Team Peyton or Team Brooke? Team Paxton or Team Ben? For decades, teen TV shows have been plagued by heterosexual love triangles and fans eagerly shouting from the rooftops which ships they support. While it’s all in good fun, it often left many LGBTQ+ fans wondering when it would be their turn to not only have LGBTQ+ couples to root for, but love triangles to choose sides for.
Thankfully, the time has finally come, as the teen TV genre has started to become more diverse than ever. For the first time in decades, LGBTQ+ teens have positive romantic relationships to look up to without having to fear that their beloved ship is going to end or get killed off for shock value. The best part is that the pairings don’t stop at gay or lesbian couples and instead encompass the entire LGBTQ+ community.
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Charlie & Nick – Heartstopper
Adapted from the popular webcomic turned graphic novel, Heartstopper has become one of the biggest and best LGBTQ+ shows of all time. The teen series follows Charlie and Nick, two unlikely friends, whose friendship begins to blur into romantic territory as Nick begins to question his sexuality.
RELATED: 8 Ways Heartstopper Is The Best LGBTQ+ Show Right Now
Viewers flock to Hearstopper not only for its diversity but because of the sweet, authentic nature of Nick and Charlie’s relationship. Charlie allows Nick to come to terms with his sexuality on his own, while Nick constantly reminds Charlie that they won’t have to keep their relationship hidden forever. Their constant communication and support of each other is one of the reasons they’re such an iconic gay teen couple.
Ola & Lily – Sex Education
Before Hearstopper, Sex Education was one of Netflix’s strongest LGBTQ+ teen series on the streaming service. The series put sex at the forefront of its ensemble cast’s minds and made it a point to explore LGBTQ+ couples in the mix, including the progression of Ola and Lily’s relationship.
At the beginning of the series, Lily is focused on losing her virginity to one of the boys whom she attends school with. In the second season, Lily befriends Ola and together the two go from friends to girlfriends. The girls explore their sexuality in a safe and comforting environment since they’re both just figuring things out and there’s no pressure to be perfect.
Victor & Benji – Love, Victor
Born out of the success of the hit romantic-comedy Love, Simon, Love, Victor takes place in the same universe but focuses on an entirely new group of Creekwood students. At the center is Victor, a teen boy who in addition to moving to a new school is trying to figure out his sexuality. Eventually, Victor figures out he’s gay and fully admits his feelings for Benji.
While Victor and Benji are undeniably cute together, they’re not without their problems. The two struggle with communication and jealousy issues, which are very real problems every young person in love faces. It’s their determination to work things out that makes them such a great couple though.
Kat & Adena – The Bold Type
The Bold Type is arguably one of Freeform’s best and most underrated original shows of all time. The drama series centers on three best friends who all work for a popular woman’s magazine. The series follows the friend’s professional and private lives which led to the creation of one of the best couples on the show: Kat and Adena.
Like many LGBTQ+ teen show experiences, Kat doesn’t know she’s not straight until she meets and starts dating Adena. While they have their fair share of problems, especially when Adena pulls away when Kat reveals she’s bisexual, the two manage to make their love work by always putting each other before themselves. They’re truly selfless girlfriends who would rather see each other succeed professionally.
Alex & Charlie – 13 Reasons Why
13 Reasons Why might have been one of Netflix’s most controversial teen shows of all time, but it did give viewers some pretty iconic couples to ship, including the unexpected but beloved relationship between Alex and Charlie. Through their friendship, both boys begin to explore their sexualities which leads to Alex accepting his attraction to Charlie and Charlie coming out as bisexual.
RELATED: 5 Best Relationships In 13 Reasons Why (& 5 That Make No Sense)
What makes Charlie and Alex so great is the fact that they started out as best friends first. After suffering great depths of trauma, Charlie is there to support Alex in any way he needs. Since both boys are figuring things out, their relationship moves slowly which means neither of them is left wondering where they stand with the other.
Willow & Tara – Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most beloved cult-classic drama series of the late 90s and early 2000s. While it centered on Buffy, the young teenager who was in charge of keeping the world safe from vampires, demons, and other supernatural forces, a secondary character stole the show: Willow Rosenberg.
Willow was such a breakout character because it was one of the first times a teen character talked about her sexuality on television. When she started dating Tara in the later seasons, the two solidified themselves as one of the first and best teen LGBTQ+ couples of all time, which is what makes their relationship so great.
Mason and Corey – Teen Wolf
No one expected MTV to dominate the teen genre of television, but then Teen Wolf premiered and proved everyone wrong. Loosley based on a 1985 movie of the same name, the series revolved around Scott McCall, a young werewolf who must defend his town from supernatural creatures and threats.
While Teen Wolf was known for its dramatic nature and shippable couples, the series also began to explore LGBTQ+ representation in later seasons. One of the best couples from the show was Mason and Corey. When Corey is turned into a werewolf, Mason helps him come to terms with his new reality, which also causes the boys to bond on more than just a platonic level.
Kurt & Blaine – Glee
For many teenagers growing up in the 2010s, Glee was the best show on television. Created by Ryan Murphy, the musical dramedy centered on William McKinley High’s glee club as they prepare for various show choir competitions while also dealing with their teenage personal lives.
RELATED: 15 Best Teen Shows With LGBTQ+ Representation
Like most high schoolers, the characters in Glee went through several relationships, but none were as rock-solid as Kurt and Blaine. The two were each other’s first boyfriends and truly stuck together through the challenging time that is high school. It was their support for each other that led them to their happily ever after in later seasons.
Adam & Becky – Degrassi: The Next Generation
Degrassi: The Next Generation was a cornerstone of teen television for decades because of the way it evolved to be representative of the very teens it was trying to attract. Adam transferred to Degrassi in season 10 as a result of transphobic bullying at his former school. Unlike other shows which might portray being transgender as an obstacle, Adam fully embraces his identity and so do most of the students at Degrassi.
In season 12 Adam began dating Becky, a religious student who is worried about her parents’ reaction to her dating Adam. Though Becky makes some mistakes with Adam, like trying to keep their relationship a secret, the two really are a great pair because of how supportive they are of one another.
Wilhelm & Simon – Young Royals
Young Royals is a Swedish-produced teen drama series that airs on Netflix. It centers on teenage Prince Wilhelm of Sweden, who gets sent away to a prestigious boarding school after getting in trouble at home. While there, Wilhelm bonds with Simon, a scholarship student who isn’t afraid to call out the royal family. As the two begin to spend more time together, Wilhelm begins to have romantic feelings toward Simon.
While Young Royals is a drama at its core, there are some feel-good elements to the show, namely thanks to Wilhelm and Simon’s relationship. Simon is a great boyfriend because he introduces Wilhelm to new things and gets him to think about things in a different way. Similarly, Wilhelm helps Simon come out of his shell and stand up for himself.
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About The Author
(319 Articles Published)
Danielle Bruncati was born and raised in Southern California and has been a story-teller for as long as she can remember. She is currently a freelance writer for ScreenRant and is also pursuing a Master’s Degree in Television Writing and Producing from a top 10 film school. When she’s not writing, Danielle can be found binging the latest sitcom or teen tv series with her dog by her side or walking around Disneyland with a Mickey-shaped snack in hand.
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