20 LGBTQ+ Rom-Coms to Watch Beyond Pride Month
The rom-com genre is often overly saturated with a ton of films that involve a predictable romance between a heterosexual couple that either fall in love at first sight or move from enemies to lovers. While these tropes are definitely tried and true, there’s just something a little more exciting about them when they get put through a queer lens. Although results may vary, it’s still heartening to watch a queer romance unfold on the silver screen, especially when most LGBTQ+ movies tend to be riddled with tragedy.
Queer people are still largely underrepresented in mainstream media, but we’ve seen some incredible strides in the right direction in recent years. This has brought us queer characters that people can love and relate to, and new stories that validate the LGBTQ+ experience.
Although there’s still work to be done, every on-screen queer triumph and instance of shattered heteronormative ideals are still a cause for celebration. Queer stories need to be told as often and accurately as possible to help normalize the endless forms that love can come in. As LGBTQ+ media continues to grow, we can only hope that new films will include more queer people of colour, and more stories that highlight underrepresented gender identities and sexual orientations.
As queer media continues to expand, so too does the LGBTQ+ rom-com library. From heartfelt gay and lesbian films about love and acceptance to passionate romances with trans leads, this colourful collection of 20 LGBTQ+ rom-coms will make you giggle, swoon, and wipe away tears all in one sitting.
"The Half Of It"
Ellie Chu is an extremely smart, albeit a bit introverted, high school girl who happens to be the only Asian teenager in town. She’s shy and stands out from the “in” crowd, but manages to use her smarts to her advantage by writing school essays for her classmates in exchange for money to help her father financially. So it should come as no surprise when popular jock Paul Munsky comes to her with a request – to help him write love letters to the new girl, Aster Flores. Paul is willing to pay Ellie handsomely for the task, but the only problem is that Ellie is secretly in love with Aster.
"But I'm A Cheerleader"
“But I’m A Cheerleader” tells the story of Megan (Natasha Lyonne), an average white suburban teenager who is in denial that she’s a lesbian. After raising suspicions from her homophobic family, Megan is sent to True Directions, a conversion camp that tries to erase her sexual identity. Ultimately, the camp only leads her closer to her truth and full self-acceptance. This movie handles heavy topics like familial homophobia, conversion camps, and LGBTQ+ homelessness, and manages to weave a beautiful romance and lots of laughs throughout. “But I’m A Cheerleader” has characters you can root for and a happy ending that you’re sure to enjoy.
This mid-90s film has heavy underlying subject matter but still manages to deliver hilarious scenes and a romance you can root for. Jeffrey lives in New York and decides to put a hold on his sex life due to his overwhelming fear of contracting HIV during the height of the global AIDS epidemic. However, he eventually ends up falling for a dreamy man who he later finds out is HIV positive, forcing him to reconcile with his own fears and biases. Critics of this film say it’s a bit campy at times, and the movie’s age definitely shows, but overall, it’s full of laughs and has some touching scenes.
"The Way He Looks"
“The Way He Looks” is a Brazilian film about a blind gay teenager named Leo whose life is changed when he meets the new guy in his class, Gabriel. From the moment the two meet, Leo knows he’s met someone special, and a friendship begins to blossom between them. Watching Leo and Gabriel’s relationship move from platonic to romantic feels real, and it’s sure to fill your brain with feel-good chemicals. Naturally, as Leo discovers his sexuality and finds his independence, his relationship with his close friend Giovanna begins to suffer, and he must learn the art of balancing both love and friendship.
This Irish film centres around Ned, a solitary student who doesn’t care about rugby at his private boarding school that’s obsessed with the sport. So when Conor, the handsome star rugby player, is assigned as Ned’s new roommate, Ned immediately writes him off. Throughout the course of the film, Ned realizes not all jocks are the same and finds a number of shared interests with Conor. As the two roommates spend more time with each other, Ned learns that Conor is gay, and they grow closer as friends. This sweetly funny film isn’t romantic in an expected way, but will still manage to capture your heart, whether you’re a rugby fan or not.
“Alex Strangelove” is a Netflix original that perfectly captures the woes of growing up and finding out that life is an endless and ever-changing path. Alex Truelove is finally ready to have sex with his long-term girlfriend and leave his virgin status behind. That is until he meets Elliott, an out-and-proud gay teen who shows an obvious interest in Alex. Having never before questioned his sexuality, Alex is thrown into a lighthearted journey about his identity. The chemistry between these two may be undeniable, but that doesn’t make it easy for Alex to explore this uncharted side of himself.
"Kissing Jessica Stein"
“Kissing Jessica Stein” has early 2000s humour and starts off with a seemingly familiar rom-com trope involving a beautiful yet lonely career-driven woman in New York City who’s in search of her Prince Charming. But when Jessica develops a friendship with Helen Cooper, an “it girl” of her time with a job at a hip art studio, she realizes she may have been limiting her outlook on love, and perhaps it’s time to explore a little more. This rom-com has an unexpected ending, but watching Jessica in her fullest expression of herself at the movie’s end is something that’s really beautiful to witness.
Paige Evans dreams of getting into a summer program at her dream college, CalArts, to further hone her artistic skills. However, she ends up getting stumped by an application prompt asking her to pinpoint her happiest moment. To overcome this, Paige becomes determined to tell the gorgeous and extremely popular Gabby Campos that she has a crush on her. After being accused of vandalizing school property, Paige is forced to join the school’s track team, which – despite her unathletic nature – brings her closer to Gabby. But, Paige’s track stint ends up bringing her closer to an unexpected partner – Gabby’s sister.
