Have you ever wished to see a little more representation of your community when it comes to popular culture? In the hopes of promoting more diversity and inclusivity when it comes to the big screen, we’ve compiled a list of some top LGBT movies. There are actually tons of flicks about queer culture out there ranging from the serious historical film to the trashy rom-com. Whether it’s a feel-good comedy, intense romance, or an intriguing documentary, there should be something in here that catches your eye.
Documentary / Historical
|Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy
Alec Mapa, America’s Gaysian Sweetheart, shares comedic and heartfelt stories about how life has changed since he and his partner adopted through the foster care system. Alec doesn’t fear over sharing in this award-winning show talking about his sex life, midlife crisis, musical theatre, bodily functions, stage moms vs. baseball dads, and the joys, challenges, and unexpected surprises of being a gay father.
In an Oklahoma town filled with churches and religion, OpenArms is a small shelter for LGBT teenagers. This is a movie about discrimination, about youth, and the honest truth about what it’s like being LGBT in some places. This doc follows three teens there who find love and friendship in a world that has decided they are outcasts.
Former U.S. navy SEAL Christopher Beck enters a new mission in her life as Kristin Beck. Follow Kristin as she transitions and finds a whole new meaning to life as she lives truthfully as a transgender woman. After a lifetime of service, Kristin learns that her fight for life, liberty and happiness didn’t end on the battlefield. Filmed when she first came out, this documentary includes exclusive interviews with her family and friends and explores the reactions to her revelations. It also includes footage of her training and in combat while in the service. Includes bonus interview footage about her life post-documentary.
|Call Me Malcolm
Malcolm states he always thought of himself as ‘one of the brothers,’ although many others perceived him as a girl. This caused him to feel invisible and led him through years of self-doubt and confusion as he wondered why the way he viewed himself didn’t match the thoughts of the people around him. Malcolm also grew up in a religious community that seemed to indicate that God hated him. Soon, Malcolm was estranged from his family, friends, church and even himself. Malcolm, as Miriam, ended up in a seminary, enrolled to see if he could find what caused the disconnect between his heart and what he was taught. It was around that time where he learned the word ‘Transgender’ and then investigated the steps to transition. The film begins with Malcolm’s final year in seminary and shares stories of being unemployed and uncertain about his future as a minister. He then travels the country looking for people who have different views on identity, faith and love.
|Billy & Alan: In life, love & death, equality matters.
Billy manes, an Orlando Weekly writer, shares his first hand experience of losing his partner. Billy discusses the struggles of almost losing everything he owned to his anti-gay in-laws because the State of Florida did not recognize or protect same-sex relationships.
|Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt
Common Theads shares powerful stories from the height of the AIDS crisis when people were dying by thousands every year. The film includes photo-montages, interviews with friends and family, home movies, and news footage. The documentary, made in 1989, captures the grief of victims who survived AIDS and families of those who didn’t.
|The Power of Harmony
Through the lens of a gay men’s chorus, this film takes a look at controversial issues of their time such as: coming out, same-sex marriage, religion vs. homosexuality and gay adoption.
This film features an overview of the history on women’s music. It’s been called ‘one of the most uplifting and entertaining lesbian documentaries ever made.’ It features some of the biggest womyn music legends and is considered a classic. The film includes festivals and performance footage, interviews and archival material. Pioneers like: Meg Christian, Holly Near, and Mary Watkins, as well as contemporary artists Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco, Bitch and Animal, and Melissa Ferrick think back on the difficulties and triumphs of finding womyn professionals in a male-dominated industry.
|Ballot Measure 9
Ballot Measure 9 portrays the anti-gay campaign initiative and the violence it provoked. This was a time where activists risked their lives and were in need of full-time police protection. The film takes a look at both sides and depicts the strategies and passions that drove both sides. Although this is a documentary film it is said to have ‘the tension and suspense of a fiction film’ as it bares a far-ranging exposé of the hate politics of race, religion and sexual identity.
