Published: 3rd June 2021

15 Unforgettable LGBTQ+ Film and TV Characters

Perhaps you’re obsessed with Pose, or you just Love, Simon? This Pride Month, we're celebrating the most iconic LGBTQ+ characters in film and TV.

Before you choose what to watch for Pride, check out our list of films featuring iconic LGBTQ+ individuals who celebrate diversity and inclusion.

Onward

mild threat, very mild bad language

Onward is an animated fantasy adventure in which two elf brothers attempt to bring magic back to their world from which it has disappeared. 

In Onward, we're introduced to Officer Specter, who pulls over Ian and Barley Lightfoot. Did you know that she is Pixar's first openly lesbian character?

There are action scenes in which the heroes find themselves in threatening and dangerous situations. These include being caught up in a burning building, chased by a pixie biker gang, attempting to cross a wide chasm, dodging booby traps in a cave and battling a dragon creature.

There is also occasional threat from weapons wielded by unsympathetic characters, such as a bottle and bike chains, but no undue emphasis is placed on them.,

There is very mild bad language such as 'screw up', 'screwed up', 'dang it', 'son of a...' and 'what the...'.,

The film's story involves the young heroes coming to terms with the death of their father. The issue of death and bereavement is handled sensitively and in a reassuring manner.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

rude humour, language, violence, threat

The Mitchells vs. the Machines is a US animated sci-fi action comedy in which a family must save the world from a tech uprising.

Katie Mitchell is one of the main characters in The Mitchells vs the Machines. She is 18 years old and has a passion for technology and film. She connected with her love interest Jade online before orientation at the film school they both attend.

There are occasional scenes of very mild fantasy threat, such as when humans are captured during a robot uprising, and when the heroes are confronted by a giant roaring Furby toy. However, the tension is broken up with action and comedy, and the threat is always reassuringly resolved.

There are occasional mild scenes of comical fantasy action violence, including explosions, blasts of energy and stylised martial arts blows. An evil robot is beheaded during a fight scene and others are speared or sliced in half, creating small sprays of black oil. There are no realistic injuries.

Very mild bad language includes the terms ‘butt’ and ‘jerk’.

Infrequent very mild rude humour includes a joke about a dog 'sniffing butts'

This work contains flashing images which may affect viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.

Love, Simon

moderate sex references, infrequent strong language

Love, Simon is a US comedy drama in which a closeted gay teenager falls for his anonymous email pen pal.

Simon Spier is the main character in Love, Simon. In the movie, he starts an online relationship with a boy from his high school who goes by the nickname Blue.

You can read more about how we classified Love, Simon, and have a go at rating the trailer on our website.

Sex

There are moderate verbal sex references throughout, including non-graphic references to masturbation, penis size and levels of sexual experience. A character refers to 'butt sex'. Another says his classmate looks like he 'got gang-banged by a TJ Maxx'.

Language

There is infrequent use of strong language ('f**k'). Milder terms include 'slutty', 'bitch', 'shit', 'dicks', 'assholes', 'balls', 'screw' and 'crap'. There is also infrequent use of homophobic terms including 'fag' and 'fruity'. Discriminatory language and behaviour are not endorsed by the film as a whole.

There is a very brief reference to solvent abuse when a teacher warns students not to 'huff' the paint cans they are using. Another scene contains a mention of marijuana.

Mean Girls

Contains moderate language, sex and drugs references

Mean Girls is a US comedy in which new girl Cady becomes a hit with The Plastics, the A-list girl clique at her new school, until she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George.

Damian is one of Cady’s first friends when she starts her new school. He is openly gay and has some of the most iconic lines throughout the film, including "She doesn't even go here!" and “That’s why her hair is so big. It’s full of secrets”.

Language

Language includes use of 'bitch', 'whore', 'ass', 'slut' and an incomplete use of 'motherf**ker'. There is occasional use of discriminatory terms, including 'retarded' and 'dyke', and a single use of 'n***a'.

Sex

Comic sex references include discussion of sexually transmitted diseases in the context of a sex education class. There is also moderate innuendo, such as when a male student asks a female classmate 'Is your muffin buttered?'

Drugs

A teacher is falsely accused of selling drugs to students, including ecstasy and marijuana.

Pose

sex references, discrimination, language, drug misuse

In 1987 New York, LGBTQ ball fixture Blanca starts her own house, soon becoming mother to a gifted dancer and a sex worker in love with a yuppie client.

While Pose broke all sorts of records for having an incredibly diverse cast, Blanca is a standout. She is a trans woman who, after being diagnosed with HIV, forms the drag house Evangelista. 

Booksmart

strong sex references, language, sex, drug misuse

Booksmart is a US comedy in which two hard-working high school students let loose and party the night before their graduation.

Amy is one of the main characters in Booksmart and the film sees her navigating her crush on her classmate Ryan.

