As we celebrate Pride Month, it’s time to revisit exactly why this month exists and to appreciate the importance of the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights—yesterday, today and tomorrow. You don’t have to pour through pages and pages of political theory to understand why this month is important, but movies, TV series and documentaries have that fantastic way of really getting us in the feels and giving us a deeper understanding of life from different perspectives.
You don’t have to be LGBTQ to watch. In fact, it can be refreshing to see straight and cisgender people really engage with queer cinema, and it can give the viewer buckets of perspective to help us all in our efforts to build an inclusive society.
Heartstopper. It’s the Netflix teen series that’s taken the streaming world by storm with its heart-warming vibe and positive LGBTQ+ representation. When it first aired in 2022, the series managed to top charts on Twitter, as well as earn a fabulous 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. And to be fair, it deserves every bit of praise it gets as it truly is a feel-good watch.
Based on the million-copy bestselling graphic novels by Alice Oseman, Heartstopper centres on a group of teens navigating life in high school: everything from friendship and sexuality to first love.
Season 2 is set to be released on August 3, 2023, so Pride Month could be the perfect time to watch season 1 (for the first time or as a rewatch).
This powerful Netflix documentary takes a deep-dive into Hollywood’s portrayal of transgender individuals and the profound influence of these narratives on both transgender lives and American culture.
Disclosure exposes the harmful and inaccurate representations of transgender individuals prevalent in American film history, drawing examples from works such as Ace Ventura, Bosom Buddies, Tootsie, Victor Victoria, To Kill A Mockingbird, and more.
3. Dating Amber
Also scoring a near-perfect score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, this coming-of-age drama is set in Ireland in the mid-90s, where two high school students, Eddie and Amber, pretend to date so that their peers will stop questioning their sexuality. If you’re looking for something equally as heart-warming and funny, just without the romance factor, then Dating Amber is a must-watch and can be streamed on Netflix.
4. Young Royals
If you’re looking for something that tackles teen angst, sexuality and the pressures of royal life, then I recommend checking out Young Royals on Netflix.
The Swedish series follows Prince Wilhelm as he adjusts to life at a prestigious boarding school. There, he starts falling for a boy, but how does he navigate his way through that when he’s 1. not out and 2. a royal?
Bros stands as one of the first gay romantic comedies from a major studio that features an openly LGBT principal cast.
The hilarious 2022 film centres around two gay men living in Manhattan, portrayed by Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane. The characters navigate a complex dynamic of avoiding commitment while finding themselves increasingly drawn to each other.
6. Happiest Season
It doesn’t need to be December to watch a Christmas rom-com. And if you’re after a feel-good lesbian romance, look no further than Happiest Season, starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis.
The film follows a woman (Davis) who struggles to admit to her conservative parents that she is a lesbian while she and her girlfriend (Stewart) visit them during Christmas. Director, Clea DuVall has said the film is a semi-autobiographical take on her own experiences with her family.
7. The Half of It
Ellie Chu is a shy Chinese-American high school student who’s known for her straight-A’s. Although, when she agrees to help the school jock write love letters for a girl he likes, things become a little awkward, because Ellie likes the same girl.
This coming-of-age comedy drama film explores the nature of love, friendship, as well as sexuality. You can watch it on Netflix now.
If you’re after something a little more raw, with themes more on par with Sex Education, then you’ll want to give HBO’s Genera+ion a try, which is available to stream on BINGE.
The series follows a group of high school students as they explore modern sexuality, love, and the nature of family.
9. Alex Strangelove
This 2018 rom-com takes you on the ride of a high school senior who plans to lose his virginity to his girlfriend, but things become complicated (of course) when he meets a charming gay guy and is sent on a journey of sexual discovery.
You can watch it on Netflix now.