Sometimes, it can be hard to find quality LGBT content that isn't stereotyped (i.e. "G.B.F": an objectively stereotypical film on many levels) or poorly written (i.e. Stonewall: a potentially amazing film that botched the real life story with whitewashing and lack of quality dialogue and story). So to save you from wading through the perils of poor writing and eye-roll worthy films, heres a list of a few films and shows that are guaranteed to have you feel empowered, giddy, and everything in between. (This list is most certainly incomplete, but its a good start!)

Also: beware, there are spoilers in some of these, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't see these yourself because the experience of these great stories is nothing close to the mere summation of its contents.

(I will be listing where I watched these: most are on Netflix, but almost all of these can be found online in other areas as well like Hulu, Amazon video, or youtube)

1. Queer Eye (2018-Ongoing)

(From left to right: Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Antoni Porowski)

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Queer Eye, based on the 2003 Bravo series: Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, is a Netflix TV show that follows the "Fab 5" boys who go around helping people (usually straight males, but not exclusively) improve and revamp their lives. Our stars, leading the charge of this new series are Tan (fashion), Jonathan (grooming), Bobby (design), Karamo (culture), and Antoni (cuisine). These five guys go around bringing joy, helping to renew people's sense of self-confidence, and bridging the supposed gap between straight and gay people. The ultimate goal? To show that we are more similar than different (and that a gay guy can be a total asset to any straight friend). This show is guaranteed to have you laughing at these boys, tearing up at their stories, and rooting for them all the way through. Plus, you'll pick up a few great tips for yourself! Can you believe?

Available on: Netflix

My rating: 10/10

2. Queer As Folk (2000-2005)

the Queer As Folk cast

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Queer As Folk was the first hour-long drama show on U.S television dedicated to portraying the lives of homosexual men and women in Pittsburgh, PA. Over the course of the show, many themes are brought to the forefront that LGBT people could relate to then and now: homophobia in the workplace, unrequited love, coming out, family tensions, acceptance, drug addiction, HIV/AIDS, the fight for legal equality, marriage, and so much more. While at times overly sexual and a tad overly dramatic, this show is without a doubt a great stab at showcasing the joys and pains of being an LGBT person in society (much more difficult in the 2000's than today). The characters are realistically flawed, loveable and endearing. Each one has their own story (but some are more flushed out than others, which is to be expected) and they all struggle through very real problems. It is truly a tale of love, loss, struggle, joy, and empathy; and it will make you want to go out, hit the club, march in Pride, and live your Gayest life.

Available on: Netflix

My rating: 9/10

3. The Fosters (2013-ongoing)

The cast of The Fosters

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The Fosters is an ABC American drama following an ethnically and sexually diverse family, designed to show the "modern family" (also another good show!). The show centres on two lesbian parents (one a cop, the other a vice principal) who raise one biological son and four adopted children with loving care and guidance. While the family does struggle at times, as any family does, eventually we see a true bond emerge. In addition to the parents, their youngest adopted son makes the realisation that he too is gay, a realisation that the family embraces and supports. Other themes that the show touches on are: adoption, multi-ethnic diversity, racism, discrimination in the workplace, misogyny, shame, and redemption. While the parents and the LGBT storylines are not the main focus of the show per say, they certainly are key elements to the story and the topics are showcased in a refreshingly candid and open way.

Available on: Netflix

My rating: 7.8/10

4. Merlí (2015-2018)

The cast of Merlí

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Merlí, a Catalonian TV show, follows the story of a high school philosophy teacher of the same name and the lives of his students, whom he encourages to think freely and outside of the box. The series focuses on the hardships of high school lives and on the struggle of self-expression and identity that comes with growing up. Main themes include: sexual expression, gender identity and expression, oppression, free thought, empathy, and acceptance. Merlí's own son is gay, a reality that they both must come to terms with in their own ways. Life can be tough in high school already, let alone the added stress of being different than other teens. Merlí tackles this problem head-on, linking the philosophical thinkers he teaches in class to their lives in order to help them see their problems in a different light. He defends the gay students in his class and helps them all come closer and realise that they're more compatible than they think. Merlí is definitely a colourful character, full of flaws and contradictions; his free-spiritedness added with the youthful energy of the students, with diverse personalities and backgrounds, make the show all the more fun and exciting to watch. The show is Catalonian, and so is in Catalan (like Spanish, but very different) with English subtitles.

