LGBTQ+ History on the Screen: Impactful Queer Moments and Figures in Movies and TV

LGBTQ+ people have long fought to be seen authentically in the media. And while it took decades for media creators to include overt lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer identities in their stories, these communities have long rallied around entertainment and characters that reflect and support their experiences and histories. Below you'll find movies and TV shows that highlight important moments and people across the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Choose from documentaries about the struggle for equal rights and acceptance, thoughtful biopics about prominent celebrities and activists, shows that made history themselves by including meaningful representation, and more. When you're done, check out our lists featuring LGBTQ+ youth in books and movies and TV.

Ridley Jones Poster Image
TV

Ridley Jones

age 3+

Museum comes alive to teach preschoolers life lessons.

Network: Netflix (2021)
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TV

Andi Mack

age 10+

Heartwarming, diverse coming-of-age story best for tweens.

Network: Disney Channel (2017)
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TV

Equal

age 12+

Extraordinary docuseries has period language and smoking.

Network: HBO Max (2020)
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TV

Pride

age 12+

Worthy docuseries traces 6 decades of LGBTQ+ struggle.

Network: FX (2021)
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MOVIE

Bohemian Rhapsody

age 13+

Exuberant music, electric performance in routine biopic.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2018)
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TV

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

age 13+

Teen vampire series has female role model; sex, violence.

Network: FX (1997)
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MOVIE

The Case Against 8

age 13+

Compelling documentary on legal fight for same-sex marriage.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2014)
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MOVIE

Diana: The Musical

age 13+

Musical tells familiar story; language, sexual innuendo.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
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TV

Ellen

age 13+

Ramble along with this still-funny sitcom.

Network: Oxygen (1994)
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MOVIE

The Imitation Game

age 13+

Strong performances buoy teen-friendly historical drama.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2014)
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MOVIE

The Lavender Scare

age 13+

Powerful docu about LGBTQ persecution by U.S. government.

In Theaters (Release Year: 2019)
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MOVIE

My Name Is Pauli Murray

age 13+

Informative docu on little-known activist promotes courage.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
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MOVIE

To Be Takei

age 13+

In upbeat docu, equality for all is the final frontier.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2014)
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TV

Glee

age 14+

Edgy-but-quirky comedy's music, message will win teens over.

Network: Fox (2009)
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TV

The Out List

age 14+

Poignant LGBTQ docu highlights respect, acceptance.

Network: HBO (2013)
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MOVIE

Philadelphia

age 14+

Moving, Oscared '90s drama fostered AIDS empathy.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1993)
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TV

Queer Eye

age 14+

Fun makeover reboot talks acceptance, being your best self.

Network: Netflix (2018)
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MOVIE

Stonewall Outloud

age 14+

Highly original, affecting docu about iconic LGBTQ uprising.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)
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MOVIE

The Times of Harvey Milk

age 14+

Thought-provoking look at a charismatic politician's life.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1984)
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TV

The Trans List

age 14+

Poignant documentary promotes respect, empathy, advocacy.

Network: HBO (2016)