Are you thinking of whipping out some family-friendly movies to celebrate Pride month, but a little stuck for ideas? Teaching children about LGBTQ+ people and the challenges they can face, as well as the beauty encapsulated by this community, is crucial in today’s world, but how do you find the right films for everybody to enjoy?
Some of the best films you might want to consider include things like Out, by Pixar, Wendell & Wild, Bend It Like Beckham, The Old Guard, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, G.B.F., Late Bloomers, and Freak Show.
Not all of these will be suitable if you have very young children so choose with care and do some additional research – but for the most part, these are LGBTQ+ movies that every member of the family can watch and love. Let’s dive straight in so you can get movie night rolling!
Movie 1) Out
Pixar has made some amazing stuff over the years, and perhaps the only disappointing thing about their 2020 production “Out” is that it is a short! It’s been much awaited and it’s about time we saw an LGBTQ+ family represented by this huge studio – and while we applaud Pixar for taking the step, we would like to see it happen more…
Anyway, onto the movie/short! Out tells a touching tale, as a grown man decides to come out to his parents and tell them that he’s going to move in with his partner. It’s a cute watch, where the main character’s mind gets magically swapped with his dog’s – something all the family can imagine and get behind. The story is funny and light; viewers get to watch as the young man discovers that his parents have already realized he’s gay and accepted that fact.
The magic in this story is told in many ways – not least through the bright colors, which make this appealing for young children. The animals are also a key factor in making this family-friendly; the whole journey is prompted by the magical cat and dog, who engineer the interactions and make it possible for Greg to be honest with his parents.
The short represents the first gay main character that Pixar and Disney have created, and features a same-sex kiss – nice to see at long last. Cute, warm, fun, and easygoing, this is a wonderful one to show to your children, however old they are.
Movie 2) Wendell & Wild
Bright and bold, Wendell & Wild is a 2022 film that was directed by Henry Selick. It focuses on the story of “Kat,” and it’s a decidedly weird one, with two demon brothers who dream of creating an amusement park – Wendell and Wild.
After tragedy strikes Kat’s life, she’s struggling to connect with the rest of the world, but does manage to make friends with a trio of unusual individuals, including Siobhan Klaxon, and then Raúl Cocolotl, who is a trans boy.
From there, the story spirals wildly into a series of crazy events, magic, premonitions, and even things like possession – but it’s not too dark (though you may want to screen it before showing it to younger audiences).
One of the nice things about this movie is that it casually and deliberately includes a diverse cast and a trans character, without making a big deal out of it. These people are just part of the fabric of the universe, and it’s great to see that level of normalization and comfort.
If you’re a lover of Coraline, Wendell & Wild will probably be right up your street, and that might also offer you some guidance on the kind of age range this is aimed at. With a half-dead cast, it’s not for the really little ones, but older kids and adults can definitely enjoy it!
Movie 3) Bend It Like Beckham
An old movie but a good one, this film covers the journey of Jess Bhamra, daughter of two very traditionalist British Indian Punjabi Sikhs. Her parents want the best for her, but they consider that to be marriage to the right man – rather than football, which is Jess’s true passion.
Jess’s best friend Tony is the gay character in this film, and the smooth way in which he is integrated into the plot is enormously satisfying for viewers of all ages. It’s also really nice to see some non-white characters take center stage, and this offers another great learning experience for young family members, even if it’s not an LGBTQ+ one.
Furthermore, the film has a lot to say about gender stereotypes, and kicking them to the curb! It explores the concept of lesbian relationships, and hashes out the value of friendship as well as romance through the character of Jules. It also examines the importance of being yourself and staying true to your dreams, no matter what the obstacles may be.
Many people have loved this film for tackling all these different challenges, and doing so with such grace. It’s garnered mostly positive reviews during its time, and has been lauded for its excellent character development, and for being brave enough to touch on queer themes and LGBTQ+ themes, even if the main character was not actually gay.
Movie 4) The Old Guard
If you’d like a good action film for your movie night, this could be the one for you – and it’s got enough LGBTQ+ themes to satisfy in most cases.
This film is about a group of immortal warriors who are striving against evil. The leader, Andy, is not explicitly transgender, but there are strong hints about this – and two of the other characters, Joe and Nicky, have a long-standing male-male relationship. Being immortal lets these two symbolize lasting love; they’ve been together for hundreds of years!
It’s very refreshing to see some queer characters in the superhero genre, which is usually reserved for almost exclusively white, straight characters. Indeed, this might be the first superhero movie to incorporate gay people, and it’s one of very few action films to acknowledge the existence of queer individuals.
