Films & TV Shows to watch this LGBTQ+ History Month

15 Feb 2021

February is LGBTQ+ History Month, which is why we’ve selected some of the best LGBTQ+ films and TV shows, with a focus on historic moments on screen or the depiction of landmark moments for the LGBTQ+ community. 

TV Shows 

It’s A Sin - Channel4

Created by Russell T Davies, It’s A Sin follows the lives of Ritchie, Colin and Roscoe who leave home at 18 to begin new lives in 1981 London, but they find themselves tested by a virus that most of the world ignores. This show is a really emotive insight into the AIDS crisis — make sure you’ve got a box of tissues at the ready! 

Six Feet Under - Amazon Prime, Now TV

Six Feet Under is an American drama television series created and produced by Alan Ball, and was one of the first series to feature a gay couple as part of the main cast. 

Hollywood - Netflix 

Hollywood is an American drama streaming television miniseries starring an ensemble cast including David Corenswet, Darren Criss, Laura Harrier, Joe Mantello, Dylan McDermott, Jake Picking, Jeremy Pope, Holland Taylor, Samara Weaving, Jim Parsons, and Patti LuPone. In post-World War II Hollywood, an ambitious group of aspiring actors and filmmakers will do almost anything to make their showbiz dreams come true.

Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK - BBC iPlayer 

RuPaul's finally made the trip across the pond to find the leading lady with the most charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent in all the land. God save the Queens. 

Gentleman Jack - BBC iPlayer 

Gentleman Jack takes us to 1832 in West Yorkshire, England — the cradle of the evolving Industrial Revolution — where landowner Anne Lister is determined to save her faded ancestral home, Shibden Hall, even if it means bucking society's expectations.

Feel Good - All 4, Amazon Prime

Feel Good is a British comedy-drama television programme created by Mae Martin and Joe Hampson. A semi-autobiographical comedy series from comedian Mae Martin, `Feel Good' is a deeply personal and poignant story about the unique pressures of navigating the modern-day fluid landscape of gender and sexuality. 

Queer As Folk - All 4

Queer as Folk is a 1999 British television series that chronicles the lives of three gay men living in Manchester's gay village around Canal Street.

Cucumber - 4oD

Cucumber, Banana, Tofu are three interlinked shows by award-winning writer Russell T Davies. Channel 4’s Cucumber follows 46 year old Henry, played by Vincent Franklin (The Thick of It, Twenty Twelve) and his long-suffering boyfriend Lance, played by Cyril Nri (The Bill). Life for Henry and Lance is comfortable and settled. But after the most disastrous date night in history — involving a death, a threesome, two police cars and Boney M — Henry's old life shatters, and his new life begins.

Banana - E4

Cucumber, Banana, Tofu are three interlinked shows by award-winning writer Russell T Davies. On E4, Banana is a series of eight witty, heartfelt and unique stand-alone stories covering different aspects of LGBTQ+ life. 

Tofu - All 4

Cucumber, Banana, Tofu are three interlinked shows by award-winning writer Russell T Davies. Made by prolific YouTuber, Benjamin Cook, Tofu is a light-hearted documentary series that explores modern sex in all its varied manifestations.

One Day At A Time - Netflix 

One Day at a Time is an American sitcom based on the 1975 series of the same title. Executive producer Norman Lear's company, Act III Productions, approached Sony Pictures Television with the idea of reimagining the original series with a Hispanic family.

The L Word - Amazon Prime 

https://youtu.be/Yh-sIBhc3-s

The L Word is an American-Canadian co-production television drama that aired on Showtime from 2004 to 2009. The series follows an ensemble cast of friends who live in West Hollywood, California; it featured American television's first ensemble cast depicting lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Pose - iPlayer/Netflix 

https://youtu.be/_t4YuPXdLZw

Pose is an American drama television series about New York City's African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming drag ball culture scene in the 1980s and, in the second season, early 1990s.

Films

Victim - BFI Player 

Victim is a 1961 British neo noir suspense film directed by Basil Dearden that stars Dirk Bogarde and Sylvia Syms. It was the first English-language film to use the word "homosexual", back when homosexuality was still illegal. 

Portrait of a Lady On Fire - Mubi 

Portrait of a Lady On Fire is a 2019 French historical romantic drama film written and directed by Céline Sciamma, starring Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel.