“Love, Simon” is a film that will make you laugh, cry, and beam with pride (pun intended). This film follows Simon Spier, a closeted teen who navigates life, love, and his sexuality. Simon’s desire to come out is put off by his wariness to disturb the way things have always been for him, which is a relatable story to most LGBTQ+ folks. His first love blooms via emails he exchanges under the pseudonym “Jaques” with a fellow closeted classmate known throughout the film as “Blue.” Although Simon and his love interest try to keep their romance hidden, one of Simon’s classmates finds out about their exchanges, spelling trouble for both parties.
"The Thing About Harry"
Sam Basilli is still reeling from his traumatic breakup with his boyfriend, who also happened to be his closest friend. After the split, Sam vows to never date a friend again, but this plan slowly starts to derail when unexpectedly sparks a friendship with his former high school bully, Harry. Sam is shocked to learn that Harry recently came out as pansexual, and the memories of the high school version of him begin to fade away. Eventually, feelings begin to teeter past friendship between Sam and Harry, making for a silly, feel-good film about vulnerability and being yourself.
"Show Me Love"
Elin is well-liked by the boys at school and has plenty of friends, while Agnes is a lesbian that doesn’t quite have a place in the social hierarchy of high school. Agnes has quietly held feelings for Elin, but doesn’t dare act upon them. But the perfect opportunity arises when Elin turns up at a party and is dared to kiss Agnes. Unwilling to back down from the dare, Elin follows through and ends up really enjoying the moment they shared. From here, Agnes and Elin fall in love with each other and embrace the absurdity and heartbreak that comes along with finding your first love.
This film is full of good energy, friendship, and sexy scenes that definitely don’t fade to black and leave you wondering what happened next. “Fire Island” opens with a famously heteronormative Jane Austen quote, and is immediately followed by an hour and forty-five minutes of uninhibited, and absolutely hilarious gay love and joy. A group of broke queer friends begin their annual vacation at their friend Erin’s house on Fire Island where their goals vary from sex and partying to relaxation and romance. When Erin admits she has to sell her house due to financial hardship, the group knows they have to make every moment of their vacation count.
Kristen Stewart stars as Abby in “Happiest Season,” a riotous holiday rom-com about two women in a relationship who are spending the holidays together for the first time. When Abby is invited to tag along with her girlfriend Harper to her family Christmas celebrations, she immediately procures a ring to lock in their love for the long haul. But when Abby finally comes face-to-face with Harper’s parents for the first time, she realizes they have no idea the two of them are together, let alone that their daughter is a lesbian. Patience is tested, and secrets are bound to come out in this festive film.
"Better Than Chocolate"
19-year-old Maggie is a lesbian who works at a local LGBTQ+ bookstore in Vancouver and has just invited Kim, an artist who lives in her van, to move into her new apartment. The same day, Maggie learns her mother Lila is divorcing her father, and is searching for a place for her and her younger brother to live. Maggie allows them to move in, but these unexpected new roommates pose a major problem – Maggie isn’t out to her extremely conservative mother. As she tries to keep her sexuality hidden, the secret becomes difficult to keep as her and Kim’s relationship develops.
"The Wedding Banquet"
This ’90s throwback follows Wai-Tung, a gay man in a committed relationship living in New York City, as he tries to obscure his sexuality from his parents in Taiwan. Wai-Tung decides that arranging a convenient marriage with Wei Wei, a woman seeking a green card to pursue her dreams in America, is the best way to keep his real relationship under wraps. But things become complicated when his parents unexpectedly travel to New York City to celebrate the union of their son and future daughter-in-law. As the wedding day approaches, chaos and family drama ensue as Wai-Tung’s plan starts to fall apart.
“Dating Amber” is a quirky film set in Ireland that focuses on the lives of 17-year-old Eddie and his classmate, Amber, as they try to mask their sexual identities by dating each other. Eddie originally tries to prove his false heterosexuality by proclaiming to have a crush on an unassuming female classmate, but even after the two are seen publicly smooching, Amber still isn’t buying it. She confronts Eddie and comes out to him, and insists that the two of them being in a make-believe relationship is the best solution to avoid being picked on. The friendship that blossoms between these two who are the only ones to know the other’s secret is wonderful to watch and is sure to stir up some emotions.
"Boy Meets Girl"
“Boy Meets Girl” is a beautifully written romantic film that addresses issues like identity, transphobia, and courageously choosing to be yourself. 21-year-old Ricky is a trans girl who lives in a small town in Kentucky with only one friend who knows her completely. Ricky can’t wait to escape her claustrophobic hometown to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a fashion designer in New York City, and has been quietly going about her life waiting for her big break. After a brush with a beautiful, eloquent woman who’s engaged to be married to an active-duty Marine, the two of them unexpectedly fall in love.
A lesbian bachelorette weekend veers a little off track when an MDMA-fueled evening leads to the reveal of a major secret – one of the brides-to-be has never had an orgasm. Constance Wu plays Andi, a woman who’s very in touch with her sexual side, and she’s bewildered to learn that her future wife has never reached completion. The quest to find the big O is the main theme of this film, but beyond that, the movie provides an honest account of being vulnerable in a sexual relationship. “The Feels” does a great job of bringing a common sexual issue to light, all while mixing it in with laugh-out-loud scenes and a lovable cast.