Backstory: I came out in 1997, the same year as Ellen and began making my way through the canon of the day, which consisted of primarily low-budget, independent films. My local Blockbuster wouldn’t even stock gay movies so I had to go to this one gift shop/video store in Midtown. I remember going there multiple times before I even could get out of the car. This list is dedicated to 23 year-old me who finally got up the nerve to go into Brushstrokes for the first time.
[Edit: I welcome your suggestions as I’m fully aware how biased this list is toward my lesbian identity. –Megan]
- Out With Dad (I recommend for teens 13+ very family friendly) A teen girl comes out to her father and navigates her first girlfriend and a crush on her best friend. The short episodes are available free online.
- Anyone But Me (I recommend for teens 15+ due to sexual situations) A teen girl who is already out to her father moves to the suburbs from New York City. She navigates coming out to new friends and having a long-ish distance girlfriend in the city.
- The Curiosity of Chance (not rated, recommended for 15+ because of sexual situations) The movie takes place in the 80s, so parents are bound to enjoy the nostalgia.
- Geography Club (PG-13, recommended for all teens) This film tells the story of a boy coming out to himself and getting support from his school’s underground GSA.
- Nina’s Heavenly Delights (PG-13, recommended for all teens) Nina returns to Glasgow to run her father’s curry house and in the process, reconnects with a childhood friend.
- Milk (rated R for language, some sexual content, and brief violence) Tells the story of gay activist Harvey Milk, who was California’s first openly gay elected official.
- The Celluloid Closet (documentary, rated R for footage of sexuality and violence) Billed as “a comprehensive documentary of the history of gays and lesbians in cinema.”
- The Fosters Follows a lesbian couple and their growing family.
- Faking It In an uber-liberal Austin, Texas high school, a popularity-obsessed girl concocts a fake lesbian relationship with her best friend to get noticed.
- The Parents Project “helping parents understand their LGBTQ kids”
- AfterEllen.com (lesbian, bi, and trans media resources)
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I watched the movie version of this in junior high and remember how amazing it felt seeing a lesbian relationship. Every kid should get this kind of validation.
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. Spoiler: one of the characters is a gay man.
- Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. The book was also made into a movie, where the lesbian relationship at its core was mostly erased — itself an interesting conversation topic.
- I’m From Driftwood is the LGBTQ story archive (think StoryCorps for the queer community). I’ve listened to a few and suspect the entire site will be friendly for most teens.
- “Dear Straight People” by Denice Frohman (I recommend for teens 14+ due to some language)
- One Unexpected Reason Coming Out Is Hard by BuzzFeedYellow
- All American Boy by Steve Grand (music video of a young man falling for another man)