For the historical drama geeks:
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019).
Honorable mentions: Tipping the Velvet (2002 mini-series) and Maurice.
Streaming on Hulu.
I love historical dramas and, surprisingly, you can find many historical movies and shows featuring queer people. Portrait of a Lady on Fire follows Marianne, a painter commissioned to paint the portrait of a young woman, Héloïse, for her wedding. However, Héloïse does not wish to be married so Marianne must paint her secretly. This movie is beautifully shot while telling a loving relationship between two women.
For the lesbians:
The Watermelon Woman (1996).
Honorable mentions: Saving Face (2004). But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
Streaming on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Roku.
Sometimes it can be hard to find movies and tv shows with lesbian representation. Directed and starring Cheryl Dunye, The Watermelon Woman tells the story of a young Black lesbian working a day job while trying to make a documentary about a Black actress known for playing the stereotyped “mammy” roles in the 1930s. This movie is artistically shot in a variety of storytelling ways that cinephiles will surely love.
Disclosure (2020). Streaming on Netflix.
Honorable mentions: Kiki (2016)
Disclosure reflects on trans representation in Hollywood and its effect on trans lives and American culture. The 2020 documentary features trans stars including Laverne Cox, Susan Striker, Candis Cayne, and Chaz Bono, among others. Its powerfully messaging and clips of Hollywood cinema throughout time provide a well-rounded story of trans lives in American media.