Films and TV shows with LGBTQ+ representation are thankfully becoming better and better—in the past decade, we’ve had films where queer people are no longer just the sidekick, propped up to provide comic relief, or are merely there as a token. Of course, stereotypes will still be present in some films today, but there are now more diverse LGBTQ+ experiences and stories in cinema than ever before.
In honor of Pride Month, I’m sharing a list of my personal top LGBTQ+ films and TV shows of the past decade:
1. Sense8 (2015-2018)
A brilliant sci-fi drama series with two seasons, eight random strangers around the world suddenly get connected to each other—all of them experience each others’ visions, thoughts, languages and can even feel the same kind of pain. Together, they must find out why they’re connected like this, and what kind of danger awaits them.
What I love about this show is that all of the characters are very different from each other. They have contrasting cultures, jobs and lives, sexual orientation and gender identities, but they’re all multifaceted and eventually develop profound friendships as well as relationships with each other. Seeing their chemistry together while experiencing different situations simultaneously is something that makes the premise really unique, and it’s hard to forget a show like this.
2. The Perfection (2018)
A horror-thriller film directed by Richard Shepherd, its premise is disturbingly wild—and contains plot twists wilder than those of M Night Shyamalan’s. Two sapphic cellists get to know each other since they come from the same prestigious music school, and things slowly go downhill from there.
This was truly a strange yet enjoyable film to experience, it made me question what genre it was supposed to be when I was watching it.
3. The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
This is one of those rare moments where I prefer the film/TV adaptation over the original source. Based on Shirley Jackson’s novella The Haunting, the series follows a dysfunctional family dealing with worsening supernatural occurrences, including Theo, a lesbian who [spoiler alert] thankfully doesn’t just die off like a lot of queer characters in horror movies.
This series made me a fan of director Mike Flanagan – it’s not your average show or film about a haunted house invaded with jumpscares. The cinematography, actors’ performance, as well as the plot are hard to beat, and it’s no wonder I constantly bring this up as one of my favorite shows of all time.
4. The Handmaiden (2016)
A psychological thriller directed by Park Chan-wook, the film is based on Sarah Water’s novel Fingersmith. Taking place in Korea under Japanese occupation, the film follows Fujiwara, a conman who’s determined to marry heiress Hideko to eventually inherit her fortune.
Unfortunately for him, Sook-Hee—disguising as Hideko’s new maid—is supposed to help Fujiwara but falls in love with Hideko instead. A tale imbued with suspense and romance, you’re in for a sensual, emotional and dark ride.
5. The Fear Street Trilogy (2021)
An adaptation of R. L Stine’s Fear Street books, director Leigh Janiak divided the films into three parts: Fear Street Part One: 1994, Fear Street Part Two: 1978, and Fear Street Part Three: 1666. The films focus on teenagers discovering an ancient diabolical force that has managed to curse their hometown Shadyside and resulted in brutal killings.
Putting Deena and Sam’s relationship at the forefront, the trilogy highlights the queer and coming-of-age experience alongside a classic slasher story. While my favorite of the three is Fear Street Part Three: 1666 (can’t help that I’m often immediately drawn to anything medieval related!), I’d recommend to binge-watch the entire trilogy for an engaging and eerie time.
6. Sex Education (2019-)
This might be one of the most diverse shows I’ve ever seen; it follows a group of high school teenagers and the different issues they encounter-ones related to identity, sexuality and romance. The main character Otis realises that with his mom being a sex therapist, he might be able to give advice to the students given his insider knowledge, which would give him a good side hustle… Right?
The British comedy-drama series is an extremely witty show with complex characters featuring gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, and nonbinary people, and addresses a lot of societal problems that teenagers (and even adults) face.
7. Bojack Horseman (2014-2020)
Yeah, this animated show indeed features a standing horse as the main character—and it does a pretty good job of it. Hollywood Actor Bojack Horseman, learns to navigate life in his has-been era (mainly through alcohol and drugs, at first). A very dark and depressing show, we see what happens when someone spirals due to trauma and the bad choices they made in the past, and how fame can really transform you.
It’s filled with dark humor, which I do appreciate as it simultaneously addresses hefty topics that many may resonate with. The show also doesn’t shy away from featuring lesbian, gay and and ace characters. While I adore the series, it might be extremely draining to binge-watch.
I could go on and on, but this could be a never-ending list, so that’s it for now. What are your favorite LGBTQ+ films and tv shows?
Happy Pride month! 🌈