men.
Drama Queenz follows three roommates, Jeremiah Jones, Davis Roberts, and Preston Milles III.
Jeremiah is an actor born-and-raised in Queens, New York, and his roommate Davis dreams of working on Broadway. Then, the boys are joined by food-expert Preston who is just as unlucky in his career as the other two.
The series follows these three roommates as they tackle the pursuit of happiness, career success, and love in the big city.
This web series was created by Novo Novus Productions, of racially charged horror film The Breeding infamy. With this web series as a great example, the production company is focusing on creating diverse stories about LGBTQ people of color.
To get an example of their work, check out Drama Queenz on YouTube.
Before I Got Famous
We are now living in a post-Crazy Rich Asians age where (hopefully) Asian talent can be recognized and celebrated.
Coming out just a few months before that Asian-themed renaissance was Before I Got Famous.
Before I Got Famous follows 21-year old Chinese immigrant Xingcheng You or Alex. It was Alex’s dream to one day become a Hollywood star, but his experiences in tinseltown make him realize how hard it is to make it. He also finds out how much harder it is for a gay Asian man.
This series uses a witty flair to tackle and deliver the struggles of dating and acting while Asian.
First coming out as an OutFest celebrated film, this web series adaption was picked up by LGBTQ streaming service Revry. And that’s where you can watch the series for free.
Life is hard and there are many messy aspects to being an adult in our current crazy world. But thankfully, we have friends who help us get by. This Kickstarter-funded web series is all about those facts.
#Adulting follows best friends Max and Faye, two twenty-something’s just trying to figure out what to do with their lives. They struggle with their relationships, careers, and even with getting home safely without getting mugged.
This dramedy web series may seem like a mix between Will & Grace and Seinfield, because of the intimate relationship between a gay man and a straight woman.
In addition, you may recognize the show’s male lead Ben Baur from other gay themed projects like popular web series Hunting Season (which is about the gay sex scene in NYC, so it didn’t make this list).
If you want to check out this self-produced joy, then head over to Revry.
Next on our list is a web series that gets recognition for its interesting premise and possibilities.
Brujos, which translates to male witches or sorcerers, follows a coven of witches as they defend themselves against a secret society out to kill them.
Or as the official premise explains:
“Brujos is a Queer-of-Color, radically politicized web series following four Gay Latino doctoral candidates— that are also witches. They navigate magic, sexuality, and surviving a witch-hunt led by a secret society of white hetereonormative male descendants of the first new world colonizers.”
Combining fantasy and witchcraft with political and racial commentary is enlightened. And that spirit of layered commentary continues throughout the series.
Be warned, the show does have a very rough start, writing wise, but the fantasy and the characters hold the fort until the writing catches up.
If you’re looking for a unique story embedded with fantasy, political commentary, diverse cast members, and huge ambitions, Brujos is the one for you.
My Best Gay Friends
This is another diamond in the rough that’s a bit obscure, but full of heart.
My Best Gay Friends (Or the Bitchy Trio) is the passion project of Khoa Loi Nhoi. When it debuted in 2012, the then college student wanted to create a story that reflected his world and friends accurately and not the caricatures portrayed in Vietnamese films up to that point.
“It’s not right. I’m gay and I see my life as very normal. That’s why I want to bring true images of homosexuals to everyone to change their perspective on us,” he said to Vietnamese news source Tuổi Trẻ.
The story follows Khoa Loi Nhoi’s character as he tries to move out from his mom’s house and branch into the adult world. While he almost immediately finds an apartment to rent, he ends up with the money hustling Rje and the mysteriously quiet Nhật. The three then become close and delightfully catty friends.
Despite being produced on a shoestring budget, the series became an instant hit, and was the first gay sitcom in Vietnam. It has remained an internet classic ever since.
If you’re looking for something funny, foreign, feisty, and friendly, you’ll love this series. Check it out on YouTube.
My Gay Roommate
Speaking of YouTube classics, this is one of the oldest in the books.
My Gay Roommate is another YouTube series that was self-produced by a college student in 2012. This time, it’s an American series about a gay man and his many roommates.
The first season sees goofy and sexually-free Nick moving into his freshman dorm with goofy and shy James. The two start off on rocky waters, as they come from different worlds, but soon become the best of friends.
Afterwards, the series explores different types of roommate relationships, such as Nick’s mother/son relationship during his summer breaks and his first apartment setup.
My Gay Roommate is funny and endearing thanks to its charming lead who is only brightened more by the beautiful relationships with his roommates. If you are interested in a campy story with lots of sweet laughs, check out this series on YouTube.
The Girls Room
While I could stop here, I think it’s important to point out some non-gay male web series that are just as fun and dynamic (and again, don’t focus on the gay hookup scene).
First on this list is Emmy-nominated web series, Her Story, which focuses on the stories of trans and queer women.
Journalist Allie decides she wants to write about trans women. She eventually finds her way to Violet and interviews her. As Allie gets to know Violet more, she starts to realize she may be falling in love.
The series also follows Violet’s best friend Page, a lawyer focusing on trans rights. While her work life couldn’t be any better, Page, transgender herself, struggles with trusting men after her last relationships went south.
The cinematography is beautiful, the story is simple but entertaining, and the fact that this series was Emmy-nominated should be enticement enough for you to check it out.
As for the importance of the story, I’ll just share a quote from its creators when they talked to Mashable.
In Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, there’s a scene in which the titular character (played by Jim Carrey) realizes he’s kissed a trans woman. His reaction, which was meant to be comedic, was to throw up, use an entire tube of toothpaste to brush his teeth and burn his clothes and throw them in a trash can.
But what happens to the woman — the subject of Ace Ventura’s disgust — after the film’s punchline?
Want to hear her story? If so, you can check it out on YouTube.
The Canadian web series Carmilla, praised by blogs and indie publications for its near all-female cast and LGBTQ representation, has taken the internet by storm.
Based off of a Gothic novella from the 19th century, Carmilla follows the relationship between a quirky vlogger and her vampire girlfriend.
The web series focuses on journalism major Laura as she begins her college career. But almost immediately, her roommate Betty goes missing and is replaced by a sultry being named Carmilla.
Laura and her newfound friends then start investigating the mysterious disappearances of girls at their school. Also, Laura questions who this dark and attractive figure is that has become her new roommate.
The series has earned more than 70 million views overall and has branched off into other mediums such as movie and an upcoming stage play.
If you want to see what all the hype is about, you can check out the web series on YouTube.
The last series on our list is millennial magic.
Brown Girls is another Emmy-nominated web series that follows the lives of two young women of color living in Chicago.
Leila is a South Asian-American writer just coming into her queerness. But with that comes indecision and a fear of commitment with her long-time fling.
Meanwhile, Leila’s best-friend and roommate Patricia is a Black-American musician struggling to balance her art and her wallet. As she realizes that she’s stalled in her artistic career, she decides it’s time to take a second look at where her life is going.
Brown Girls is personable and so deeply relatable to any audience, but especially to the younger generation and people of color. This beautifully produced web series was so well-crafted that HBO bought the rights to a tv adaption, and I can’t wait for it!
If you want to check out the web series that started it all, head over to the Brown Girls website.
Celebrate Diverse LGBTQ Stories
This world is very broad and beautiful, and there are so many different stories out there to share and absorb. Many of these stories do not focus on the gay club/hookup scene, and these stories deserve just as much attention as the Queer as Folks and Jadeds.
I beseech you to check out at least one of these wonderful stories and celebrate the diversity of LGBTQ life.
You won’t regret it.