Available on: Netflix (Season 1), Online (Season 2&3) (on sites like dailymotion.com)

My rating: 8.5/10

5. One Day At A Time (2017-Ongoing)

The cast of One Day At A Time

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One Day At A Time is an American comedy-drama TV series, based on the 1975-1984 sitcom of the same name. It follows an eccentric Cuban-American family's daily joys and struggles, and their take and approach to certain issues. Penelope is a single mom, also a US Army veteran coping with PTSD, working as a nurse in a doctor's office. She has two children: Elena, her lesbian activist daughter, and Alex, her "cool kid" baseball player son. Also living with them is Lydia, Penelope's mother and the kid's grandmother, an eccentric Cuban woman who fled during Castro's regime and now helps care for the family. And finally Schneider (basically family), the wealthy building landlord who helps cares for the family and offers occasionally wise insight on issues (though he's mostly comedic relief). This show has a very unique take on the coming out story. It can be very hard to come out in any family, but in some it is much harder; Hispanic families have a penchant for being very religious and as such coming out as gay or lesbian can be a very large and sometimes insurmountable hurdle. However, when Elena does come out we see the family embrace her and work out their discomfort. Elena's father, and Penelope's ex-husband, does not accept who she is and is unwilling to see past it. Elena's story is not the centre of the series, but it is a key element as it shows how a semi-traditional cuban family can come to love and accept and support a family member's sexual orientation. In a great moment Lydia, who is traditional and very Catholic, works out her problems with Elena being lesbian using the pope's words to love and accept as reason enough to love and accept who she is. This series is hilarious and tackles many other, equally important social issues (racism, classism, identity, misogyny, etc.) in a new and creative manner, making this series a must see for all who love laughing and feeling validated at the same time (don't we all!).

Available on: Netflix (2 seasons)

My rating: 9/10

6. Gravitation (2000-2001)

The two love birds, Shuichi Shindo and Eiri Yuki.

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I know what you're thinking: "an anime? really???" YES. Normally, I don't think that any sort of "boy's love" anime is good because of its inherent "it can only be secret and of course it will end" attitude in its writing and delivery. However, this one really got to me in a special way. Gravitation, based on the manga of the same name, follows Shuichi Shindo and his band "Bad Luck" as they try to become Japan's next big hit. By chance one night, Shuichi runs into famous blonde romance novelist Eiri Yuki. After a rocky first meeting and bad impression, the two manage to keep running into each other and form a meaningful relationship. The series does not solely focus on their relationship, though it is a very large part of the series, as a substantial portion of it centers on Shuichi's path to stardom with his music. At times way too dramatic and very cheek-in-tongue (as is with all anime), this series still leaves a happy heartwarming effect on the viewer and is a fun and engaging story (and some of the band's songs aren't half bad!).

Available on: DVD (by Nozomi Entertainment), Online (sites like gogoanime are a good start)

My rating: 7.5/10

7. RuPaul's Drag Race (2009-Ongoing)

RuPaul: THE drag queen, LGBTQ community icon, and creator/host of RuPaul's Drag Race

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Rupaul's Drag Race is an American reality competition on Logo TV, starring Rupaul Charles in search of "America's next drag superstar". The show has been running for quite a while now, giving us iconic reality TV moments and exposure to a whole new world. The queens are eccentric, driven, and wildly talented and are sure to have you screaming "YASSS QUEEN" as they strut on the walkway. Combining fashion design with modelling, what we get is a big gay Project Runway meets America's Next Top Model. The queens themselves become iconic, as they give the audience outrageous and inventive new looks, and serve an equally outrageous persona with them. Some all time favourites include: Bianca Del Rio, Alaska Thunderfuck, Trixie Mattel, Alyssa Edwards, Bob the Drag Queen, Katya Zamolodchikova, and many many more. We, as a society, should be grateful for Drag culture's many contributions to our daily lives. Words and phrases like "realness", "tea", "shade", "gag", "serving looks", "slay", "giving me life", and "werk" all stem from these fabulous queens and their drag vocab. So hold on tight and get read for some Rupaul Realness as she and her girls own that runway.

