While media representation for marginalized groups is deeply important, finding films or series with LGBTQ Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) in leading roles can sometimes feel like searching for the needle in a haystack. While we’ve fortunately seen a rise of queer protagonists of color in the media during the past decade, accessing those titles online can still be a challenge. That’s why OutSmart has rounded up our favorite titles featuring LGBTQ protagonists of color. Some of these can be streamed free on YouTube or through other popular subscription-based streaming sites.
Mostly lost to time and overshadowed by contemporary lesbian romance films, this ’90s teen rom-com and coming-of-age story delivers just what the title promises. With complex characters and great chemistry from both the main couple and the ensemble cast, this film (which is available on YouTube) is fun, quirky, and perfect for a ’90s nostalgia night.
Perfect for fans of: Booksmart and But I’m a Cheerleader!
This offbeat Netflix comedy finds a lesbian couple in turmoil during their dual-bachelorette weekend getaway when one of them makes a shocking confession: she’s never had an orgasm. Funny and smart, this film avoids clichés and presents a surprisingly realistic yet hilarious take on the relationship between sex and communication.
Perfect for fans of: The Birdcageand The Half of It.
If Rent and Paris Is Burning had an indie baby, it would be this film. Featuring original musical numbers, this Broadway-esque dramedy centers around a Black gay teen who ventures into the Underground Ballroom scene in New York. Complete with dance-offs, romantic rivalries, and over-the-top camp, you’re guaranteed to have a good time with this film, which is available on Amazon Prime Video.
Perfect for fans of: Were the World Mine and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Featuring Pose stars MJ Rodriguez and Indya Moore in supporting roles, this indie drama follows a Black queer nonbinary teen who struggles to find their identity while dealing with a dysfunctional family following their father’s death. With brief musical interludes and top-notch cinematography, this emotional coming-of-age story will keep your attention from beginning to end. It is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Perfect for fans of: Pose and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Full of dark humor, this indie film takes a series of unexpected turns as two Black Muslim teens accidentally get caught up in a terrorist investigation. Complications ensue when they lie about their whereabouts in an attempt to hide their romantic relationship from family, friends, and the FBI. Wonderfully acted and surprisingly grounded, this is a story about two best friends who, despite their shared background and romantic feelings, fail time and time again to communicate properly. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, this Hulu pick is for you.
Perfect for fans of: Moonlight and Tangerine.
Based on a popular web novel, this Chinese fantasy series dives headfirst into the action-packed world of feuding Daoist sects as it slowly unravels the mysterious circumstances at the root of their conflict. Despite strict censorship laws in China, fans of the novel have praised the show for loyally adapting the dark and emotional themes of its source material, particularly the core romance between its two male leads. With great “found family” dynamics, political intrigue, and a heartwarming love story at its center, this pick is my new personal favorite. You can watch the full series on Netflix and YouTube.
Perfect for fans of: Sense8 and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
This competition-based HBO Max reality series follows eight established Ball Houses as they tackle a new challenge each week and deliver showstopping performances in hopes of becoming the Superior House of the week. Following strict Underground Ballroom rules─complete with an MC, a group of judges, and a live audience─each episode is sure to get you dancing and cheering for your favorite House. Native Houstonian and rapper Megan Thee Stallion is featured as one of the four main judges, alongside stylist Law Roach, professional dancer Leiomy Maldonado, and actress Jameela Jamil.
Perfect for fans of: Paris Is Burning and RuPaul’s Drag Race.
A Hulu Originals spin-off of the 2018 hit film Love, Simon, this series ventures back into fictional Creekwood High School as new student Victor Salazar embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Narrated through another round of email correspondence between Victor and Simon, the audience watches as Victor slowly comes to terms with his sexuality while dealing with the unexpected ups and downs of teenage life. With tons of heart and a cast full of well-rounded characters, this show is a great watch for audiences of all ages.
Perfect for fans of: Love, Simon and Riverdale.
Adapting a popular 1980s Japanese manga for modern audiences, this gritty anime series is not as lighthearted as its title might imply. Named after a mysterious drug code-named Banana Fish, the series follows a young American who is deeply embedded in New York City’s underworld as he teams up with an optimistic yet naive Japanese photographer to investigate the secrets surrounding the drug. With high-speed action scenes and an even higher body count, the story grips the audience from the very first scene. Fortunately, the relationship between the two leads grounds the story while also providing emotional relief throughout the intense series. Not exactly a good choice for winding down to, this Amazon Prime Video anime is great for anyone looking for an exciting and unique series featuring LGBTQ leads.
Perfect for fans of: Orphan Black and Killing Eve.
This Netflix buddy action-comedy is fairly unique with its straight-gay male protagonist duo Hap and Leonard, best friends who get roped into a variety of harebrained adventures and solve mysteries with other colorful characters. Based on a series of novels, each season masterfully adapts each book’s mystery adventures with such skill that it’ll keep you guessing until the end.
Perfect for fans of: Wynonna Earp and The Assasination of Gianni Versace.
Named after the historic gayborhood in Mexico City, this Mexican stand-up comedy Netflix Originals series features a diverse cast of comedians who pull from their own experiences as out members of Mexico’s LGBTQ community. A relatable, yet infinitely comedic set.
Perfect for fans of: Nannette and One Day at a Time.
Style icon and distinguished Argentinian fashion designer Edwin Salinas stars in this Netflix reality/docu-series depicting his glamorous life of runways and red carpets. Breaking down his design process from inception to the final garments, this inside look at the world of fashion from an intimate and personal perspective is as entertaining as it is inspiring.
Perfect for fans of: Queer Eye and Next In Fashion.