The Best LGBT Films and Shows to Watch Online

Celebrate Pride with these movies and TV shows available on popular streaming services. (Good news: a lot of them are available for free.)

Chrissy Saul
Chrissy Saul
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 ourselves onscreen than there were even a few years ago. Best of all, some of the best LGBT films and shows are available 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

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.

Alexandra and Sin-Dee (two trans women) hold hands over the table at a diner.

Tangerine (2015)

Must-Watch Recommendations

  • Carol is a period romance between two women of different social classes in the 1950s. Read the Incluvie review here.
  • God's Own Country movingly 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.

Tony and Jack (both men in drag) perform as part of a band.

Some Like It Hot (1959)

Classic 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.)
  • Rentbased on the acclaimed musical, is one of the most commercially successful films confronting the AIDS epidemic. (Also available on Prime Video.)
  • Some Like It Hot flouted the Hays code by dressing its male stars in drag and alluding (albeit comedically) to homosexuality. (Also available on Prime Video.)

Michael, flanked by three high school girls, standing in a school hallway. The girls are all smiling, while he looks uncomfortable.

G.B.F. (2013)

Comedy Recommendations

  • Chutney Popcorn tackles 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.)

Cyd stands on a city block in front of a tree. She's a young woman with long brown hair wearing a tuxedo.

Princess Cyd (2017)

Coming-of-Age Recommendations

  • Boys is a sweet Dutch romance that won many awards on the indie circuit. (Also available on Prime Video.)
  • Heartstone is an Icelandic film about a group of adolescent friends, focusing primarily on the complicated relationship between two boys. (Also available on Prime Video.)
  • Princess Cyd follows the titular protagonist as she bonds with her estranged aunt and explores her sexuality. (Also available on Prime Video and Hulu.)

Peacock

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.

Ennis (Heath Ledger) embraces Jack (Jake Gyllenhal) from behind. Both wear cowboy hats and have their eyes closed. A forest is behind them.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Film Recommendations

  • The Birdcage stars 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 MountainAng Lee's heartbreaking gay romance, definitively proved that LGBT films can achieve acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
  • The Matthew Shepard Story is a fictionalized account of a young gay man's brutal murder and the wave of social change that followed.
  • Milk recounts the life, achievements, and assassination of California's first openly gay elected official.

YouTube

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.

Megan and Graham take a break from scrubbing the floor to stare into each other's eyes. Both are wearing pink uniforms and rubber gloves.

But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)

Film Recommendations

  • But I'm a Cheerleader is a campy cult classic that satirizes conversion therapy and gender roles.
  • I Am Not Your Negro brings 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.)

Laura and Carmilla kiss in a Victorian-style room.

Carmilla (2014)

Web Series Recommendations

  • Carmilla revamps (pun intended) a classic lesbian vampire novel by setting it in a college dorm.
  • Contrapointscreated 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

Netflix

The OG streaming service still has lots to offer, including great programming by and about LGBT people.

Adepero Oduye in Pariah. She overlooks a city at sunset.

Pariah (2011)

Must-Watch Recommendations

  • 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.

Queer Eye hero Jess reacts with surprise and delight to her remodeled home. The Fab Five follow her into the room.

Queer Eye (2018)

Feel-Good Recommendations

  • 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.

Divine, a drag queen wearing exaggerated makeup and a blue dress, speaks into a microphone.

I Am Divine (2013)

Educational Recommendations

  • 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.

Anissa holds hand with her girlfriend, Grace

Black Lightning (2018)

Action Recommendations

  • 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 Sweepers features one of my favorite fictional robots who also happens to be a trans woman. Read the Incluvie review here.

Kristina, wearing a furred jacket and a jaunty hat, helps Countess Ebba onto a horse.

The Girl King (2015)

“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.)

Emma and her girlfriend Alyssa triumphantly raise their joined hands at the prom.

The Prom (2020)

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.

Marla and Fran (two young women) walk Jennifer (an older woman) down a hallway. Marla and Fran are smiling, and Jennifer looks suspicious.

I Care a Lot (2020)

“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.

HBO Max

HBO Max has an impressively diverse library, including an excellent selection of LGBT content.