Pride - Amazon Prime 

Pride is the story of London-based gays and lesbians who realize that they share common foes in Margaret Thatcher, the police and the conservative press, and so lend their support to striking coal miners in 1984 Wales.

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson - Netflix 

LGBTQ+ rights activist Victoria Cruz investigates the mysterious death of black gay rights activist and Stonewall veteran, Marsha P. Johnson, who was a central figure in the Stonewall riots.

Worried About The Boy - Amazon Prime

Worried About the Boy is a 2010 British biographical drama television film directed by Julian Jarrold and written by Tony Basgallop, based on the life of English singer Boy George. It stars Douglas Booth as Boy George and Mathew Horne as his lover Jon Moss.

My Beautiful Launderette - Amazon Prime 

My Beautiful Laundrette is a 1985 British comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears from a screenplay by Hanif Kureishi. Set in Thatcher’s Britain, the story focuses on Omar, played by Gordon Warnecke, a young Pakistani man living in London, and his reunion and eventual romance with his old friend, a street punk named Johnny, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. 

Prick Up Your Ears - Amazon Prime 

Prick Up Your Ears is a 1987 British film, directed by Stephen Frears, about the playwright Joe Orton and his lover Kenneth Halliwell. The screenplay was written by Alan Bennett, based on the biography by John Lahr.

Maurice - Amazon Prime 

A tale of homosexual love in early 20th century England, Maurice is a 1987 British romantic drama film directed by James Ivory, based on the novel Maurice by E. M. Forster. The film stars James Wilby as Maurice, Hugh Grant as Clive and Rupert Graves as Alec.

We Were Here - iTunes

We Were Here is a documentary that takes a deep, reflective look at the gay community of San Francisco following the AIDS epidemic, following key individuals as they rose to the occasion during the first years of the crisis.

Velvet Goldmine - All 4, Amazon Prime 

Velvet Goldmine is a 1998 musical drama film written and directed by Todd Haynes from a story by Haynes and James Lyons. It is set in Britain during the glam rock days of the early 1970s; it tells the story of a fictional pop star, Brian Slade.

Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community - Amazon Prime 

Using extensive archival film, movie clips and personal recollections, this Emmy-award winning documentary reconstructs the hidden history of the gay and lesbian community prior to the Stonewall riots.

Dating Amber - Amazon Prime

Set in Ireland during the mid-90s, Eddie and Amber decide to stage a relationship to stop everyone speculating about their sexuality. Eddie is keen to follow his Dad into the military, while Amber dreams of moving to the liberal hub of London.

The Watermelon Woman - BFI Player 

A young black lesbian filmmaker probes into the life of The Watermelon Woman, a 1930s black actress who played 'mammy' archetypes.

Paris Is Burning - Netflix 

This arthouse title takes a deep dive into the vibrant, flamboyant ball culture and drag house system of NYC in the late ’80s. 

The Boys In The Band - Netflix 

The Boys in the Band is a 2020 American drama film directed by Joe Mantello, based on the 1968 play of the same name by Mart Crowley, who also wrote the screenplay alongside Ned Martel. A visitor turns an evening upside down when he interrupts a gathering of gay men in New York City in 1968.

Milk - Amazon Prime 

Academy Award winner Sean Penn stars in this stirring celebration of Harvey Milk, a man whose life changed the course of history, and whose courage changed lives. 

Vito - Amazon Prime 

Vito tells the story of Vito Russo, founding father of the gay liberation movement, who found his voice in the aftermath of the Stonewall riots and was the author of The Celluloid Closet. 

Boy Erased - Netflix 

Boy Erased is a 2018 American biographical drama film based on Garrard Conley's 2016 memoir of the same name. Sent to conversion therapy by his faith based parents, a young man struggles to reconcile his sexual identity with his family’s Christian beliefs. 

Kill Your Darlings - Sky Go 

In the 1940s, a young Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) is accepted to Columbia University to study poetry and literature. There, he meets the charismatic Lucien Carr (Dane DeHann), the eccentric William Burroughs, and the booze-loving Jack Kerouac. Together, they form the basis for what becomes the Beat generation - but not before a killing threatens to shatter the group entirely. A scintillating tale of love, death, and poetry in 1940s New York.

We’ll be bringing you lots more LGBTQ+ Film & TV recommendations later in the year as part of our Pride Campaign. If you’ve got a recommendation you’d like to share, please email: b.kirkbride@sae.edu

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