Stream (And Swoon Over) These LGBTQ+ Rom-Coms

conrad ricamora and joel kim booster in the film fire island photo by jeong park courtesy of searchlight pictures © 2022 20th century studios all rights reserved
16 Best LGBTQ+ Romantic Comedies To Watch In 2023Photo Credit: Jeong Park
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Picture this: It’s Friday night, aka prime time to escape into the blissful world of movies and TV and forget all about Janet from accounting. But instead of tuning into your favorite feel-good sitcom for the zillionth time, why not watch a film featuring an LGBTQ+ love story? From recent hits like Fire Island to cult classics like But I'm A Cheerleader, LGBTQ+ romantic comedies have always been a key part of mainstream entertainment.

"The power of media, especially film and television, is so personal," says Megan Townsend, Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis at GLAAD. "There is tremendous power in seeing people who look like you and love like you going through the same types of experiences." She stresses that, particularly for LGBTQ+ youth, it’s necessary that popular culture "includes someone like you in an important and central way."

The presence of LGBTQ+ rom-coms "situates LGBTQ+ people firmly within our cultural landscape," adds Julia Himberg, PhD, associate professor and director of film and media studies at Arizona State University. She notes that though rom-coms are often undervalued as "fluff," they're actually "a vital genre for us to be seen and validated in those relationships, whatever they may look like." In fact, Himberg says, "These films contribute to social change, precisely because of their comedy."

It’s important to note that, while many LGBTQ+ films feature characters coming out to friends and family, that’s not a necessity. "There is still value in coming out stories," says Townsend. "We saw that with Love, Simon. People felt so passionately about it [because] it reflected part of their journey. What I would love to see in any future coming-out stories is focusing on the communities and the identities who have not had the chance to see that part of their story on-screen."

With all that in mind, grab the popcorn and settle in for one of these 16 best LGBTQ+ love stories that offer equal parts humor and heart:

Crush (2022)

Paige’s dream of attending art school is jeopardized when she’s suspected to be “KingPun,” an anonymous student who vandalizes their high school with pun-based graffiti. When Paige is forced to join the track team to avoid suspension and find the real culprit, she uses it as an opportunity to try to get close to Gabby, her long-time crush. Instead, she finds herself falling for someone else.

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Anything's Possible (2022)

Billy Porter’s directorial debut follows Kelsa, a trans high schooler who shares her personal experiences online through a YouTube vlog. When a romance begins to blossom between her and her classmate Khalid, Kelsa is quickly swept up in a whirlwind of friendship drama and young love. Along with being adorable, Anything’s Possible is also groundbreaking as the first teen rom-com movie by a major film studio to star a Black trans lead.

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Fire Island (2022)

In this modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a group of queer best friends set out on their annual summer vacation to Fire Island—but an unexpected change of events turns their week-long trip into a messy, romance-filled adventure. Written by and starring Joel Kim Booster, this GLAAD Media Award-winning movie also features a star-studded cast including Bowen Yang and Margaret Cho.

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Dating Amber (2020)

Set in 1990s Ireland, this romantic dramedy revolves around Eddie and Amber—two closeted teenagers who start a fake relationship to escape school bullying and prejudice from their conservative rural town. Dating Amber is a touching coming-of-age story about societal expectations, platonic queer love, and self-acceptance.

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Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt) (2020)

High school senior Ellie wants to invite her crush Abbie to the Year 12 formal. When Ellie accidently comes out to her mom and struggles to approach Abbie, she gets advice from her deceased aunt Tara, a lesbian activist from the 1980s who acts as a fairy godmother to help guide Ellie through the highs and lows of her first love. This award-winning Australian teen rom-com is based on a 2016 play by Monica Zanetti, the film’s director and writer.

