It’s been over 50 years since the Stonewall Riots, and LGBTQ+ rights have come a long way since then. And the month of June is a time when the community across the world celebrates the freedoms they have today.
While it's great that we're finally able to return to the usual parades, concerts and parties, if you still fancy a more low-key celebration here's some great LGBTQ+ content you can stream this Pride month.
Films to watch during Pride
LGBTQ+ characters have been at the heart of unnumerable iconic and important films throughout history. As public acceptance of the community steadily improves, there are more out actors, writers and directors involved in films than ever before.
Here are a few films to watch during pride that have LGBTQ+ cast, characters, writers or directors.
Set in the sunny yet sometimes toxic world of the Fire Island gay scene, Andrew Ahn's gay buddy comedy maps conventional cheesy romantic comedy tropes that we know and (sometimes) love. A mix of positively romantic and sensibly cynical, Fire Island gives the gay community an aspirational romantic comedy that's well-acted, well-written and well-deserved.
With plenty of openly gay cast members, Fires Island is refreshingly new type of rom com and is streaming on Disney Plus from 17 June 2022.
The Power of the Dog
If you want something a little grittier and darker – ok, a lot grittier and darker – the Power of the Dog explores the lead character's constant pursuit of a masculine ideal in the American West.
The multi-Oscar-nominated film stars Benedict Cumberbatch in one of his best, most uncmofortable roles to date.
The Power of the Dog is available on Netflix.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Portrait of a Lady on Fire follows the story of Marianne, a painter who is commissioned to create a wedding portrait of Héloïse. The reluctant bride has just left the convent and Marianne seeks to capture her likeness by painting her in secret.
Adèle Haenel, like her character, identifies as a lesbian, a part that was written for her by her ex-partner, director Céline Sciamma.
You can stream Portrait of a Lady on Fire as part of your Amazon Prime Video subscription.
The Normal Heart
Ryan Murphy directs this TV movie set in the early 1980s, during the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York. The Normal Heart follows the lives gay activists as they work to raise awareness about the disease. and it stars a number of openly gay actors including Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer and Jonathan Groff.
You can buy or rent The Normal Heart on Amazon Prime Video.
Andrew Scott is probably best known for playing Moriarty on Sherlock and The Hot Preist on Fleabag. In Pride, the openly gay actor plays Gethin, a gay bookshop owner who joins other queer activists to help striking miners in 1984 England.
You can stream Pride for free as part of your Amazon Prime subscription.
LGBTQ+ TV shows to watch during Pride
One of the biggest Netflix shows of the year, Hearstopper is the coming-of-age teen romance that we all wished we could have watched when we were growing up. Less focused on the typical coming-out story that LGBTQ+ dramas typically focus on, the heartwarming teen romance show is somewhat revolutionary, and thankfully has been renewed for two more seasons.
In the bizarre world that sounds English but looks American, Sex Education is an unashamed look at the insecurities and misinformation that many teenagers face when it comes to sex.
Though there are plenty of straight characters to choose from, Eric has quickly become a fan favourite as he hilariously navigates being a gay black teenager in the modern world.
But the queer cast isn't limited to Eric alone, with Chaneil Kular's Anwar, Sami Outalbali's Rahim and Otis' ex Ola, played by Patricia Allison, just some of the LGBTQ+ characters. Each with their own flaws and insecurities that make them even more relatable.
This taboo-busting show is available to binge on Netflix, but probably best not to watch it with your parents.
The L Word
The original series of The L Word ran from 2004 - 2009, following the intertwined lives of a group of lesbian and bisexual women living and loving in Los Angeles. The series tackled all sorts of topics, from dating and relationships to hook-up culture and raising a family. The diverse cast featured women from all walks of life and everyone had their favourites –– I’m still a Bette fan to this day.
The L Word: Generation Q is set 10 years on from the groundbreaking original series. You can rejoin Bette, Shane and Alice as they face trials and tribulations in LA by streaming it on NOW, while the original series is available for purchase on Amazon Prime Video.
Pose is a brilliant US series that centres on the underground world of 1980s ball culture. The series takes place at the height of the AIDS epidemic and follows the exploits of Blanca Evangelista as she starts her own “house” and turns mother to a gifted dancer and a sex worker.
