LGBTQIA+ Awareness- For Adults

We have a list of recommendations for learning about LGBTQIA+ individuals and families. If you are an adult and are interested in learning more about the LGBTQIA+ world, challenges, and struggles that LGBTQIA+ people have faced, and continue to face, then we have listed suggestions below.

If you want to check up on any films or TV shows before you watch, check out the Common Sense media ( website for more information, potential triggering scenes, and any hard topics addressed in it.

TV Shows

  1. Feel Good (TV Show) This show stars Mae Martin as an Stand-up comedian and an addict. Mae is single, in recovery and stuck in a rut. But when she meets the previously heterosexual George, they embark on a whirlwind romance that promises to change their lives forever. Age 16+.
  2. Schitt’s Creek (TV Show) A wealthy family loses their entire fortune and is forced to rebuild their lives in a small town — their only remaining asset, with an off-putting name. Co-created by Eugene Levy and his son, Dan Levy, Schitt’s Creek is the sort of slow-simmer, quirky comedy that could only exist in our current TV landscape. It was a cult favorite with tepid reviews until it showed up on Netflix and became a bingeable staple. Dan Levy actually featured Little Pickle Memories on his ‘Top Picks’ on Etsy! Age 14+.
  3. Orange is the New Black (TV Show) This TV series follows the lives of women in prison. The story is based around Piper Chapman, a woman whose past history with a drug dealer (Alex Vause) eventually causes her to be sentenced to 15 months in prison. With 6 seasons, the show features characters in the LGBT community. Age 18+.
  4. Billions (TV Show) This drama about the feud between a self-righteous New York prosecutor and a sociopathic hedge-fund boss features Taylor, the numbers wizard who was briefly the main character’s protégé, then his blood rival, now his frenemy. The first non-binary character to ever be a TV series regular — who helped to bring they/them pronouns into the mainstream — Taylor is the most complex player Billions has, and most of the time, the closest thing the show has to a sympathetic figure. Age 17+.
  5. The Bisexual (TV Show) Leila is a thirtysomething Iranian American woman living in London who’s identified as a lesbian for most of her life, and is now coming to terms with the reality that her sexuality may be more complicated than that. Akhavan not only captures some of the most awkward and realistic sex scenes ever shared on TV, she also manages to lay out the tension within the LGBTQ+ community. Age 17+.
  6. Will and Grace (TV Show)  Set in New York City, the show focuses on the friendship between best friends Will Truman, a gay lawyer, and Grace Adler, a straight interior designer. The show spanned a total of eight seasons. Will & Grace has been one of the most successful television series with gay principal characters. Age 14+.
  7. You Me Her (TV Show). This American–Canadian comedy-drama television series revolves around a suburban married couple who are entering a three-way romantic relationship, otherwise known as a polyamorous relationship. This opens up a world of new challenges as they find themselves having to navigate their way through a minefield of prying, nosy neighbours with narrow social norms and prejudices, whilst at the same time struggling to confront their own feelings and insecurities, and adjust to the unfamiliar dynamic of a polyamorous relationship. Age 15+.
  8. Killing Eve (TV series) We love Killing Eve! This spy story is really a twisted love story, where messy, American-born British intelligence analyst Eve becomes obsessed with glamorous, immature assassin Villanelle. The cat-and-mouse game soon turns into one where the role of predator and prey keeps shifting. Age 16+.
  9. The L Word (TV series) The L word features queer women front and center. Although the characters may have lived in a mostly white, affluent soap-opera version of West Hollywood, filled with big romances and betrayals, the series became destination TV for a large swath of queer women and gender-nonconforming people. They gathered for “watch parties” to gossip and identify with the elaborate web of co-workers, roommates, lovers, and hookups. Age 16+.

