WorldPride is just around the corner and we could not be more pumped for the next few weeks of 2023.
While the rainbow celebrations, glitter-fuelled performances and drag icons and legends that are set to fill your world are no doubt the highlight, we love that this time is also a chance to really champion, get behind and amplify LGBTQIA+ voices and stories even more.
Helping us serve up this 'must' list in time for WorldPride is SKYN®—Australia's #1 condom and lubricant brand. In 2023, SKYN® is proudly donating $2 from every product purchased off their website to LGBTQIA+ community charities. So if you're after safe and fun pleasure, you know where to stock up.
Read on for our guide to the best shows, movies, books, podcasts and documentaries championing LGBTQIA+ voices and stories.
Not So PG
This deadly podcast series is wholeheartedly one to binge. Dropping fresh episodes weekly, Not So PG, hosted by Matty Mills and Brooke Blurton, brings to your ears an unfiltered version of their experiences and how they navigate the tumultuous world of the media industry (cue lots of helpful career tips). The two are not only major media personalities but also two First Nations queer icons who’ll be dishing the dirt and diving into the realness of finding love and forging relationships. Listen here.
Come Out Wherever You Are
If you don’t already follow Sean Szeps on the ‘gram, do yourself a favour and go check him out. Done? Great. Now that you’ve fallen in love with him, just like us, you also need to get around his absolutely stellar podcast Come Out Wherever You Are. As the name suggests, this poddy is all about the lived experience of coming out, told by people who have actually done it. Listen here.
Queer As Fact
Sink your teeth into Queer As Fact, a podcast run by four Melbourne-based queer legends with a background in history and a juicy passion for sharing queer stories. Each episode dives headfirst into topics from all around the world including the gay and lesbian kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands, queerness in the Golden Age of piracy and the lost archives of Frida Kahlo. Listen here.
Brenda Call Me
Charged up and with no topic off limits (quite literally), Brenda Call Me is the podcast that will give you more pep than your morning coffee. Those familiar with the drag-verse will know all about the sisterhood that is Courtney Act and Vanity but if you don’t—you've got a stack of joyous catching up to do. Chatting all things drag and what’s going on in the lives of these two iconic and hilarious queens, you’ll be in absolute tears every episode. Listen here.
One of three films to come out of Netflix’s Emerging Filmmaker Initiative, Heart Shot is a 20-minute queer, drama-meets-action film. Directed (and co-written) by Marielle Woods, who you know from the likes of Cobra Kai and Westword, this movie follows Sam and Nikkie. The two are in love but evidently come from very different worlds. Sam is about to head off to college while Nikkie, well, let’s just say Nikkie is more focused on getting through a toxic upbringing. Watch the trailer here.
Spoiler, some have called Three Months the LGBTQI+ iteration of Juno but instead of focusing on teen pregnancy, the film hones in on breaking the stigma around HIV. This one also stars the Aussie angel that is Troye Sivan so… go forth. Watch the trailer here.
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga
If you haven’t already watched Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (which translates to ‘How I Felt When I Saw That Girl), you’re truly in for a goodie. This Indian Hindi-language film is a beautiful coming-of-age rom-com that has very much been a major game-changer for queer Bollywood flicks. Watch it and love it.
This lesser-known arthouse movie, an adaptation of Scott Heim’s 1995 of the same name, is an LGBTQIA+ flick that everyone needs to stream. Without giving anything away (because the storyline here is absolutely 10/10), Mysterious Skin doesn’t shy away from some of the darkest traumas life can throw at you. Bring the tissues.
This one still stands as one of our favourite LGBTQIA+ movies to date so if it hasn’t been on your radar yet, it is now. This super gutsy movie stars Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams—a duo that speaks for itself about how good this watch is. Following photographer Ronit Krushka as she returns to an Orthodox Jewish Community in London after the death of her rabbi father, Krushka stirs controversy when she begins to show an interest in her old childhood friend. Watch the trailer here.
All My Friends Are Racist
Low-key one of the greatest TV shows of all time. All My Friends Are Racist follows the multifaceted lives of a queer influencer and a sprouting lawyer living it up in Brisvegas. That is until they’re cancelled for calling out racism. While one is convinced it’s the end of their social lives as they know it, the other sees it as an opportunity to kickstart a revolution.
Our Flag Means Death
This hilarious comedy is very loosely based on the true adventures of Stede Bonnet, a pampered aristocrat who abandons his life of privilege to become a pirate. Depited endearingly by comedy favourite, Rhys Darby, Bonnet trades in his comfortable life for one of a buccaneer, timidly captaining a pirate ship manned by a potentially mutinous crew. Stede’s fortunes change after a fateful run-in with the infamous Captain Blackbeard, played by Taika Waititi. Go in with no inhibitions. Come out on the other side with your new favourite LGBTQIA+ TV show. You’re welcome.