Trans activists Nicole Maines and Janet Mock take a selfie together

The Trans List (2016)

Educational Recommendations

  • And the Band Played On dramatizes Randy Shilts's seminal work about the discovery, spread, and stigmatization of AIDS in America.
  • The Trans List gives 11 transgender people from a wide variety of backgrounds a platform to share their stories.
  • Welcome to Chechnya is a harrowing but vital documentary about LGBT people fleeing persecution in Russia. Read the Incluvie review here.

Jules (Hunter Schafer) and Rue (Zendaya) relax and chat in a park.

Euphoria (2019)

Ensemble Cast Recommendations

  • Euphoria has a large and diverse cast of young people, many (if not most) of whom are LGBT.
  • Genera+ion is an irreverent and boundary-pushing comedy with many LGBT characters.
  • Looking follows a group of gay men living and loving in San Fransisco. 

Drag Queens Shangela, Bob, and Eureka pose on a bridge over a canyon.

We're Here (2020)

Reality TV Recommendations

  • Legendary brings the often overlooked world of ballroom (a form of performance art created primarily by trans women of color) to your screen.
  • We’re Here brings drag superstars Shangela, Eureka, and Bob the Drag Queen to small towns across America.

Cassandra Cain and Harley Quinn eat ceral together on a couch.

Birds of Prey (2020)

Superhero Recommendations

  • Batwoman follows the adventures of DC’s most prominent lesbian hero.
  • Birds of Prey features an all-women superhero team, including several canonically lesbian and bisexual characters.
  • Steven Universe has multiple lesbian, bi, and non-binary characters and was the first children’s show to portray a wedding between two women. And yes, the Crystal Gems totally count as superheroes.

Two men slow-dance in a somewhat dilapidated kitchen.

Happy Together (1997)

Tugs-at-the-Heartstrings Recommendations

  • Angels in America adapts Tony Kushner's moving, complex, and deeply symbolic play about the AIDS crisis into a star-studded miniseries.
  • Happy Together is a bittersweet film from Hong Kong about the joys and tribulations of a romance between two men. Read the Incluvie review here.

Hulu

This service has great LGBT content, especially when it comes to TV shows.

Teenaged Chiron and Kevin lean in, about to kiss.

Moonlight (2016)

Must-Watch Recommendations

  • Moonlight is one of the greatest explorations of how race, class, gender, and sexuality intersect. It's also (as far as I'm concerned) one of the greatest films of all time.
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a luscious period romance with an all-woman cast. Read the Incluvie review here.

Needy (Amanda Seyfried) kisses Jennifer (Megan Fox)

Jennifer's Body (2009)

Should-Watch Recommendations

  • Ammonite has great performances by Kate Winslet and Saorise Ronan as seaside sapphics. Read the Incluvie review here.
  • Jennifer’s Body was 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.
  • Rocketman stars Taron Egerton as gay icon Elton John in a perfectly decent biopic. (Also available on Paramount+.)

Laila smiles at Khanum as she applies lipgloss.

Margarita with a Straw (2014)

Romcom Recommendations

  • Happiest Season gives the standard holiday movie formula a lesbian twist. Read the Incluvie review here.
  • Margarita with a Straw is 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.)

Magnus and Alec lie in bed, shirtless, holding hands over the sheets.

Shadowhunters (2016)

TV Recommendations

  • Black Sails is a gritty pirate drama with multiple LGBT leads and storylines that center the hisotical 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.

Prime Video

Most of Prime Video's LGBT content is available for free on Tubi, but the films below are true standouts.

Sook-hee holds a parasol over Izumi's head.

The Handmaiden (2016)

Film Recommendations 

  • The Handmaiden is a Korean historical masterpiece centered around the most moving lesiban 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.

Paramount+

Two franchises with LGBT representation, RuPaul's Drag Race and Star Trek, form the backbone of this relatively new streaming service.

Samets and Culber embrace in the laboratory of a starship.

Star Trek: Discovery (2017)

TV Recommendations

  • 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.

Disney+

Absolutely nothing (unless you count accidental bi legend Shang and accidental gay icon Luke Skywalker). Step it up, Disney.