Books about Gender

  1. Man Up: Boys, Men and Breaking the Male Rules, by Rebecca Asher (book). Man Up shows how changing expectations for boys and men will be good for all of us. Much is being done to change negative female stereotypes but we still expect that big boys don’t cry, strong and silent types get the girl, and that there is such a thing as a ‘real man’. Man Up confronts the reasons why boys are three times more likely than girls to be suspended from school, four times more likely to have behavioural difficulties, and why men make up 75% of suicides and 95% of prisoners. Available here.
  2. Everyday Sexism, by Laura Bates (book). After experiencing a series of escalating sexist incidents, Laura Bates inspires women to lead a real change with this powerful book, describing shocking, sometimes amusing and always poignant, everyday sexism. This book is a protest against inequality and a manifesto for change. It’s ‘a game-changing book, a must-read for every woman’. Available here.
  3. The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson (book). The Argonauts is a love story between writer Maggie Nelson and gender fluid artist Harry Dodge. This captivating memoir deeply explores the meanings of pregnancy, family, sex and love. In doing so, Nelson opens the reader’s mind to possibilities beyond the binary and the magic that happens when you get there. Available here.
  4. Trans Britain: Our Journey from the Shadows, by Christine Burns (book). This book aims to help its readers to understand gender identity and trans issues in today’s world by offering the perspectives of trans people and their stories. Available here.
  5. The Gender Agenda: A First Hand account of how girls and boys are treated differently, by Ros Ball and James Millar (book). From language and clothes, to toys and the media, society inflicts unwritten rules on each gender from birth. Originally through a Twitter account, a mum and dad recorded the drip-drip-drip of gendered messages their son and daughter received every day from society, relatives, school and even their parents themselves. Available here.
  6. Pink Brain, Blue Brain, by Lise Eliot (book). A practical and well researched book that explains how baby’s brains are so able to change, that small differences at birth become greater over time. The author offers concrete solutions for helping all children grow into well-rounded individuals. Available here.
  7. What Should We Tell Our Daughters? by Melissa Benn (book). Although feminism has made great strides forward since our mothers’ and grandmothers’ day, many of the key issues – equality of pay, equality in the home, representation at senior level in the private, public and political sectors – remain to be tackled. This is a manifesto for every mother who has ever had to comfort a daughter who doesn’t feel ‘pretty’, for every young woman who out-performs her male peers professionally and wonders why she is still not taken seriously, and for anyone interested in the world we are making for the next generation. Available here.
  8. We Should All be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (book), What does feminism mean today? Adapted from her TEDx talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers a definition of feminism for the 21st century, rooted in inclusion and awareness. Available here.
  9. Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (book) A letter from acclaimed author Adichie to a close friend on how to bring up her baby girl as a feminist. Practical, but also personal and moving. Available here.
  10. How Not to be a Boy, by Robert Webb (book) Robert Webb (half of Mitchell and Webb) tried to follow the rules for being a man: Don’t cry, Drink beer, Play rough, Don’t talk about feelings. Looking back over his life he asks whether these rules are actually of any use. To anyone. Available here.
  11. Living Dolls, by Natasha Walter (book) Empowerment, liberation, choice: once the watchwords of feminism, these terms have now been co-opted by a society that sells women an airbrushed, highly sexualised and increasingly narrow vision of femininity. Drawing on a wealth of research and personal interviews, Living Dolls is a straight-talking, passionate and important book that makes us look afresh at women and girls, at sexism and femininity – today. Available here.
  12. Testosterone Rex, by Cordelia Fine (book). Testosterone, so we’re told, is the very essence of masculinity, and biological sex is a fundamental force in our development. Psychologist Cordelia Fine, who shows, with wit and panache, that sex doesn’t create male and female natures. Instead, sex, hormones, culture and evolution work together in ways that make past and present gender dynamics only a serving suggestion for the future – not a recipe. Testosterone Rex brings together evolutionary science, psychology, neuroscience and social history to move beyond old `nature versus nurture’ debates, and to explain why it’s time to unmake the tyrannical myth of Testosterone Rex.  Available here.
  13. The Gendered Brain, by Gina Rippon (book). We live in a gendered world where we are bombarded with messages about sex and gender. On a daily basis we face deeply ingrained beliefs that your sex determines your skills and preferences, from toys and colours to career choice and salaries. But what does this constant gendering mean for our brains? Drawing on her work as a professor of cognitive neuroimaging, Gina Rippon unpacks the stereotypes that bombard us from our earliest moments and shows how these messages mould our ideas of ourselves and even shape our brains. Available here.
  14. When Boys Become Boys, by Judy Chu (book). Based on a two-year study that followed boys from pre-kindergarten through first grade, When Boys Become Boys offers a new way of thinking about boys’ development. Through focusing on a critical moment of transition in boys’ lives, Judy Y. Chu reveals boys’ early ability to be emotionally perceptive, articulate, and responsive in their relationships, and how these “feminine” qualities become less apparent as boys learn to prove that they are boys primarily by showing that they are not girls. Available here.
  15. Cinderella Ate My Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein (book). Peggy Orenstein offers a radical, timely wake-up call for parents, revealing the dark side of a pretty and pink culture confronting girls at every turn as they grow into adults. Sweet and sassy or predatory and hardened, sexualized girlhood influences our daughters from infancy onward, telling them that how a girl looks matters more than who she is. Available here.
  16. Boys & Sex, by Peggy Orenstein (book). Drawing on interviews with young men, psychologists and experts in the field, Boys & Sex dissects ‘locker room talk’; pornography as the new sex education; the role of empathy; boys’ understanding of hook-up culture and consent; and their experience as both perpetrators and victims of sexual assault. By presenting young men’s experience in all its complexity, Orenstein unravels the hidden truths, hard lessons and important realities of young male sexuality in today’s world. Available here.
  17. The Descent of Man, by Grayson Perry (book). Grayson Perry has been thinking about masculinity – what it is, how it operates, why little boys are thought to be made of slugs and snails – since he was a boy. Now, in this funny and necessary book, he turns around to look at men with a clear eye and ask, what sort of men would make the world a better place, for everyone? Available here.
  18. Inferior, by Angela Saini (book). Taking us on an eye-opening journey through science, Inferior challenges our preconceptions about men and women, investigating the ferocious gender wars that burn in biology, psychology and anthropology. Angela Saini revisits the landmark experiments that have informed our understanding, lays bare the problem of bias in research, and speaks to the scientists finally exploring the truth about the female sex. The result is an enlightening and deeply empowering account of women’s minds, bodies and evolutionary history. Available here.

