Celebrate Pride with these movies and TV shows available on popular streaming services. (Good news: a lot of them are available for free.)
June 21, 2021
While film and TV still have a long way to go when it comes to LGBT representation, there are so many more opportunities for LGBT people to see themselves onscreen than there were even a few years ago. Best of all, some of the best LGBT films and shows are available online for free or on popular streaming services that you might already be subscribed to. Here are some of my top picks for films and TV shows with positive LGBT representation, sorted by where you can find them. (Note: This list is accurate as of June 2021, but streaming libraries change frequently.)
Free LGBT Films and Shows
Tubi offers a library of over 20,000 movies and shows for the unbeatable price of zero dollars, as long as you're willing to put up with a few ads.
Must-Watch LGBT Movies Online Recommendations
Carolis a period romance between two women of different social classes in the 1950s. Read the Incluvie review here.
God's Own Countrymovingly portrays a gay relationship challenged by xenophobia, family obligations, and self-destructive tendencies. (Also available on Hulu.)
Tangerine offers positive representation for trans women and sex workers. Director Sean Baker also challenged film traditions by shooting the entire film on iPhones.
Classic Gay Films and TV Shows Recommendations
Queer as Folk is controversial within the gay community, but it's still a historical marker for gay representation on mainstream TV. (Also available on Prime Video.)
Rent, based on the acclaimed musical, is one of the most commercially successful films confronting the AIDS epidemic. (Also available on Prime Video.)
Some Like It Hotflouted the Hays code by dressing its male stars in drag and alluding (albeit comedically) to homosexuality. (Also available on Prime Video.)
Chutney Popcorntackles intercultural relationships and familial acceptance with humor and heart.
G.B.F. deconstructs the "gay best friend" trope through the medium of a teen comedy. Read the Incluvie review here.
I Love You Phillip Morris stars Jim Carrey in one of his best roles as a gay con man trying to free his partner from prison. (Also available on Hulu.)
Boysis a sweet Dutch romance that won many awards on the indie circuit. (Also available on Prime Video.)
Heartstoneis an Icelandic film about a group of adolescent friends, focusing primarily on the complicated relationship between two boys. (Also available on Prime Video.)
Princess Cydfollows the titular protagonist as she bonds with her estranged aunt and explores her sexuality. (Also available on Prime Video and Hulu.)
Peacock's full library is behind a paywall, but the service also offers a decent amount of free content with ads, including a few LGBT classics.
The Birdcagestars the inimitable Robin Williams as the owner of a drag club who must pretend to be straight around his son's fiancée's conservative family. Read the Incluvie review here. (Also available on Hulu and Paramount+.)
Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee's heartbreaking gay romance, definitively proved that LGBT films can achieve acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
The Matthew Shepard Storyis a fictionalized account of a young gay man's brutal murder and the wave of social change that followed.
Milkrecounts the life, achievements, and assassination of California's first openly gay elected official.
YouTube has a small collection of films that are free with ads and bucketloads of free content by LGBT creators. Find a complete list of LGBT YouTubers here.
I Am Not Your Negrobrings the words of James Baldwin, gay writer, and civil rights activist, to vibrant life and explores the history of racism in America in the process. (Also available on Hulu, Netflix, and Prime Video.)
Web Series Recommendations
Carmillarevamps (pun intended) a classic lesbian vampire novel by setting it in a college dorm.
Contrapoints, created by trans lesbian Natalie Wynn, examines politics and pop culture with wry wit.
UNHhhh is a side-splitting series where drag queens Trixie Mattel and Katya talk about whatever they want because it's their show, not yours.
LGBT Films and Shows on Paid Streaming Services
The OG streaming service still has lots to offer, including great programming by and about LGBT people.
Pariah is a moving coming-of-age story about a Black butch lesbian embracing her identity and striving for acceptance from her family. Read the Incluvie review here.
Pose has more transgender representation than any show in TV history. It’s also hilarious, exciting, and heartrending all at once. Read the Incluvie review here.
The Half of It puts a lesbian spin on Cyrano de Bergerac, but it’s as much about self-love and friendship as it is about romance. Read the Incluvie review here.
Queer Eye’s Fab Five will make you cry the happiest of tears as they help people bring out the best in themselves.