Ryan Murphy’s FX drama shines a light on the ballroom scene of the 80s, which drew a largely gay, largely black crowd and featured predominantly trans performers competing for titles and trophies by “walking”. The vibe will feel familiar to anyone who’s ever watched RuPaul’s Drag Race, and is a refreshingly different kind of queer TV show.
Jam-packed with amazing performances, this sizzling drama is set against the backdrop of 1980s New York, including the racist, sexist and transphobic views that were prevalent at the time.
Season one of Pose is streaming on Netflix as part of its ‘Black Lives Matter’ collection and is also available on BBC iPlayer.
If you're a fan of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, then Crashing is a TV show you won't want to miss, especially when it also stars a young, bleach-blonde Jonathan Bailey. Long before he was a Bridgerton, Bailey played Sam, a hypersexual narcissist who starts a "romance" of sorts with Amit Shah's character, Fred.
Waller-Bridge stars in the show as well as having written and created it. Crashing is now streaming on Netflix.
Betty is based on Crystal Moselle’s 2018 movie, Skate Kitchen, set in the world of the New York skateboard scene. Betty –– the derogatory term for a female skateboarder –– is both diverse and feminist as well as being unashamedly queer.
The cast is made up of non-professional actors and real-life friends who have lived in the male-dominated world of urban skate culture, giving their performances a natural and layered feel.
The series also examines themes, such as anti-blackness, homophobia, misogyny and gendered violence, in a way that makes it feel real and relatable.
Stream all six episodes of Betty on NOW.
Written by and starring Ryan O'Connell, Special is the semi-autobiographical story of a gay man with cerebral palsy. Ryan tries to distance himself from his disability and attempts to find his own identity as a young gay man. O'Connell serves as an executive producer on the comedy series, along with The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons.
Seasons one and two are available to stream on Netflix.
Not only did Feel Good herald the return of Lisa Kudrow to TV, but this Netflix/Channel 4 crossover series was an LGBTQ+ love story that tackled a range of serious subjects.
Mae Martin writes and stars as a Canadian comedian who begins dating a repressed middle-class English woman, George. As Mae struggles with substance abuse issues and with opening up to her family about her relationship, there are some brilliant performances, not the least comes from Kudrow who plays Mae’s mother.
Feel Good is available to stream on Netflix, All 4, and Amazon Prime.
No LGBTQ+ list would be complete without mentioning Queer Eye. Over six seasons, Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Karamo Brown and Bobby Berk have become household names as they help people to make-over their life through a combination of grooming, styling, home remodelling, positive thinking and avocado toast.
Binge the whole show on Netflix.
LGBTQ+ documentaries to watch during Pride month
If you want to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community and the history of Pride, then there are some fantastic documentaries that give great insight into the community’s turbulent past.
Circus of Books
Circus of Books was a legendary adult book store in Los Angeles which was, ironically, owned and operated by a religious straight couple. The documentary of the same name explores the long history of the Circus of Books store and shows its impact on the community throughout the Reagan administration, the AIDS crisis and the rise in digital technology.
Directed by the couple's daughter, rachel Mason, Circus of Books is available to stream on Netflix.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
Oscar-nominated director David France, explores the life of transgender activist and drag performer Marsha P. Johnson, who was instrumental in the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Hailed as the "Rosa Parks of the LGBT movement", the circumstances surrounding her death are still in question, as trans activist Victoria Cruz seeks answers in this docuemntary.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson is available to stream on Netflix.
Hating Peter Tatchell
From executive producer Elton John, 'Hating Peter Tatchell' tells the story of the human rights campaigner whose acts of civil disobedience revolutionised attitudes towards homosexuality and the fight for equality.
Watch Hating Peter Tatchell on Netflix.
The Netflix documentary, Disclosure takes a very different approach. And rather than making audiences feel bad about transgender representation in the past, it educates on the larger issues of problematic representation.
The Celluloid Closet
The Celluloid Closet is an iconic LGBTQ+ documentary from 1995. Narrated by Lily Tomlin, The Celluloid Closet is available to purchase on Amazon Prime Video and dives into the hundred-year history of gay men and women in Hollywood.