Enter your new feel-good show. Think boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. Charlie and Nick meet at secondary school and they quickly embrace a budding romance. Heartstopper will quite literally do just that, with its sensitive take on navigating the journey of self-discovery, identity and acceptance.
There’s pretty much nothing Heartbreak High hasn’t covered. You’ve got autistic queer representation, sexual awakenings and a host of non-binary, asexual and lesbian characters. Around that, this reboot of the original Australian YA series (which ran for seven seasons in the mid-to-late 90s) follows Amerie who forges a mysterious and very public rift with her ride-or-die Harper at Hartley High. With her new friends, outsiders Quinni and Darren, Amerie tries to repair her reputation, while navigating love, sex, and heartbreak.
Brace yourself for a story of underground ball culture, gay and trans communities, the AIDS crisis and that nifty lil’ thing we all know as capitalism. You have three seasons to get through with an all-star cast featuring Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore and Billy Porter so get watching.
Tracing the incredible stories and life of Uncle Jack Charles, Born Again Blakfella is a semi-autobiographical novel about Charles’ incredible life as an Indigenous elder, Australian theatre pioneer and proud LGBTQIA+ community leader. In a mixture of heart-wrenching and deeply colloquial narration, the late Uncle Jack Charles talks through his entire life from the beginnings as a child of the stolen generation, his experience suffering sexual abuse while living in a boys’ home, repeat imprisonment and living with substance addiction to the reconnection to his Indigenous heritage in inner-city Melbourne and the discovery of his sexuality and the difficulties of being gay during the 70s and 80s in Australia. Buy it here.
Caught In The Act
By Shane Jenek
This memoir is legit and one you can definitely read more than once. Easily one of Australia’s most fearless and memorable talents, Courtney Act hails from humble beginnings and from time to time, Shane Jenek (which one is the alter ego, we’ll never really know). Not only does this fearless story take you back to a time before Rupaul’s Drag Race but also along a path of collective understanding of gender, identity and sexuality. You’ll hang onto every word tighter than your emotional support water bottle. Buy it here.
Nothing But My Body
By Tilly Lawless
No big deal but Tilly Lawless is truly a queer icon. The Sydney-based sex worker is renowned for the incredible prose she airs on her Instagram and for years now she’s shared her experiences within the sex industry in an attempt to shine a light on the everyday stigma that sex workers come up against. This book is a thought-provoking journey through a week in her life set against the backdrop of those cataclysmic bushfires of 2019 and coronavirus lockdowns. At its heart though, it’s a gentle celebration of the queer community in all its comforts and discomforts. Buy it here.
Love This For You
By Deni Todorovic
Deni Todorovic is the accidental lovechild of the digital world and self-love. The OGs know that when Deni started their famed Instagram page, Style By Deni, they simultaneously created one of the safest spaces on the internet with key learnings and insightful reflections on everything from family and culture to friendship, dating and career goals. Unsurprisingly, their book is nothing short of this and is a serious pageturner you need on your bookshelf. Buy it here.
SBS On Demand
Take a front-row seat and witness one of the best LGBTQIA+ documentaries known to the world. Black Divas was created to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, showcasing the Indigenous LGBTQIA+ community. It follows drag queens from around the country as they compete for the top spot in the inaugural Miss First Nation Pageant.
This doco delivers an unprecedented and eye-opening look at transgender depictions in film and television, revealing how Hollywood simultaneously reflects and manufactures our deepest anxieties about gender. Leading trans thinkers and creatives, including Laverne Cox, Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, MJ Rodriguez, Jamie Clayton, and Chaz Bono, share their reactions and resistance to some of Hollywood’s most cherished moments. Reframing familiar scenes and iconic characters in a new light, director Sam Feder invites viewers to confront unexamined assumptions and shows how what once captured the public’s imagination now elicits new feelings. This one is an absolute must-watch.
The history of the Stonewall Riots is equally as cherished as it is charged. There are questions of who was there, who "threw the first brick" and who can claim Stonewall. This doco doesn’t answer these questions but instead, it aims to expand the story of Stonewall by including more voices in its telling by bringing together people from over 50 years of LGBTQ activism to explore the ongoing legacy of Stonewall.
Paris Is Burning
While the word “iconic” definitely gets thrown around a lot, Paris Is Burning is a seriously iconic documentary in every damn way. Filmed in the 80s, it records ball culture (think the start of drag culture) and all the African-American, Latino, gay and trans communities who built it. It’s long been hailed as a landmark historical perspective into how voguing started and where “throwing shade” derived from.
Editor's note: This article was produced in partnership with SKYN®. who have launched their Over The Rainbow campaign to celebrate Pride in February, on its own initiative. Thank you for supporting the partners who make Urban List possible. To read our editorial policy, click here.