Did you know you can have a go at rating the trailer for this film? Check it out.

Sex

There are frequent comic sex references, including to masturbation, pornography, oral sex and sexual positions. There is also a scene in which it is implied a young woman digitally penetrates another woman.

Language

Strong language ('f**k', 'motherf**ker') occurs throughout, along with milder terms such as 'shit', 'ass' and 'bitch'. There are also uses of 'nigga' in song lyrics.

Drugs

Two teens accidentally take a drug and begin hallucinating, and there are references to smoking marijuana. The work as a whole does not condone or glamorise drug misuse.

There are infrequent, undetailed references to sexual violence

It’s A Sin

It’s A Sin is a British drama series about three men from different parts of the country meeting in London in the early 1980s.

La! In the series, Roscoe moves to London after his family are unaccepting of his homosexuality. Here, he finds a group of like-minded friends, who all live in the Pink Palace together and are able to explore their identities, as the AIDS epidemic threatens their future.

Moonlight

strong language, sex, sex references, drugs misuse

Moonlight is a US drama following the impact of a young man's upbringing, relationships and surroundings across three periods of his life.

The film chronicles the life of Chiron, a young black man, from childhood to adulthood as he struggles growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami as a homosexual man. 

Language

There is occasional use of strong language ('f**k', 'motherf**ker'), and frequent racial language ('nigga') used informally between black characters. There is also use of homophobic language in a scene in which an adult explains to a young boy that 'faggot' is an offensive term.

Sex

Scenes of sexual activity include implied masturbation and penetration, and in one scene a character wakes up following a 'wet dream'. Strong verbal references are made to oral sex and intercourse.

Drugs

There are scenes of drug dealing and characters smoking 'crack' and marijuana. The work as a whole does not condone or endorse drugs misuse.

Infrequent scenes of moderate violence include a boy being beaten by a gang of bullies, with subsequent sight of his cut and bloodied face.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt

moderate sex and drug references

Titus Andromedon is one of the main characters in this show and is Kimmy Schmitt’s best friend. He is an openly gay theatre performer who has a sweet romance with builder Mikey.

Glee

moderate bad language, sex references

Glee is a TV show about a high school show choir, also known as a glee club.

In the series, best friends and cheerleaders Santana and Brittany fall for each other over lots of musical numbers and have a relationship.

Tangerine

strong language, sex, sex references, drug misuse

Tangerine is a comedy drama in which a transgender sex worker, recently released from prison, goes in search of the woman with whom her boyfriend has been cheating.

Alexandra is a transgender woman who is best friends with protagonist Sin-Dee Rella. She is a struggling musical performer and sex worker who has to navigate the streets of Hollywood.

Language

Multiple uses of strong language ('f**k', 'motherf**ker'). Milder terms include: 'bitch', 'shit' 'ass', 'whore', 'pussy', 'shit', 'Christ', 'Jesus', and 'dick'.

Sex

Sex scenes include sight of a man thrusting into a woman, oral sex implied by head movements, and implied masturbation. There is occasional breast and genital nudity in a sexual context. There are references to oral sex, masturbation, genitals and prostitution services.

Drugs

Occasional scenes of crack smoking.

Discriminatory language ('faggot', 'retard') and moderate threat.

Will & Grace

moderate sex references, language, drug misuse, sexual assault references

William Truman is an openly gay lawyer living in New York City with his best friend Grace. And of course, we can't talk about Will and Grace without mentioning Jack, Will's best friend, who has a passion for theatre and acting,

Call Me By Your Name

strong sex

Call Me By Your Name is a romantic drama in which a young man develops an infatuation with a guest at his family's idyllic Italian home.

Elio is a 17 year old boy who lives with his parents in rural Northern Italy. When Oliver, a graduate student, comes to stay with them, Elio begins a romantic relationship with him.

Sex

There are scenes depicting a young couple having sex, which contain some nudity. There is also a scene of oral sex between another couple and a scene of solo masturbation.

There is infrequent strong language ('f**k'), as well as milder bad language such as 'pussy' and 'asshole'.

Sex Education

18, strong sex, sex references, language, sexual assault

Sex Education tells the story of Otis, who has all the answers when it comes to sex advice, thanks to his therapist mom. So rebel Maeve proposes a school sex-therapy clinic.

Eric is one of the main characters in Sex Education. He is Otis' best friend who is gay and comes from a religious Nigerian/Ghanaian family.

Orange Is The New Black

strong language, sex, sex references, drug misuse

In Orange Is The New Black, Piper must trade her comfortable New York life for an orange prison jumpsuit when her decade-old relationship with a drug runner catches up with her.

Sophia Burset is a transgender inmate who was incarcerated with Piper at Litchfield Penitentiary

To find out where you can stream, buy or rent these films and shows, check out Find Any Film.