Schitt’s Creek’s David (played with dry charm by gay actor Dan Levy) is proud of his pansexuality and femininity.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power reboots a classic cartoon with gorgeous animation, loveable characters, and plenty of LGBT representation.
Disclosure gives an overview of trans representation in film throughout history and interviews trans people in the film industry about their experiences.
I Am Divine uses archival footage and interviews to tell the story of trailblazing drag queen Divine.
The Boys in the Band adapts Matt Crowley’s groundbreaking play about the lives of gay men in New York City for the screen. Read the Incluvie review here.
Black Lightning’s Anissa broke ground as TV’s first Black lesbian superhero.
The Old Guard has the most positive gay representation I’ve ever seen in an action film. Read the Incluvie review here.
Space Sweepersfeatures one of my favorite fictional robots who also happens to be a trans woman. Read the Incluvie review here.
“IDK What I Just Watched But I Liked It” Recommendations
Duck Butter takes a wacky premise, runs with it, and only partially succeeds. Regardless, I love to see bisexual icon Alia Shawkat in a leading role.
The Girl King is a wild film about the even wilder true story of Queen Christina of Sweden. (Also available on Hulu and Prime video.)
Recommendations With a Caveat
Orange Is the New Black seriously mishandled storylines about police brutality and sexual assault, but few shows have more representation for lesbian, bi, and trans women.
The Prom misses on many fronts, but its young stars bring a lot of heart as two girlfriends trying to be themselves in a homophobic environment. Read the Incluvie reviews here and here.
Master of None’s most recent season focuses on a marriage between two Black women, but I find the show difficult to stomach after the 2018 allegations against Aziz Ansari.
“Gay Villains Have A Complicated History But Sometimes I Like Them Gosh Darn It” Recommendations
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story has Darren Criss playing against type as a gay serial killer who targets other gay men, including the eponymous designer.
I Care a Lot stars Rosamund Pike and Eiza González as evil lesbians who wear suits. I find this incredibly attractive and I’m not going to examine what that means about me psychologically. Read the Incluvie review here.
Ammonitehas great performances by Kate Winslet and Saorise Ronan as seaside sapphics. Read the Incluvie review here.
Jennifer’s Bodywas panned upon release but has since been reevaluated as a campy feminist masterpiece with legitimate bisexual representation. Read the Incluvie review here.
Love, Victor blends teen dramedy with surprisingly thoughtful commentary about intra-community LGBT issues.
Rocketmanstars Taron Egerton as gay icon Elton John in a perfectly decent biopic. (Also available on Paramount+.)
Happiest Season gives the standard holiday movie formula a lesbian twist. Read the Incluvie review here.
Margarita with a Strawis a coming-of-age romcom with great representation for bisexuals, Southeast Asians, and people with disabilities. Read the Incluvie review here. (Also available on Prime Video and Tubi.)
Black Sails is a gritty pirate drama with multiple LGBT leads and storylines that center on the historical experiences of LGBT people.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a hilarious sitcom with two LGBT characters of color in leading roles. Read the Incluvie review here. (Also available on Peacock.)
In the Flesh is the gay zombie drama you didn't know you needed.
Killing Eve is a brilliant thriller with more evil well-dressed lesbians. I still find this incredibly attractive and I'm still not thinking about it.
Shadowhunters gave us a beautiful, realistic, and healthy relationship between endearingly awkward gay warrior Alec and fabulous bisexual warlock Magnus.
Most of Prime Video's LGBT content is available for free on Tubi, but the films below are true standouts.
The Handmaidenis a Korean historical masterpiece centered around the most moving lesbian relationship I've ever seen onscreen.
The Night Watch, based on one of my favorite novels of all time, follows the lives of a group of British LGBT people during and after World War II.
Uncle Frank is a sensitive family drama with a gay lead. Read the Incluvie review here.
The Way He Looks is a touching Brazillian film about a blind teenager and his budding relationship with a new student.
Two franchises with LGBT representation, RuPaul's Drag Race and Star Trek form the backbone of this relatively new streaming service.
RuPaul's Drag Race and its many spinoffs brought drag into the mainstream and launched the careers of many incredible drag queens. (Also available on Hulu and Prime Video.)
Star Trek: Discovery has the most LGBT representation in the franchise's history, including a prominent gay relationship and several trans and non-binary characters.