5 Great LGBTQ Movies and TV Shows for Teens
Pride month is upon us, and with it comes a surprising amount of LGBTQ content. Of RuPaul’s Drag Race to cultural sensations such as Heart stroke and Young Royals to upcoming shows and movies like First murder, Everything is possible, fire island, and my fake boyfriendJune is several projects to celebrate the LGBTQ community.
Teens also have more options than ever, not only recent offerings, but also movies and shows from the early 2000s and even the 90s. Hopefully, these stories will comfort teens who are still struggling with their sexuality, their letting them know they are not alone. Millions of teens around the world are dealing with their sexuality, at their own pace, and these shows and movies do a perfect job of capturing the LGBTQ experience during those turbulent early years.
But I’m a cheerleader
A satirical and deliciously campy film from 1999, But I’m a cheerleader stars a young Natasha Lyonne as Megan, a cheerleader suspected of being a lesbian by her parents due to her vegetarianism and interest in Melissa Etheridge. Sent to a conversion camp called True Directions, Megan discovers the truth about her sexuality while bonding with fellow camper Graham.
But I’m a cheerleader received negative reviews upon release but has achieved cult status since then. Recently, critics have re-evaluated the film, calling it a biting take on conversion therapy and surprisingly subversive LGBTQ content for its time. Megan’s journey will speak to millions of teenagers who, like her, struggle to understand and come to terms with their sexuality, especially in a time when nothing seems certain or absolute.
A spin-off of the 2018 film Love, Simon – one of the best mainstream teen rom-coms with an LGBTQ story at its center – Love, Victor follows Victor Salazar, a half-Puerto Rican, half-Colombian teenager discovering his sexuality. The show addresses several issues expected of a teen show while providing the titular character with enough agency to make mistakes and take risks on their journey of self-discovery.
It’s refreshing to see a Latino character on screen, especially one who is part of the LGBTQ community and not a walking stereotype. Additionally, Victor’s evolving relationship with his parents will ring true for many Latino teenagers from more conservative and even religious families. After airing exclusively on Hulu for its first two seasons, the show became available on Disney+ for its third and final season.
Directed by Dee Rees, 2011 Pariah tells the story of Alike, a 17-year-old girl who comes to terms with her identity as a butch lesbian. Alike lives with her family, including her overbearing mother – who openly opposes her choices – and her more supportive but somewhat detached father.
Pariah is not always easy to watch, but it is a film worth seeing and, above all, living. The film is an insightful and heartfelt look at the struggles a black lesbian faces, especially when she lacks the support of her loved ones. The film succeeds because of the honest empathy it has for its main character, and ends with a powerful and hopeful promise of a better future.
One of the best romantic comedies on Netflix, Alex Strangelove follows Alex Truelove, a teenager who begins dating his longtime friend, Claire. Things get complicated when he meets Elliot, an openly gay teenager who develops an obvious crush on him, sending Alex into a spiral of confusion.
Raised by his sincere humor and the intense chemistry between the three protagonists, Alex Strangelove offers a refreshing take on teenage sexuality. The film takes risks but still embraces the genre’s hallmark sentimentality, approaching its subjects fearlessly yet delicately and crafting an insightful story about friendship, romance, and everything in between.
Romance! Rugby! Olivia Colman! Heart stroke he has got everything. Netflix’s coming-of-age drama follows Charlie and Nick, two teenagers at an English all-boys school who develop a close friendship that soon turns into something else.
Heart stroke explores nearly every corner of the LGBTQ spectrum. Nick and Charlie remain the focus of the series, but the story takes time to showcase other romances, such as Tara and Darcy’s relationship. She, a transgender girl and one of the show’s best characters, receives the same attention, as does her growing feelings for her best friend, Tao. Heart stroke is the sweetest of love songs brought to life, “Lover” by Taylor Swift by Eton College. And yet, the show is so aware of its wholesomeness that it proves irresistible, capturing the audience in an unbearably warm embrace that refuses to let go.