While the world is becoming more open and accepting, queer characters are still scarce and you may have to read into the subtext to find them. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I have looked for such characters and these are some of the noteworthy ones I have found. (I am not including Yuri and Yaoi in this list)
Sailor Uranus and Neptune (Sailor Moon)
One of the most iconic lesbian couples in anime would have to be Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune.
Utena Tenjou and Anthy Himemiya (Revolutionary Girl Utena)
Another iconic couple is Utena and Anthy. “Revolutionary Girl Utena” is an action / adventure series that goes into character development and self discovery. Many characters are “questioning” and discovery things about themselves along the way.
Tomoyo (Cardcaptor Sakura)
Tomoyo is one of those characters you have to read into the subtext but I think to most watchers, her interest in Sakura is pretty clear.
Shion and Nezumi (No.6)
It is hard to find gay couples that aren’t just fanservice. This is one of the few couples who have a real relationship develop while in the midst of a interesting sci-fi story.
Freed Justine (Fairy Tail)
As with all “Fairy Tail” ships, we don’t know whom will exactly end up with whom in the end but Freed is obviously interested in the Lightning Dragonslayer: Laxus (male).
George (Paradise Kiss)
This charismatic fashion designer straight out says he doesn’t care whether his partner is male or female.
Haruhi Suzumiya (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
Even in the first episode / book she states that she doesn’t care about gender as long as her potential partner is interesting.
Sebastian Michaelis (Black Butler)
While many fangirls claim otherwise, Sebastian is actually pretty clearly asexual. He even at one point says that he is not interested in such “carnal” activities. Yes, in “Book of Circus”, he has sex with a character but in that case it was to simply get the information he needed.
Haruhi Fujioka (Ouran High School Host Club)
Haruhi is not at all affected by the various hosts sexual charms and this baffles them. If you read in the manga, she does fall in love eventually, but that does not discount her being asexual, as asexuals can fall in love romantically. But Haruhi isn’t only asexual, she also appears to be “agender” or “androgynous”. Meaning she doesn’t care what her perceived gender is. She states this very clearly within the series.
Luffy (One Piece)
Some fans would claim that Luffy is just the typical oblivious shonen hero but even the creator of the series says that Luffy is only interested in food and adventure. I think it is pretty clear that he is on the “Ace” team. (Note: “Ace” is a nickname often used by Asexuals and I figured it fit 😛 ).
Grell Sutcliff (Black Butler)
Especially if you read the manga, you can see how Grell is definitely a transwoman. She refers to herself as a woman and uses the pronoun ‘She” as well as saying she has the “heart of a woman”
Isabella (Paradise Kiss)
She is a childhood friend of George’s and it is because of him that she was able to present herself as female. He was supportive of her and even made dresses for her.
Shuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki (Wandering Son)
“Wandering Son” Is a series about two transgender kids. Shuichi was born a boy but wants to be a girl and her friend Yoshino was born a girl and wants to be a boy. This is a thought provoking story that helps you see from the perspective of a transgender person.
Gowther (Seven Deadly Sins)
Gowther is a character who is physically neither male nor female and this is reflected in their clothes and personality. If I go anymore into it I would be giving away spoilers. 😉
Chizuru Sarashina (Wandering Son)
Chizuru is another character from “Wandering Son” She seems to be gender-fluid as she wears the male and female school uniforms depending on how she feels that day.