LGBT stories have had a long and storied history in film, and it definitely hasn’t always been progressive. In the early years a film, LGBT characters and storylines were mostly not shown at all, due to certain standards and practices of what could be shown on screen, and when they were they were shown, they were often portrayed in villainous or monstrous roles. This continued to happen throughout the 20th century, until about the ‘70s and ‘80s, when LGBT characters began to be acknowledged and break ground.
The ‘80s and ‘90s saw the advent of some of our most famous LGBT directors, including Pedro Almodovar, Todd Haynes, and John Waters. Thanks to these directors, movies with gay characters and gay themes were becoming increasingly more released and accepted by mainstream audiences. High profile LGBT films such as The Birdcage and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert were specifically released during the ‘90s. And even then, there were a lot of missteps with regards to LGBT representation in 90’s film.
Even today, we have a long way to go in terms of having more LGBT representation in film. While we’ve made many strides in the past two decades, as recently as a decade ago there were still critically acclaimed movies that included playful homophobia. There are even movies made within the last five years that have a worrying grasp on LGBT history. It can be hard to tell which LGBT movies are horribly offensive or just bad, and which ones are actually worth watching. It’s becoming a little easier, though, thanks to the increasing presence of LGBT films at the Academy Awards in the past few years. In that vein, we’ve compiled a list of the LGBT movies everyone should see.