|Johnny & Lyman: A Life Together
This award-winning documentary examines the relationship of two men who met on the day World War II ended, and have never parted since. Their historical perspectives span pre-Stonewall to present, providing intriguing insights into what has changed for LGBT people, as well as challenging and breaking stereotypes about gay relationships. This historical film is their legacy to help dispel stereotypes and to change hearts and minds, moving our nation forward towards equality for all its members.
|Freeing Bernie Baran
This indie documentary tells the story of an injustice so severe it took over two decades to correct in order to free an innocent man. Witch-hunt accusations of sexual abuse at a Massachusetts preschool led to one young, gay teacher being wrongly locked away for twenty years. If you think the American justice system is incorruptible, this film will shake your beliefs to their core.
|Driving Equality Across America
Driving Equality Across America is the product of a four month, 22,000-mile journey across the country, through small towns and big cities, all the while meeting, interviewing, and sharing the stories of citizens of different walks of life, including LGBT members, their allies, and their opponents. Through touching interviews, some heartbreaking, others inspiring, this film shows the filmmaker’s trek into the heart of LGBT America, highlighting different experiences across the country.
|Wallowitch & Ross: This Moment
A tender tribute to a real-life musical love affair between a Julliard-trained pianist and composer and a lead dancer/choreographer. An honest and touching portrait of partnership that spanned years both on and off the stage. John Wallowitch teams with Bertram Ross, and together you get a singing duo who made their debut as a cabaret team in 1984, at the Ballroom in New York City. Watch John and Bertram’s musical tale of love.
|Since You’ve Been Gone
Stacey Foiles wrote letters to her beloved wife Lynda Hart everyday….after Lynda died of breast cancer in December of 2000. In July of 2001 she began this documentary as an extension of that dialogue. A glimpse into the mind of a grieving widow, including powerful emotion told in words, pictures, and filmography, you will be witness to what it is to love someone.
|Rise Above: The Tribe 8 Documentary
An exciting profile of the legendary dyke punk rock band, TRIBE 8. This gender-bending band has a tough exterior, but also beauty and perseverance that is seen in the intense personal stories of addiction and loss that RISE ABOVE captures. This entertaining flick chronicles hilarious live performances, impressive filmed ones, candid moments of their lives both on the stage and on the road, and the controversy at The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, an all women’s music festival, that landed them amid a fiercely divided crowd, shouting both praise and protest. It also shows the honestly funny and kind people behind all of the music, and the politics.
Single Tracks tells the real-life of queer Utahns and their straight spouses. Certainly a tale of acceptance of oneself and of one’s family, it includes documentary interviews of queer Utahns, An and Elena. Watch their journey turn messiness and tragic comedy into an honest, hopeful love story.
A group of theatre students put on a play to highlight the issues LGBT youth have to deal with, and in the process they come to terms with their own prejudices and challenges with self-acceptance.
|The Man You Had in Mind
The American dream of meeting someone, falling in love, and starting a life together seems so straightforward when you plan it out. This doc follows the lives and journeys of five gay couples at different stages of their relationships, from one year in to 51 years strong.
|I’m a Porn Star
We think of porn stars as existing on the internet, but for such a booming business, chances are you might know one or two in real life.
|Bad Ass Gays
These are the men who follow their passions despite how their communities push stereotypes on them. Gay men in typically ‘masculine’ professions like boxing and NASCAR racing have their stories and struggles told in this documentary.
|Gays in Prison
Featuring Latrice Royale, former contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, this documentary explores the experiences of current and former LGBTQ inmates, and the particular obstacles and discrimination of the penal system they are made to face.
|Born This Way
A snapshot of two young lgbt people living in Cameroon, bouncing between the homophobic culture of their African surroundings and the secretive community that accepts them for who they are.
|Gaming In Color
This documentary explores the state of diversity and representation of the LGBTQ community in video games, and the value inclusivity has when considering the queer gaming community, or ‘gaymers’.