Available on: Logo TV (all seasons)

My rating: 9.5/10

8. The Way He Looks (2014)

The main protagonists of The Way He Looks, Leo (Up) and Gabriel (Down)

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The Way He Looks is a Brazilian romantic drama, following the blossoming friendship between two boys. Leo is a blind student, struggling for independence from others and trying to find love. Gabriel is a new student and quickly becomes friends with Leo and his best friend Giovana. A wonderful coming-of-age story, their exploration of sexuality and attraction is intimate and not over dramatised. Overall, this film is loveable and has some very real moments within it. It not only touches on issues surrounding the social and personal perceptions of LGBT lifestyles, but also has the added element of being blind and the struggle to lead a "normal" life with it. Because the film is Brazilian, it is in Portuguese but there are English subtitles for you non-Portugese speaking individuals.

Available on: Netflix

My rating: 8/10

9. Being 17 (2016)

A moment between the two boys, Tomas Damien (Kacey Mottet Klein) and (Corentin FIla).

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Being 17 follows the story of two boys and how their initial animosity to each other turns into a sexual awakening and subsequently, a story of love. Set in southwestern rural France, the story follows that of Tomas and Damien. Damien is a quiet boy who lives with his mother and Tomas lives on a farm far out from the town. At school, Tomas bullies Damien and the two often get into fights. After Tomas' mother falls very ill and is taken to Hospital in the town, Damien's mother (who is a doctor) offers to house Tomas so he can see his mother more easily. Now both living in the same home, their anger towards each other only grows and a series of events lead to a growing rift until a tragic event finally pulls them together. Being 17 is a tale of attraction, tragedy turned into something better, and living in the present. The film is French and, as such, has English subtitles at the ready for our non-French speaking pals.

Available on: Netflix

My rating: 8/10

10. Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer)

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Set in northern Italy, circa 1983, Call Me By Your Name (based on a book of the same name) follows the amorous relationship that evolves between Jewish-Italian-American Elio (17) and Jewish-American graduate student Oliver (24). What starts off as an uneasy friendship, with forced pleasantries and frequent awkwardness, slowly blossoms into a passionate albeit sometimes reluctant intimate relationship. The film explores sexuality and the many different forms and expressions it can take (keep in mind this is 80's Italy, not super accepting), secrecy, emotional intimacy, and the pain of a first love lost. This film pulls on the viewer's heartstrings, showing a genuinely exciting and loving relationship, and perfectly expresses the deep-seated pain and knowing that what they have is fleeting and cannot last. A worthwhile film to see, without a doubt.

Available on: DVD, Online

My rating: 9/10

11. Alex Strangelove (2018)

The main protagonists of the film: Claire (Madeline Weinstein), Alex (Daniel Doheny), and Elliot (Antonio Marziale).

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Alex Strangelove is a film that follows the main character's, Alex Truelove, sexual awakening and subsequent coming out. The story is emotional and at times very real, as it touches on the sensitivity of coming out to family, to a girlfriend, and to yourself. Alex's sexual awakening comes after meeting Elliot, an openly gay teenager who's charisma and openness catch him off guard. Constantly worried about what others will think and of hurting his girlfriend (who he came out to), Claire, Alex has to make the decision about what is more important: staying out of the spotlight or pursuing his affection. A cute story, filled with tender moments and heart-to-heart realness, Alex Strangelove is sure to bring a smile to your face and have you rooting for these characters from start to finish.

Available on: Netflix

My Rating: 8.5/10

12. Love, Simon (2018)

Simon (Nick Robinson)

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Love, Simon is an American romcom based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, following the life of closeted gay high schooler Simon Spier as he navigates coming out, family, friends, and expressing his feelings to an anonymous crush. It is heartwarming and fun, with a few good serious moments of self-reflection and commentary on social and familial reactions to coming out and expression. It also tackles the stereotypes of who or what a gay kid should look or act like, showing a variety of different expressions of sexuality throughout the film. Mostly, though, the aim of the film is to have you go "awww" and enjoy the happy albeit semi-unrealistic ending. Still, a great movie to get you out of the dumps and grinning again!

