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An illustration of two women snuggling on a couch, looking at a laptop with a sticker of a rainbow flag on the back, sitting on top of a stack of books about LGBTQ history

Illustration: Vicky Leta

There are as many paths to exploring queer history as there are people who have lived it, and many legends we’ve nearly forgotten about who, in a more just world, would be household names. History can provide inspiration, and can also help us to avoid making the same damn mistakes again and again—mistakes like forgetting that trans people of color were at the vanguard of gay liberation.

Pride is a time to celebrate, honor, and remember all of it, whether you’re trans, bi, ace, poly, pan, intersex, nonbinary, or anywhere else on the gender and sexual identity and expression spectrum… or just proud to support your queer friends.

These 30 movies reflect elements of modern queer (LBGTQ) history—sometimes dramatized, sometimes documentary, and sometimes because the film itself made history. They reflect decades of love, sex, activism, and artistry. Some call for tolerance, while others throw up a middle finger in response to narrow-minded bigotry. Many ask us to love one another, but others demand that we take up the battle cry: Be gay, do crimes.

Or just put on your cha-cha heels and watch some good movies. You do you. (And feel free to let us know your own favorites in the comments.)

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