Celebrate Pride with this LGBTQ Watch List

It wasn’t that long ago that one month would have been enough to watch just about every show or movie with an LGBTQ character in it. Not anymore. With an explosion in representation over the past decade, coupled with the advent of streaming, LGBTQ audiences are spoiled for choice in a way we never were before.

So where to begin? Lucky for you, The Watercooler has curated a list of 10 films and TV shows to add to your Pride Month binge.

With so much amazing content out there, no list can be definitive. Our selection includes documentaries, films, and TV shows representing every letter in the LGBTQ rainbow. Whether a classic from decades past or current hits you won’t want to miss, there’s a perfect title here to help you celebrate Pride from the comfort of your couch.


American Experience: The Stonewall Uprising

There is no better way to start your Pride Month binge than where Pride began: The Stonewall Inn. This landmark documentary, part of PBS’ American Experience series, looks at the origins of LGBTQ Pride on the night of June 28, 1969, when patrons of Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn – tired of police raids and oppression – stood up for their rights as LGBTQ Americans. The next year, the first Pride marches were held to commemorate the uprising. With interviews from eyewitnesses and participants, The Stonewall Uprising finally gives this watershed moment its proper place in American history.

Where to Watch it: Prime Video

The Birdcage

Robin Williams. Nathan Lane. Playing a couple. Enough said. Based on the French play La Cage aux Folles (which was later adapted into a Broadway musical), this hilarious comedy–which in 1996 took home the Screen Actors Guild Award for best performance by a cast in a motion picture–follows the attempts of a gay couple living in Palm Beach to act straight in order to impress their son’s conservative in-laws. With excellent supporting turns from Christine Baranski, Gene Hackman, and Diane Wiest, The Birdcage was one of the first mainstream films to center on a gay couple, and it remains one of the most hilarious farces ever produced.

Where to Watch it: Hulu

The Boys in the Band

A gay man hosts a dinner party for his gay friends and it’s crashed by his (sort of?) straight friend in 1968 Manhattan. What could go wrong? Adapted from the groundbreaking play of the same name by the late Mart Crowley, The Boys in the Band is a remake of the landmark 1970 film, which was among the first films to deal explicitly with the gay experience. With an all-gay cast including superb turns from Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, and Michael Benjamin Washington, The Boys in the Band reminds us how far the LGBTQ community has come in the past half-century. But it’s also a reminder that friendship, though often messy, is a beautiful thing.

Where to Watch it: Netflix

Gentleman Jack

Based on the true story of Anne Lister, a landowner and lesbian in Regency England, Gentleman Jack brings a real slice of LGBTQ history to life. Following Anne’s attempts to manage her estate and business dealings in a patriarchal world, it also features a tender and poignant love story between Anne Lister and Ann Walker, who must battle not only the prejudices of the outside world but their own internalized homophobia to be together. With sweeping vistas of the Yorkshire landscape and gorgeous performances from leads Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle, Gentleman Jack is one of the best television shows of the past decade. The first season is available to stream now with a second in the works, so you’ll have more to look forward to from this phenomenal cast and crew.

Where to Watch it: HBO Max

Glee

Admittedly, including Glee feels like a bit of a cop-out, as by now it’s hard to imagine someone who hasn’t seen at least one episode. But it is hard to imagine a gayer show than this. Whether you are rooting for Kurt and Blaine (Klaine, to fans) or Brittany and Santana, Glee broke new ground for LGBTQ representation on network TV. Between devoting entire episodes to Lady Gaga and Madonna, assembling the world’s largest transgender choir, or featuring what I believe is TV’s first double same-sex wedding, Glee never shied away from its LGBTQ audience or characters. The loss last year of Naya Rivera, who played Santana Lopez, makes rewatching this a bittersweet experience. Even still, the magic is still there, and it is guaranteed to bring you so much, well, glee.

Where to Watch it: Netflix

The Lady and the Dale

I went into The Lady and the Dale thinking it was a story about a woman who tried to sell a three-wheeled car but couldn’t. What I got instead was one of the most bizarre yet thrilling capers I have ever seen – and it’s all true! The documentary series tells the true story of Elizabeth Carmichael, a transgender woman with an eccentric life and some admittedly shady business dealings. It’s a fascinating look not only at the auto industry of the 1960s and 1970s, but at one of the earliest transgender Americans to come to national attention. While it’s hard to sympathize with Carmichael as a businesswoman (she was something of a con artist), the transphobia and misogyny she experienced is heartbreaking. With ups and downs and twists and turns you’ll never see coming, you’ll want to buckle up. This is a bumpy ride.

Where to Watch it: HBO Max

Love, Victor

A charming adaptation of the 2018 blockbuster rom-com Love, Simon, this series follows Victor Salazar (Michael Cimino) as he navigates high school – and coming out of the closet. A sweet story about the struggles of being a gay teenager, this is a show I wish I had when I was Victor’s age. Cimino brings a warmth and relatability to the character of Victor that grounds the show, while Bebe Wood shines as quirky Lake, one of Victor’s friends. Following the season one cliffhanger, which I won’t spoil in case you haven’t seen, fans – including myself – have been eagerly looking forward to the second season of this charming teen dramedy. Lucky for us, it just dropped!

Where to Watch it: Hulu

Paris is Burning

It’s hard to imagine a more important LGBTQ film than Paris is Burning. A documentary about New York’s legendary ballroom scene in the late 1980s, it tells the story of some of the most underrepresented and marginalized people in American society at a time when LGBTQ identities were being stigmatized by homophobia, transphobia, and ignorance around the AIDS epidemic. What filmmaker Jennie Livingston managed to do was present the performers, including transgender women, drag queens, and gay men, as fully human. Flawed but fabulous, the folks Livingston profiles are voices from our LGBTQ past whose stories are as vital now as ever before. In 2016, Paris is Burning was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress as a “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” film.

Where to Watch it: Criterion Channel

Pose

A perfect companion to Paris is Burning, Pose tells the story of the fictional “House of Evangelista,” a group of people who compete in New York’s ballroom scene. Featuring multiple openly transgender actresses of color playing transgender characters, the show broke new ground for representation on television. It is also incredibly riveting, led by Emmy-worthy Mj Rodriguez as house mother Bianca Rodriguez-Evangelista and featuring Emmy-winning Billy Porter as the MC Pray Tell. Taking place during the late 1980s and early-to mid-1990s, the show deals heavily with issues such as homophobia and transphobia, sex work, drugs, and the AIDS epidemic. At times bleak, it is also incredibly inspiring to see these characters overcome adversity – and to remember that while they’re fictional, they represent the stories of so many of our LGBTQ elders. Pose is a reminder that we stand on the shoulders of giants, and that we owe a debt of gratitude to those who blazed the trail upon which we walk. Season 3 just ended on FX, but Seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream on Netflix.

Where to Watch it: Netflix

Pride

Possibly my favorite film on this list, Pride tells the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, an activist group that supported the miners during the 1984-85 Miners Strike in the UK. Led by Mark Ashton – who is a real historical figure – a group of LGBTQ socialists in London raised money for striking miners in South Wales, and built solidarity with the conservative miners, finding common cause in their fight against classism, capitalism, and homophobia. With a fantastic cast including George MacKay, who would go on to star in the blockbuster film 1917, Fleabag’s “hot priest” Andrew Scott, and screen legends Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy, Pride is a feel-good film that is guaranteed to make you feel proud.

Where to Watch it: Prime Video

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