Available on: DVD, Online

My rating: 7.5/10

13. Front Cover (2015)

James Chen (L) as Ning and Jake Choi (R) as Ryan

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Front Cover follows gay New York fashion stylist Ryan Fu, who is openly gay and openly rejects his traditional Asian upbringing. He is tasked with styling Ning, a very popular Chinese actor from Beijing, for a photo shoot for a magazine. Ning and Ryan clash on set about stylistic choices and direction. However, the two work through their differences and come to a sort of friendship. After opening up about their respective lives, the two find themselves mutually attracted to each other. A secret but passionate relationship blossoms between the two, and they continue to share more about each other. Unfortunately, after a night out together, a Chinese tabloid magazine outs Ning and Ryan. Still very much closeted and fearful of the reaction in China, Ning asks Ryan to lie about them and cover it up. Ryan is appalled and saddened at the fact that he has to lie about who and what he is but eventually agrees to do so, for Ning. After the debacle calms down, Ning leaves to return to China after an emotional farewell with Ryan, leaving behind their intimate relationship. An all too common scenario for closeted individuals, Front Cover beautifully showcases the intimate desires of these two men, intersecting LGBT lifestyles with Asian culture and society. A good film, complete with likeable characters and good chemistry, Front Cover exposes the audience to the varying attitudes among Asian culture towards homosexuality and the importance of family, and will have you rooting for their relationship from start to bitter finish.

Available on: Netflix

My rating: 8.5/10

14. The Danish Girl (2015)

Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe, the "Danish Girl"

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The Danish Girl, based on a novel of the same name by David Ebershoff and based loosely on the lives of the characters represented, follows the story of how Einar Wegener became Lili Elebe. One of the first cases of Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS), this film traces Wegener's deep desire to become a woman. After standing in and pretending to be a female model, Wegener begins to realise that he no longer identifies as a man. As such, this begins the long and arduous process of leaving behind the identity of her former self and becoming Lili Elbe, the woman she was always meant to be. Lili's wife Gerda struggles but is ultimately accepting and supportive of Elbe's desire to become a true woman. Dissatisfied with still physically resembling a man, Elbe seeks out methods of becoming more genuinely and physically female. This eventually leads them to Dr. Kurt Warnekros, who proposes Sex Reassignment Surgery, a dangerous and new procedure that he has been working on and successfully applied to other like-minded individuals. Elbe agrees to the procedure and departs for Germany to undergo the perilous endeavour. The surgery is successful, but soon complications arise that ultimately lead to Elbe dying (but she dies as she wanted, as a true woman). A powerful story of identity and struggle to express one's true self, The Danish Girl stands as a great film representing the hardships of the first transgender individuals and the great lengths that these people went to to have themselves be who they were meant to. Lili Elbe is a true LGBT hero who deserves to have her story told, and serves as a great pioneer and icon to trans people today.

Available on: Netflix

My rating: 8.5/10

15. Holding The Man (2015)

Timothy Conigrave (Ryan Corr) and John Caleo (Craig Scott)

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Holding The Man, an Australian romantic drama adapted from Timothy Conigrave's 1995 memoir of the same name, follows the tumultuous relationship of Timothy Conigrave and John Caleo in mid-70's Australia. Writing his memoir, Tim traces the beginning of their love story at college and the development of their relationship over the years. Filled with plenty of tense and tender moments, the intimacy of these two lover's lives is exposed unapologetically to the audience. Their seemingly stable world is flipped upside down as both come back positive for HIV in 1983. Thus, the film then takes a darker turn as they must both battle it out against the harrowing disease and struggle to keep some semblance of normalcy and intimacy in their lives. Sadly, in 1992, John dies after succumbing to the horrific pains of AIDS. The film then returns to present day Tim as he completes his memoir, writing his final love letter to John. The film closes by telling the audience that Tim complete the memoir in October of 1994 and died ten days after, himself succumbing to the weight of AIDS at age 34 as John did. The film ends with real life interview and photos of Timothy and John as teens, showing the real life subjects of the drama. Holding The Man is one of my all time favourites, as it is so brutally real and genuine, showing the hardships of living as a gay man (especially in the 70's and 80's) and exposing us to the full force of HIV/AIDS. Truly one of the best LGBT films around, you won't want to miss this real-life tale of joy, love, forgiveness, acceptance, pain, loss, and death.

Available on: Netflix

My rating: 10/10