|College Boys Live
A small group of young men earn money and attention in this documentary when they turn their house into a voyeuristic pro-gay web cam show watched by thousands.
|The Invisible Men
Available with english subtitles, this documentary about three gay Palestinian men tells their stories of persecution, fear, and hiding during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where nowhere seems safe for them.
| The Other Side: A Queer History’s Last Call
This historical documentary describes the goings on of one of the last-standing gay piano bars in Los Angeles, The Other Side. Told with interviews and archival footage through including piano performances and stories from patrons, this doc offers a glimpse into one community’s colourful hangout spot.
|A Sinner in Mecca
This documentary about life in Mecca, at the heart of Islam, gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma sets off on a dangerous journey, as neither filming nor homosexuality are permitted in the city, where the latter is even punishable by death.
|Out in the Silence
A small town in the U.S. becomes lit up in controversy after the paper publishes a wedding announcement between two men, one a local filmmaker. One mother reads it and seeks him out to help her son who is struggling with homophobia at school.
|Jean Genet’s Un Chant d’AmourFrench Novelist Jean Genet brings us this fictional story set in a men’s prison, centered on two inmates and one guard. Visually reminiscent of Jean Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet, Belle et la Bete and Kenneth Anger’s Fireworks. The film is voyeuristic, confrontational, explicit, and poetic. Originally banned in France on its release, and only available in the US in censored form and through underground distribution, UN CHANT D’AMOUR is finally released from obscurity and is delivered in its complete version on DVD.|
Richard and William have been friends for seventeen years when William has a stroke. Richard, who cares deeply for him, fights for the right to watch over him, despite the complications of his own life and the conflicting wishes of William’s family. It is a story of domestic partnership, of messy lives, and of the meaning of devotion. Their love and compassion for each other get them through times of illness, therapy and healing. This movie is a lesson in endurance, and how much it takes both physically and spiritually to overcome something like illness with dignity.
|Three Movies of the Heart: Change of Heart, Her Desperate Choice, The Truth About Jane (3 Disc Set)Three emotional and dramatic Movies of the Heart:
Change of Heart – Beneath Jim Marshall’s (John Terry) appearance as the all-American father and husband lies a long hidden desire that is about to ruin his family. When Elaine Marshall (Jean Smart) shockingly catches him with his lover, a young man, what follows is difficult but necessary soul-searching for Jim, Elaine, and their family.
Her Desperate Choice – Despite allegations of sexual abuse against her ex-husband, Jody (Faith Ford) has lost a custody battle for Samantha (Hanna Hall) and faces a choice of turning her daughter over to him, or taking flight and risking kidnapping charges. Pursued by both the FBI and a private detective, Jody and Samantha become hunted animals, fleeing from town to town with the help of an Underground Railroad set up to help women and children escape from abuse.
The Truth About Jane – Jane’s mom (Stockard Channing) assumes her daughter is just like every other teenage girl she knows – a little confused about growing up. Jane (Ellen Muth) thinks her mom is just like every other mom out there – a little too protective, but loving. They figure they have a good relationship, until Jane becomes enamoured with the new girl at school. Jane knows she is gay but her mom is unable to accept this. Their mother-daughter relationship is put in danger until they can find a way to remember how much they truly love and care for each other.
|Lexie CannesWinner of several film festival awards, this movie focuses on Lexie Cannes, a deaf transgender woman who confronts a stalker, solves a mystery, saves a lost soul and finds love on top of it all. Filmed in the trans-friendly city of Portland, OR, this intriguing film presents a wide array of feelings, views, and dialogue.|
|Love Me AnywayThis drama is all about forbidden romance, with an extramarital affair and both straight and gay connections.|
Charlie, a young gay painter, is torn between a relationship between his troubled socialite best friend and an older man from out of the country in this romantic flick.
|True LoveA collection of seven short films about gay youth growing up in America. With fantastic writing and several uncomfortable but powerful moments, these stories will resonate with you, gay or straight.|
A young gay boy, Goyo, is growing up in the Coachella Valley with a Mexican family and intolerant, homophobic father, raised in a different culture. He fears he will never gain acceptance from them, and to make things more complicated, he and his sister Rosa have started falling for the same guy.