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Bros (2022)

Bobby (Billy Eichner) is a podcast host and museum curator who prides himself on being single. However, that changes when he meets Aaron (Luke McFarlane), an equally detached lawyer and commitment-phobe who dreams of becoming a chocolatier. The two are continually drawn to each other and are forced to navigate their true feelings and insecurities. Executive produced and co-written by Eichner, the film features a predominantly LGBTQ+ cast, including Jai Rodriguez, TS Madison, Miss Lawrence, and Dot-Marie Jones.

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Cloudburst (2011)

Stella and Dotty are an elderly lesbian couple from Maine who have been together for more than 30 years. When Dotty’s granddaughter moves her into a nursing home, the couple take off on a road trip to Nova Scotia, Canada to get married. Starring Academy Award winners Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker, Cloudburst is an adaptation of a 2010 play of the same name.

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The Half of It (2020)

In this modern rethinking of Cyrano de Bergerac, shy brainiac Ellie lives in a remote town with her widowed father and runs a side hustle doing other students’ homework. Everything changes when affable jock (and grade-A himbo) Paul pays her to write letters to his crush, Aster. Directed by the masterful Alice Wu, this film will have you laughing, cringing, and saying, “Awww,” from beginning to end.

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The Feels (2018)

Starring Constance Wu and Angela Trimbur, The Feels peeks in at a bachelorette weekend between two brides, Andi and Lu, about to marry one another. When Lu reveals she’s never had an orgasm, her wife-to-be and their friends rally around her. The end result? A film full of honesty, humor, and heart.

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Love, Simon (2018)

Based on the book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, this is the first film by a major Hollywood studio to focus on a gay teenage romance. Simon (Nick Robinson) is a soft-spoken high schooler who has a close-knit group of friends but is reluctant to come out to them. When an anonymous coming-out confession is posted to the school’s message board, Simon reaches out to the writer. In trying to figure out that person’s identity, Simon discovers more about his own.

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Saving Face (2005)

Another spectacular film by Alice Wu, Saving Face follows Wil, a successful surgeon living in New York City. While Wil is out as a lesbian to her friends, she has not yet come out to her mother, Gao. When Gao becomes pregnant out of wedlock, the two are forced to share their deepest insecurities and come together to create their own futures.

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Booksmart (2019)

Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is a quirky, gut-busting, coming-of-age comedy with a killer soundtrack. Best friends Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) have spent their entire high school careers working to get into top-rated universities, only to realize the day before graduation that they’ve never lived their true party potential. While the main thrust of the movie is the deep platonic friendship between Amy and Molly, plenty of screen time is spent discussing Amy’s sexuality and long-standing crush on skater girl Ryan. Just don’t forget the K-beauty face masks and matching jumpsuits.

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But I'm a Cheerleader (2000)

This cult classic stars Natasha Lyonne as Megan, a—you guessed it!—cheerleader who hasn’t yet come to terms with her sexuality. The dark twist comes when her parents send her to a gay conversion camp where she, ironically, begins to truly accept herself. Add in Clea DuVall as Graham, Megan’s fellow camper and eventual love interest, and you have a quirky satirical teen rom-com fit for any sleepover.

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Alex Strangelove (2018)

In this heartfelt teen love story, high schooler Alex is determined to lose his virginity to his girlfriend Claire. But when he meets Elliot, an openly gay student, he calls everything he once knew into question. Make sure you watch all the way to the end—the credits feature some real-life coming out stories that are sure to pull at your heart strings.

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Imagine Me & You (2005)

What is more “rom-com” than love at first sight? Well, maybe if you experience that while walking down the aisle...about to get married to someone else. Here starts Imagine Me and You, which features Piper Perabo as bride-then-newlywed Rachel and Lena Headey as florist-turned-wedding guest Luce. Rachel and Luce continue to run into one another after the wedding and must figure out what they mean to each other.

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Go Fish (1994)

College student Max knows who she is—or at least, she thinks she does—until she meets Ely. This indie comedy explores many facets of lesbian life and culture, and was a landmark release at Sundance, earning a Grand Jury Prize nomination.

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