It’s Pride Month 2021 and all across the country, the LGBTQ+ community and its allies are celebrating the beauty of the community in ways big and small. One of those ways some may be celebrating this year is by watching movies that celebrate the queer experience and LGBTQ+ characters across the spectrum. Our own celebration is shining a spotlight on some of our favorite LGBTQ+ characters in movies and TV. Dig our list, pop on one or two of these movies, and celebrate Pride 2021.
Damian – Mean Girls
All hail Damian, the bestie sidekick who is “too gay to function.” The early 2000s wasn’t exactly a kind time to depictions of gay men in movies, but Damien rises above the stereotypes. In an era in which gay men in movies were often closeted or bullied, Damian was unabashedly, unapologetically unafraid to be himself. Plus, seeing him tell off some bullies and throw a shoe at them is, we can’t deny, amazingly cathartic.
Taylor – Billions
As Taylor on Showtime’s Billions, Asia Kate Dillon became the first openly nonbinary actor and character on a major TV show. Taylor is an inspiration: Brilliant and straightforward, they’ve become an integral part of the series. Every time they’re on screen, Taylor more than holds their own against the more experienced characters around them in every scene they share.
David Rose – Schitt’s Creek
In so many ways, David Rose of Schitt’s Creek is the ideal to be striving for when it comes to writing queer characters. Yes, he’s pansexual, and yes, he’s dramatic but…who cares? His queerness is never the source of major strife, drama, or trauma for the character in the way it is for so many other LGBTQ+ characters. In fact, it’s never even questioned. It just…is, like his hair is black and fashion sense keen. David’s pansexuality is merely one small facet of who he is, not what defines him.
Amy – Booksmart
Booksmart is arguably the most underrated coming-of-age story of the past decade, and while Beanie Feldstein’s Molly takes the most focus, it’s Kaitlyn Dever’s Amy who is the heart of the film. Her sweet story of coming to terms with her sexuality and growing crush on a classmate, and her shy, awkward attempts to make out with the first girl she’s ever kissed are poignant and relatable, no matter your sexual orientation or gender.
Chiron – Moonlight
Moonlight‘s Chiron was a groundbreaking character, one of the first times a story about a gay Black man has been told on screen. Certainly the first time it has been told with such sensitivity and depth, and that’s thanks to Chiron being such a complex and heartbreaking character. His story sticks with you long after it ends.
Joe and Nicky – The Old Guard
Joe and Nicky are relationship goals. They just are. Their romance has lasted literal centuries, their love for one another burning just as brightly as when they first met entire lifetimes ago. Fiercely devoted to one another, the magic of Nicky and Joe is that they have the comfort of operating as a well-oiled machine after centuries, but not a single spark of their passion and dedication has faded. Genuinely one of the most beautiful love stories ever put on screen, queer or not.
Lisbeth Salander – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Whether played by Noomi Rapace in the original Swedish version or Rooney Mara in the U.S. remake, Lisbeth Salander is a force to be reckoned with and one of the most fascinating characters on screen. Statistics have shown that bisexual women are more likely to face sexual abuse and assault, but less likely to reach out to support networks about it. Lisbeth is also a survivor, but she has found ways to take her brilliance and her sexuality and weaponize them to track down the men who would prey on women, including bisexual women like her. Empowering doesn’t even begin to cut it.
Dr. Frank-N-Furter – The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Fierce. Fabulous. Wicked. Utterly unapologetic with who he is, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, the self-proclaimed “Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania” is one of the greatest queer icons of all time, and with good reason. Tim Curry’s wholehearted performance as the gender-bending, cross-dressing mad scientist remains a symbol of androgyny and sexual freedom. For this and for so many other reasons, The Rocky Horror Picture Show singlehandedly helped increase visibility for the LGBTQ+ community at a time it badly needed it.
Tammy Metzler – Election
What’s a teenage girl to do to mend her broken heart when her girlfriend dumps her for her own brother? She goes full-on, vengeance-fueled petty and run for student class president against her jerk brother and awful ex, that’s what. It’s why we love Election‘s Tammy Metzler, who, despite being a smaller role, stole every scene she was in. Tammy’s speech that wins the student body to her side is arguably the high point of the movie, and in the end, Tammy wins when she gets sent to an all-girls school. We love a petty queen.
Eliot Waugh – The Magicians
In a show full of complex, prickly characters, Eliot might have been the most complex of them all. Originally starting out as a louche, 21st-century Oscar Wilde knockoff, Eliot grew to become one of the most fascinating characters on TV. His chronic depression was explored as sensitively as his struggles as a gay man who fell hard and put up a wall to protect himself. Eliot’s streak of self-loathing ran deep, but his witty barbs and on-point banter with his bff Margo injected vibrance and humor into a show that could sometimes be a little too serious. The bottle episode where he and Quentin grow old together in another timeline is one of the most memorable in any recent series and a punch right in the heart. By the end of The Magicians‘ five-season run, Eliot was arguably the most heroic character of them all. What a ride it was.
To celebrate Pride 2021 and do some good, you can donate to The Trevor Project.