And what do we love most about it? The sexuality of these characters, while very present, has no bearing on their abilities – they are just as cool and kick-ass as any other superheroes out there, and they manage to balance that with beautiful expressions of love and affection for each other.
The film only came out in 2020, so it’s not too surprising it handles these topics with some grace, but even today, it’s refreshing to see. It’s rare for films targeting mainstream audiences to be so bold in their handling of LGBTQ+ individuals, and we can only hope that more will follow!
The great news about this film is that it shows kids that it’s both okay and cool to be queer, and it reminds us that LGBTQ+ individuals have a place everywhere, in every kind of film. They are the heroes too, and it’s really nice to see a film having the confidence to show that. Talk about great role models for the whole family!
Movie 5) Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
For slightly older viewers interested in exploring the struggles of black stars as well as queer individuals, this is a wonderful film that has received enormous critical acclaim. It follows the story of Ma Rainey, who was a highly influential blues singer – she has even been called the Mother of Blues at times.
Be warned that this film may not be ideal for children, but it’s certainly worth a watch for more mature audiences. Its handling of both racial themes and queer themes is spectacular and it has a 97% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film bristles with tension, and it celebrates, condemns, explores, and unveils all at once, so it’s a phenomenal choice. Many of the issues that it handles are still enormously pertinent today, and if you’re looking for a film that is capable of teaching, this is certainly one to consider – and it won LGBTQ Film of the Year in 2021.
For parents, it may be worth watching the film yourself first before you decide whether it’s suitable for your child. It’s been rated R, but it’s important to remember that kids all mature at different rates – so check whether you think it’s right for your family LGBTQ+ night before you put it on.
Movie 6) G.B.F.
A light-hearted comedy, this can be great for family watching, and it’s an excellent exploration of LGBTQ+ themes and the challenges of being different in high school. The film follows two gay boys who are not yet out, called Tanner and Brent. Tanner gets outed – and almost immediately adopted by the “cool girls” of the school, who view having a Gay Best Friend as the best way to secure the title of prom queen.
Be aware that the movie has been R-rated for sexual references, but that this has been criticized by the movie’s director, who stated that it’s just because of the homosexual themes, rather than because the film deserves an adult rating. There’s no violence or nudity in it, but parents may want to check before showing it to their kids, just in case.
G.B.F. is a very light option, with plenty of humor to appeal to viewers. The characters are deep and believable, and for teens who are finding school hard going, this could be a great film to choose. It deals with all kinds of different themes, including homophobia, popularity, friendship, romance, betrayal, and more.
Movie 7) Late Bloomers
An oldie but a goodie, this 1996 film has a lot to offer viewers. It’s a sweet coming-of-age story with a twist – the characters are middle-aged, and unexpectedly fall in love. Math teacher and basketball coach Dinah falls for Carly, the secretary of the Texas high school she works in. Carly, equally enamored, abandons her husband for Dinah, and both women end up getting fired.
The scandal rocks their small town, but it all comes out alright in the end. That may not be particularly realistic for the time this film was set, but it’s a beautiful story and offers a warm, hopeful message to the queer community as a whole, as Dinah and Carly’s romance comes to a happy conclusion with a stunning gay wedding.
It’s got a sense of “what could be,” rather than “what is” (at least for its time), which may make it a nice choice for a cheerful film night with the whole family.
Don’t mix this up with the more recent 2023 film of the same name; they’re not connected at all! Late Bloomers is a beautiful film, although parents may want to be aware that there is some nudity in this during the basketball scene, so decide whether that’s okay before you turn it on.
Movie 8) Freak Show
If you’d like a film that tackles homophobia head-on and bluntly addresses the challenges gay teens can face, Freak Show is a must-watch. It’s not too grim, either; it manages to balance the serious issues with humor, while showing LGBTQ+ children and teens that they are not alone, and that they have the ability to stand up for themselves and be proud of who they are.
The film follows Billy Bloom, who has suddenly been transferred to an extremely conservative high school – where his flamboyant dress and refusal to bow down to teasing leads to a violent attack that leaves him in hospital. However, he manages to turn things around, and encourages people to be true to themselves and embrace diversity.
The story is a little cliché and has received some criticism as a result, but it recognizes and handles some very important LGBTQ+ films, and may therefore make the cut for your Pride Month film list!
There are so many great LGBTQ+ family movies that you can enjoy, and there’s something suitable for all ages. Some on this list might be better for teens, while others, like Pixar’s Out, are perfect for youngsters. No matter what you choose, you’ll see diverse characters, thorough representation, and queer pride shining through!
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