"An LGBT lead or co-lead character appeared in only 3 films of the 300 studied between 2014 and 2016," according to the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at USC Annenberg. To state the obvious, that's a pretty bleak figure. And while Hollywood clearly has work to do, there are still plenty of incredible LGBTQ+ films in the cinematography cannon, even if most happen to be indies.
Because we believe it's important to celebrate love and sexuality in all shapes and forms—and also simply because we have a strong appreciation for really good films—we rounded up the 10 best LGBTQ+ movies on Netflix to stream next time you find yourself craving a watch-a-thon. From heartwarming romances to gripping dramas, thought-provoking documentaries, horror flicks, and feel-good family films, read on for the best LGBTQ+ movies on Netflix, plus 20 more recommendations to add to the queue.
When a trans sex worker is released from a short prison sentence, she and her best friend come up with a plan to get revenge against her abusive pimp. And while the gripping plot is certainly reason enough to watch it, the bond between the two women makes it even more emotionally affecting.
Coming Up Next on the LGBTQ+ Watchlist: Teenage Cocktail and The Wound
The Kids Are Alright
If you're looking for something to watch that's a little lighter, this family classic is definitely a must-see. It's full of clever little lines and lessons while also being really sweet and relatable. The Kids Are All Right is easily one of our favorite rom-coms.
Coming Up Next on the LGBTQ+ Watchlist: Eat With Me and Beginners
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
It's safe to say that Netflix has been winning the documentary game as of late, and this is no exception. It investigates the mysterious death of black gay rights activist Marsha P. Johnson, but it's also a celebration of Johnson's life. Not only is it thoroughly entertaining, but it also tells one of the most important (and often unknown) stories in American history. So next time you're in the mood to watch a documentary, make sure you consider this one.
Coming Up Next on the LGBTQ+ Watchlist: Do I Sound Gay? and Strong Island
Starring Molly Shannon and Jesse Plemons, Other people is a heartwarming, laugh-out-loud dramedy about a man who moves back home to take care of his dying mother. When he moves home, he finds that his conservative father still won't accept his sexuality, even though he came out over a decade prior.
Coming Up Next on the LGBTQ+ Watchlist: Chasing Amy and Love, Simon
Paris Is Burning
Vogueing is not something Madonna came up with, believe it or not. This style of dance—along with so many other cultural icons and phenomenon—actually started inside the world of cross-dressing balls in New York City, which we learn in this documentary. With a vibrant cast of characters, this documentary visualizes disenfranchised communities and challenges our notions of "real" by validating the identities of those in drag as well as other subcultures that shape us.
Coming Up Next on the LGBTQ+ Watchlist: Milk and Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Blue Is the Warmest Color
We could watch Blue Is the Warmest Color again and again. Following two young girls as they fall in love and explore their budding sexualities, it's as poetic, thought-provoking, and intoxicating as its title implies. It's an artful, engaging, and relatable movie that taps into the coming of age and romance genres.
Coming Up Next on the LGBTQ+ Watchlist: God's Own Country and Moonlight
Directed by Dee Rees—the first woman to ever be nominated for cinematography at the Oscars (for Mudbound)—Pariah is easily one of the most visually striking films of our time. We watch an intelligent, curious, and confident young woman as she navigates her sexuality and what it means for her relationship with the rest of the world. Watch this if you love family dramas and moving coming-of-age tales with seriously strong female leads.
Coming Up Next on the LGBTQ+ Watchlist: Rent and 3 Generations
Growing up in a small conservative town in the American south, a young man, Randy, tries to understand how to be himself and embrace his sexuality in a world that tells him it's wrong all while coping with the disappearance of his sister. Though emotionally charged, it's ultimately triumphant and impactful from start to finish.
Coming Up Next on the LGBTQ+ Watchlist: A Single Man and Brokeback Mountain
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Even if you aren't always drawn to the horror genre, you should definitely consider watching A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. In fact, it offers an incredibly fresh take on the horror genre, presenting the audience with one of the strongest female leads around. There are some frightening elements, but overall, it also sheds light on contemporary power dynamics and gender inequality in an unconventional narrative. It's clever, entertaining, and empowering.
Coming Up Next on the LGBTQ+ Watchlist: Women Who Kill and Lyle
How to Win at Checkers (Every Time)
This critically acclaimed foreign film is at once a historical drama about Thailand as well as a coming-of-age film that shows us the power of fraternal bonds. Visually and thematically remarkable, this is one of those films that will change the way you see and think about the world.
Coming Up Next on the LGBTQ+ Watchlist: Weekend and Call Me By Your Name
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