June kicks off Pride Month, and cities around the country will be celebrating with Pride parades and other events in the LGBT community. But if one of the ways you’re interested in celebrating happens to be on your own couch, we’ve got you covered. Here are five TV shows and movies that portray different parts of the LGBT experience that you can stream or rent from home.
If you like laughing and crying in equal measure: Orange Is the New Black
Netflix’s show about a women’s prison has a big ensemble cast and tells a diverse range of stories, including transgender Sophia’s (Laverne Cox) and a host of lesbian and bisexual characters populating the prison. Every story is different and thoughtfully drawn. Now is a good time to catch up on the show before the new season debuts on June 9.
Stream it on Netflix.
If you love British TV: Queer as Folk (1999)
While the Showtime version of this British series is an admirable adaptation, nothing beats the original. That series was created by British writer Russell T. Davies, who would go on to revive Doctor Who in 2005, and stars Charlie Hunnam and Aidan Gillen (who just reunited in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) as a young teen in love with a promiscuous older man, respectively. Hijinx and a lot of clubbing ensue.
Stream it on Amazon.
If you love RuPaul and camp: But I’m a Cheerleader
But I’m a Cheerleader takes a campy, bubble gum-colored approach to the story of Megan (Natasha Lyonne), a teen lesbian sent to a gay reprogramming camp (“True Directions”) where she falls in love with one of the other campers (Clea DuVall). The film manages to both parody and critique gender norms and gay stereotypes while never losing its sense of fun (RuPaul as an “ex-gay” counselor who is very much still gay is one of the many highlights of the film).
If you love award-winning films: Carol
Carol is a stark and stunning film. Directed by Todd Haynes, the period piece about two women having an affair is quiet, beautiful and moving in ways you never expect. Both Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara garnered Academy Award nominations for their work, but it’s Blanchett as the titular Carol who truly shines, perfectly restrained until the moment she can’t be anymore.
Stream it on Showtime Anytime.
If you wonder what a film shot on an iPhone might look like: Tangerine
Tangerine is one of the few films about transgender people that actually has transgender actors in starring roles (which is why we highlighted it along with four other films and TV shows recently). It centers around two transgender sex workers, played by trans actresses Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, on a particularly crazy day in Los Angeles. The award-winning film (Taylor won the best supporting female award at the Independent Spirit Awards) also happened to have been shot on an iPhone.
Stream it on Netflix.
You can scroll through more of our binge recommendations below.