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5 great LGBTQ+ movies & TV shows on Paramount+

Pride Month is upon us, and with it, a new chance to discover new movies and television shows that showcase and celebrate all kinds of LGBTQ+ storylines. There is an abundance of content available, but Paramount+ features a large catalog of films and shows, including reality and scripted series, that feature compelling and unforgettable LGBTQ+ characters.

Whether they’re comedies or dramas, romantic or not, these films and shows will make for a perfect marathon during Pride Month. Fans can laugh, cry, and even fall in love with these wonderful stories that remain wholly entertaining while still reminding everyone why it’s so important to feature and celebrate LGBTQ+ voices in mainstream projects.

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In & Out (1997)

Howard Brackett smiling at school in In & Out.

Frank Oz’s delightful comedy In & Out stars Kevin Kline as Howard Brackett, a soon-to-be-married man whose life is thrown into disarray after a former student calls him gay during his Oscar speech. Joan Cusack, Tom Selleck, and Matt Dillon co-star alongside Kline. Screenwriter Paul Rudnick was inspired to write the film after Tom Hanks’ tearful Oscar speech for his work on Philadelphia.

At first glance, In & Out might seem like a typical Hollywood attempt at a “gay” movie. Indeed, it features somewhat stereotypical humor — complete with a dance sequence to Macho Man — but that’s part of the joke. In & Out simultaneously mocks and celebrates those stereotypes, delivering a surprisingly subversive film that remains entertaining, fresh, and surprisingly timely. Come for the LGBTQ+ storyline, stay for Joan Cusack’s incredible performance — and yes, she should’ve won the Oscar.

RuPaul’s Drag Race (2009-)

RuPaul posing in a promo image for RuPaul's Drag Race.

Arguably the most influential reality show of our time, RuPaul’s Drag Race features a group of contestants competing to become America’s next drag superstar. RuPaul serves as the show’s host, mentor, and lead judge, accompanied by Michelle Visage and an alternating third judge — either Ross Matthews or Carson Kressley. The show includes numerous guest stars who serve as a fourth judge.

RuPaul’s Drag Race has received critical acclaim, including four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Competition Program. The show has helped eliminate some of the stigma surrounding drag, cementing it as a legitimate and inspiring form of art and self-expression. In a time when drag is still frowned upon by many, RuPaul’s Drag Race is here to give drag performers a voice and platform. All seasons are available on Paramount+.

Election (1999)

Tammy Metzler giving a speech in Election.

23 years later, Alexander Payne’s Election remains as subversive and biting as it was when it premiered in the spring of 1999. In arguably the best performance of her career, Reese Witherspoon stars as Tracy Flick, an ambitious and overachieving student whose aggressive campaigning for student body president incurs the wrath of one of her teachers, Matthew Broderick’s Jim McAllister.

Election features one of the best LGBTQ+ characters in any teen film, Jessica Campbell’s Tammy Metzler, a lesbian student who becomes one of Tracy’s unexpected opponents. Witty, strong, somewhat confrontational but never unsympathetic, Campbell’s Tammy is the film’s unsung hero. Her storyline is intelligent, avoiding clichés and allowing her ample agency. Witherspoon might be Election‘s selling point, but Campbell is its secret weapon, turning the film into a must-watch for any LGBTQ+ teen.

The Legend of Korra (2012-2014)

Korra and Asami talking in The Legend of Korra.

A sequel to the wildly successful Avatar: The Last AirbenderThe Legend of Korra follows the titular character, the successor and reincarnation of original protagonist Aang, as she faces numerous trials while dealing with political and social unrest in her rapidly modernizing world.

Like its predecessor, The Legend of Korra never shied away from exploring mature themes. Although Asami and Korra never explicitly declare their feelings for each other during the series’ run, fans began shipping them thanks to their strong connection. The show ends with the two leaving on vacation together, and the sequel comics officially confirm their romance. Their relationship has a beautiful development throughout the show’s four seasons, and not one fan was surprised that they eventually ended up together.

Star Trek: Discovery (2017-)

Adira and Grey embracing in Star Trek: Discovery.

Premiering in 2017, Star Trek: Discovery featured the first openly gay couple in any Star Trek series. Played by real-life gay actors Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz, Paul Stamets and Hugh Culber represented a major breakthrough in representation for one of pop culture’s most influential franchises.

Season three introduced Adira Tal, Star Trek‘s first non-binary character, who enters a relationship with transgender character Gray — played by transgender actor Ian Alexander — and forms a family unit with Stamets and Culber. By including characters that showcase other parts of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, Star Trek: Discovery lives up to its name and provides invaluable representation for LGBTQ+ youth. The show is ahead of the pack, and fans are looking forward to the new storylines it’ll bring once it returns for its fifth season.

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