From left to right: Elektra from "Pose", Lil Nas X, Clairo, Syd and Marceline from "Adventure Time." Source: Facebook
From left to right: Elektra from "Pose", Lil Nas X, Clairo, Syd and Marceline from "Adventure Time." Source: Facebook

While not everyone can make it to an event this Pride Month, there are other ways to learn about and support queer voices. Here’s a list of books, shows, films, and music by and about LGBTQ+ people. Bookmark it, so you can quickly come back when you need a gift or are looking for your next great media experience. 


Books

  • One Last Stop”: This book is your classic boy-meets-girl, except it’s girl-meets-girl. Oh, and one of them is a time traveler stuck on a New York City subway. This book by author Casey McQuiston is the perfect story for someone who loves love, but gets bored with the average romance novel. McQuiston has also written two other LGBTQ+ books — “Red, White & Royal Blue ” and “I Kissed Shara Wheeler”. 
  • Boy Meets Boy”: This takes place in an ultra-accepting high school, where the star quarterback is a transwoman and “the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance,” according to author David Levithan’s summary. At the center of it is Paul, who after losing his high school sweetheart, Noah, fights like hell to get him back.
  • Stone Butch Blues”: Leslie Feinberg’s harrowing novel tells the (partially autobiographical) experience of a masculine lesbian growing up in the 1950s, with all of its bruise and beauty. It has a much darker tone compared to the two previous recommendations, but is a vital piece of LGBTQ+ history. A free download is available on Feinberg’s website. 
  • The Prophets”: Author Robert Jones Jr. tells the love story of two enslaved men who are put in danger when plantation workers turn on one another to gain favor with their master. 

Shows

  • Adventure Time”: This Cartoon Network classic is a perfect whimsical getaway for both kids and adults. While it doesn’t focus specifically on LGBTQ+ issues, it features an inclusive cast and story lines that range from the surreal to the everyday, like the romance between two side characters, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline. Bonus: Adventure Time is also a comic book and graphic novel series. Double bonus: There is an HBO Max special that includes an episode about Marceline and Princess Bubblegum.
  • Sex Lives of College Girls”: When four girls are randomly assigned to room together for their freshman year, they are forced to navigate college together, whether they like it or not. This show encapsulates Gen Z’s openness to all identities and labels while also acknowledging how hard coming out can still be. With the entire first season available on HBO, I’d recommend binge watching. 
  • Heartstopper”: A recently released series, Heartstopper chronicles two high school boys as they discover their friendship may be more. It’s a perfectly wholesome coming-of-age story for teens and adults (and it’s been trending as a top-watched show for Netflix since its spring release). Bonus: It started out as an online comic.
  • Pose”: “Pose” tells the story of 1980s-era New York City’s drag ball scene, where LGBTQ+ people — specifically, LGBTQ+ people of color — would come together to host a pageant-style competition, complete with categories and trophies. The fictional drama follows the story of multiple gay men of color and transwomen of color as they go between the world that wants to deny their existence and a subculture where they can be themselves. 

Movies

  • Crush” (TV-MA): Much like “Heartstopper,” this is a wholesome coming-of-age story following Paige Evans as she gets the chance to be with her longtime crush and realizes she may have had her eyes on the wrong girl all along. 
  • Fire Island”(R): Written by and starring comedian Joel Kim Booster, this movie tells the story of Fire Island, a historic LGBTQ+ haven in New York, through a group of friends who spend a week there each year. This movie does a great job of showing the experience of nonwhite LGBTQ+ community members while being hilarious and heartfelt. 
  • But I’m a Cheerleader”(R): A cult classic for the LGBTQ+ community, this movie takes place in a pastel pink and blue conversion camp where parents send their gay kids. Spoiler: It doesn’t work, but it makes for a good movie. Its comedic take on conversion therapy makes it clear how ludacris the entire idea is.  
  • Boy Erased” (R): Based on Garrard Conley’s memoir with the same title of his experience in conversion therapy, the film tells a traumatic story of a boy forced into conversion therapy by his religious parents after being outed. This is a hard, but necessary, story to tell and watch. 

Songs

  • 1950”: This King Princess song invokes the yearning of unrequited love along with a nod to the LGBTQ+ activists who came before her. She does this with the simple backing of piano and electric guitar to go with her velvety voice as she sings, “I love it when we play 1950/It’s so cold that your stare’s ‘bout to kill me/I’m surprised when you kiss me.” She said in an interview with Genius, “Queer love was only able to exist privately for a long time, expressed in society through coded art forms. I wrote this song as a story of unrequited love in my own life, doing my best to acknowledge and pay homage to that part of history.”
  • Bags”: Singer-songwriter Clairo told Genius that this song is about one of her first experiences with a girl. “It’s definitely about me learning to be comfortable in a place of the unknown and kind of just letting something be, and being okay with not knowing the outcome of something.” 
  • MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”: This song by Lil Nas X caused quite a controversy when the music video starred Lil Nas X as the devil. While controversial, this move on Lil Nas X’s part was about reclaiming the narrative that has been used against queer people for decades. Oh, and the song is incredible. 
  • The Joke”: Brandi Carlile wrote a song to the underdog with this track, and her folksy bravado delights every ear that listens. While all of Carlile’s songs are magic, this one in particular speaks to the LGBTQ+ community as she sings, “Let ’em laugh while they can/Let ’em spin, let ’em scatter in the wind/I have been to the movies, I’ve seen how it ends/And the joke’s on them.”

Albums

  • MONTERO”: This album’s namesake song is listed above, but the whole record is so good that it deserves its own mention. Along with a range of featured artists (like Elton John), Lil Nas X follows up “Old Town Road ” with an album that solidifies him as not only a voice for the LGBTQ+ community, but an incredible talent. 
  • Super Monster”: Non-binary singer-songwriter Claud gives us a guitar-forward indie record that could be the soundtrack to falling in love, getting dumped or just working at your desk all day. 
  • Broken Hearts Club”: R&B singer Syd goes through an entire relationship in this album — the good, the bad and the end. Her raspy vocals matched with the classic R&B sounds make this album an instant classic. 
  • Bronco”: Behind the fringed mask that hides his identity, Orville Peck belts like an old country crooner, with plenty of slide guitar to go along with it.