This drama tells the story of Brandon, a man who has a sexual awakening one summer which does not go over well with his religious minister father, who takes desperate, drastic measures to try to ‘save’ his son from homosexuality.
|What it Was
Adina Spencer, a hollywood actress, returns to New York and is confronted with emotions from her past as she deals with her identity, love, and an old relationship.
Two young women find themselves stuck between their own desires and needs as outspoken and passionate individuals and the repressive orthodox culture they live in, in which men hold all the power.
|Raven’s TouchA woman named Raven shuts herself up from society in a secluded cabin after blaming herself for a terrible accident. When another woman, Kate, crosses paths with her the two offer each other both understanding and intimacy.|
|Next DoorThis is a German short film about a number of young lesbians sharing a flat, with each keeping a secret from the others, but eventually the truths start to come out. English subtitles.|
|Saturday Night at the BathsA musician named Michael lands a job as a piano player at the Continental Baths in New York and begins to learn more about himself amidst the gay scene of the 1970s.|
A queer man named Simon finds himself the unlikely paramour of Evan, who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, and sado-masochism and depression become an intrinsic part of their relationship.
|Everybody Is Having Sex… But RyanThis short comedic film about a young dancer going through a dry spell and how he tries to end it is both sexy and silly.|
A rom-com about a diverse group of New Yorkers in Greenwich Village East all in the pursuit of love. Centered on the smart but lazy Dex and the fiery up-and-coming rock star Max, this movie also features an original soundtrack and live sets by the girl group MaxiTit.
Young Angelo Barberini moved to Canada with his Italian-born parents Gino and Maria, and struggles with how to tell them his biggest secret: he’s gay. This family romp is packed with laughs but also has heartwarming moments that anyone who has felt like an outcast can appreciate.
This fun, light movie follows Markus, fresh off a breakup with his cheating boyfriend, as he tries to sort out his love-life while working as a waiter at a popular restaurant in Chelsea. The advice he receives from friends and coworkers result in an entertaining and slutty summer.
|The 10 Year Plan
Two best friends, Myles and Brody, make a pact that if they haven’t found true love in 10 years’ time, they will marry each other. Almost a decade later, Myles is still looking for Mr. Right while Brody is happy to keep playing the field, and both men take action to avoid seeing their agreement through.
|If Dad Only Knew
Bobby, the youngest brother of an Irish-Catholic family, struggles to come out to his siblings, mostly because they won’t believe him! This comedic film features Nathan Fillion and reminds us not to put so much stress on family expectations.
|Vampires: Brighter in Darkness
Young Englishman Toby Brighter is on the rebound after a breakup, and has a blind date with a handsome, mysterious stranger. Things take a turn when his paramour is revealed to be a 1500 year-old vampire and Toby discovers a dark world of demons he has never known.
|Whatever Happened to Susan Jane?
Whatever Happened to Susan Jane is considered a gay camp/cult classic featuring music by Tuxedo Moon, Noh Mercy with Esmerelda, Ben Bossi of Romeo Void, The Wasp Women, Indoor Life with Jorge Socarras and others. The film follows Marcie Clark (Ann Block), an unsatisfied suburban housewife as she reconnects with Susan Jane Smith (Francesca Rosa). Marcie and Susan (also known as Sujana) stumble into San Francisco bohemia, filled with drag queens, glitter, crazy artists, and crazy hairdos. The cast features: Lulu, Coco Vega, members of the legendary theatre group the Angels of Light, Rodney Price, Silvana Nova, Tommy Pace San Francisco Chronicle critic Edward Guthmann.
We hope you found some LGBT-themed films from this list that piqued your interest. Let us know what films you’ve enjoyed that have featured strong LGBT topics or characters!