The Best TV Shows and Films About Being LGBTQIA+

By: Helen Kaidantzis



Although it has taken decades, it seems like movies and tv shows about the LGBTQ+ community are finally carving out their place in mainstream media. Thanks to some incredible writers, directors, and actors, much of the LGBTQ+ content being produced today is finally diverse, realistic, and relatable. These are my favorite shows and films that are doing the LGBTQ+ community justice and giving it much-needed representation!

The Half of It

The Half of It (available on Netflix) is a quiet and calm look into what it is like to be a closeted gay in a small town. The film follows a shy, introverted girl, Ellie, who helps a jock at her high school write letters and messages to his love interest, Aster. However, Aster slowly becomes Ellie’s love interest as well.

What makes it special:

The two lead actresses, who play Ellie and Aster, are both women of color! Ellie lives alone in a small town with her Dad, and the two of them struggle to make ends meet. Many of the films and shows that first tackled LGBTQ+ issues had mostly white casts and followed characters who lived in middle or upper-class homes. However, not everyone who is gay is wealthy and white, something which The Half of It shows beautifully.


Pose

Pose (available on Netflix) takes place in New York City in the 1980s and is all about African-American and Latino LGBTQ+ drag ball culture. It’s about competition, independence, and acceptance. Compared to the peaceful nature of The Half of It, Pose is a fierce and vibrant dance musical.

What makes it special:

Pose features the largest number of trans actors in regular roles of any scripted television series in history! Pose shows the struggle to fit in with gender norms and the social backlash that comes with that. It highlights the fight for self-expression and the violence that those fighting faced. Not to mention, Billy Porter, who plays Pray Tell, became the first openly gay black actor to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.


The L Word: Generation Q

The L Word: Generation Q (available on Amazon Prime) shows what it is like to be LGBTQ+ in the modern age. The show follows the lives of different working women from the same lesbian/bisexual friend group. However, the show also has a younger generation of queer characters who deal with issues the younger LGBTQ+ community faces, such as bisexual erasure and navigating gay relationships as a student.

What makes it special:

The L Word: Generation Q displays the difference between gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression. Even within the first episode, the show starts to normalize untraditional appearances and forms of gender expression. The core characters are women with body hair, women who dress more masculine, men who dress more feminine, and people experimenting with androgyny. Lastly, this show also examines the intersections LGBTQ+ issues have with politics, parenting, and race.


Moonlight

Moonlight (available on Netflix) examines the black male identity and its intersection with sexual orientation. The film is split into three parts as it follows the main character, Chiron, through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Chiron is an only child living in poverty. His mother is a drug addict, so he turns to others for comfort and refuge as he struggles with self-acceptance and the definition of masculinity.

What makes it special:

Moonlight is easily the most emotional film on this list. It doesn’t glorify the process of coming out to the world or coming out to yourself. There are moments of pain that showcase the shame that so many LGBTQ+ people are forced to feel. Moonlight is ultimately about self-realization and reaching fulfillment as an adult. It has a nearly all-black cast and is a beautiful film and statement on masculinity.