As kids begin to explore gender identity and sexuality, having an initial conversation about it can feel challenging. Albeit difficult, it is a very vital step in their development. In fact, having these discussions with your children is important because it gives them the right information, sets the foundation of trust and understanding and most importantly, teaches children how to respect everyone.
"A great jumping off point is to explain they do not need to decide about their sexual orientation now, and to try and normalize the diversity of sexual orientations by exposing them to appropriate role models of different sexual orientations," says Dr. Lea Lis, Adult and Child Double-Board Psychiatrist. "This will demonstrate how they can be happy, no matter how they may define themselves today or in the future. In other words, they should be proud of who they may become no matter what and ignore the bullies as he/she knows nothing about how awesome gay/transgender people are."
Once you've initiated the conversation, check out these movies and shows that offer a full scope of LGBTQ+ cinema. Some are outwardly popular and others offer subtle LGBTQ+ undertones, but they all embark on understanding the challenges and realities of the LGBTQ+ community. And you're in luck because most are available on Hulu, Netflix or HBO, too.
From documentaries to classics and comedies, we've got you covered. Here are LGBTQ+ movies to watch with your teen now:
This Disney channel television show features diversity in teenage friendships.
This comedic sitcom highlights three families of different makeups, including a gay male couple with an adopted daughter, says Lis. "It also includes interracial families, which is another great discussion to have with children," she says.
In this love story, Simon comes to terms with his sexuality, which he has been keeping a secret. The romantic comedy addresses dating, online dating (and relationships and bullying), underage drinking and coming out in high school. "It is a great movie for role modeling," says Lis.
At Camp Ovation, teens spend their summer discovering sexual identity while away from their parents. This one is great for teens and young adults.
This coming-of-age story features a gay teen who moves to a new school and is faced with compromising his identity. "This is a great film to address confidence, breaking out of stereotypes such as toxic masculinity, and the power of claiming one's identity," says Lis.
A romantic comedy film about a highly successful career man who hires a supposedly gay man to spy on his wife. Little does he know, the spy will fall in love with his spouse.
The adaptation of the 1996 Broadway musical showcases the effects of the AIDS epidemic within the New York City community.
Mary Griffith, a devout Christian, works hard to change her son's sexuality, but when his depression leads to suicide, she has a change of heart and becomes a gay rights activist.
This Netflix documentary highlights a same-sex couple that fell in love in the 1940s and had a secret relationships for 72 years. "Parents can talk about why the LGBTQ community has faced discrimination, and why they had to hide their love," says Lis.
This is a show about transgender teen and serves as a great jumping off point for a discussion about being transgender.
Follow the pitfalls and successes of a southern Black gay man from childhood to adulthood.
A documentary that chronicles the life of drag queens living in New York City.
As Henry Gamble celebrates his 17th birthday, he learns the inner workings of alcoholism and faith while being a preacher's son.
"This is a heartwarming family story," says Lis. "It is not only funny, but discusses why people felt they had to hide sexuality in the closet. It showcases how things have changed from 1996 until now."
A story about authors Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West meeting in London and falling in love during the 1920s, despite being married to men.
This English drama is set in the U.K. and is based on a true story. It is a heartwarming story through a historical lens during the Miners strike in the 1980s, focused on the gay and lesbian activists, says Lis.
This film is based on the contemporary fiction book by Stephen Chbosky. It focuses on being alienate as a teen, and the bullying and alienation for gay teens and introverts.
This is a documentary about Harvey Milk, who was a champion for gay rights and was assassinated. While watching this film encourage your teen to talk about what Harvey Milk stood for, including the pros and cons, and discuss what has changed since 1978.
Age: 16+A transgender sex worker learns her boyfriend has been cheating on her while she was in jail, and now she's on a mission to seek revenge.
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