The category of LGBTQ film is a curious thing indeed. While plenty of films have presented queer characters and stories, for a majority of the genre’s existence, those people and stories have been coded, not explicitly explored and left to the audience’s own interpretations. Today, we live in a much different world. In the last 30 years or so, LGBTQ films have been able to push boundaries, to revel in their explorations of queerness and in 2018, films like Love, Simon — which tells the story of a teenage boy finding the right way to come out to his friends and family — are making their way into theaters.
Coming-of-age queer cinema is a relatively small and, in the timeline of LGBTQ film, relatively new subgenre. That said, its value cannot be overstated. To see younger folks coming to terms with their sexuality and gender identity when it doesn’t fall within cisgender, heterosexual norms is pivotal for audiences who may need to see characters like themselves to relate to. Luckily, there are some notable queer coming-of-age films that have become some of the best representatives of the genre.
Keep clicking to see what films made the cut.
A version of this story was originally published in March 2018.