Films about Gender

  1. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (film). Directed by Stephan Elliott, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert follows drag queens Anthony, Adam and transgender woman Bernadette as they travel across the Australian desert in Priscilla, a lavender tour bus, to perform a drag show in Alice Springs. Along the way, they encounter a number of obstacles including homophobic abuse, violence and, of course, other drag-related shenanigans. The Australian comedy film was lauded at the time of release for helping introduce LGBTQ+ themes to mainstream audiences. Age 16+.
  2. A Fantastic Woman (film). This film follows young trans woman Marina who is working as a singer and waitress in Santiago when her older boyfriend Orlando dies unexpectedly. The subsequent events highlight the struggles of living as a trans woman in a conservative society, as Marina faces investigation from detectives, loses her home and pet dog, and faces transphobia and abuse from Orlando’s family. Age 17+.
  3. Brokeback Mountain, 2005 (film). This film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, cowboy lovers in the American West in the 60s. Brokeback Mountain is widely regarded as a turning point for the advancement of LGBTQ+ stories in mainstream cinema. Age 15+.
  4. Pink Boy (short documentary). Documentary of a dress-wearing 6-year-old boy living in rural Florida and the family that creates a safe space for his sartorial choices.

Books about Sexuality

  1. The Stonewall Reader, edited by the New York Public Library (book) This book includes first-hand accounts, diaries and media drawn from the NY public library to show a historical account of the Stonewall riots, which were a pivotal moment in the history of queer politics. Available here.
  2. Queer Intentions – A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ+ Culture, by Amelia Abraham (book). Amelia Abraham explores contemporary queer culture, journeying from drag performances in LA to Turkish underground clubs in this insightful and wide-ranging discovery of LGBTQ life as it is lived.  A vibrant, wide ranging exploration of what it means to be queer now, Queer Intentions also asks who is being left behind and where we go from here as a global community. Available here
  3. How to Survive a Plague – The story of how activists and scientists tamed AIDS, by David France (book). David France’s insider account of the battle to stop the AIDS epidemic is the story of how grassroots activists harnessed scientific research to save lives, despite governmental and societal indifference. This devastating and heroic book is both a testament to the millions who lost their lives and to all who have survived because of the activists’ efforts. How to Survive a Plague is a story about community, and the individuals who put their lives on the line for it. Available here.
  4. How We Fight for Our Lives, by Saeed Jones (book). Saeed Jones’ timely memoir about growing up as a gay, black man in Texas in the late 1990’s gives an emotionally raw, intimate account of identity, sex, race, power and realisation in a time and place where “Being a black gay boy can get you killed”. Available here.
  5. Good as You, by Paul Flynn (book). Good as You discusses gay culture as it’s experienced in the clubs, pubs and living rooms of Britain and how that helped forge radical societal change. Including candid interviews from major protagonists, as well as the relative unknowns crucial to the gay community, we see how an unlikely group of bedfellows fought for equality both front of stage and in the wings. Available here.
  6. We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir, by Samra Habib (book). After being raised in the Ahmadi Muslim community in Pakistan, and regularly facing threats from Islamic extremists, Samra Habib’s family moved to Canada as refugees. There she encountered many new dangers, from racism, to poverty, to familial pressure to conform. This book gives a harrowing, yet hopeful account of the conflict between faith and sexuality, the power of speaking your truth, and the reconciliation of family and faith. Available here
  7. We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer liberation, by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown (book). This beautiful photographic journey from queer activism’s roots through to present day politics gives an inclusive account of the fight for queer freedom and equality, and offers an immersive history lesson direct from those who got us here. Available here
  8. The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, by Helena Whitbread (book). This personal testimony from 19th Century English landowner Anne Lister shows that LGBTQ people have always existed. Celebrated as “the first modern lesbian”, Anne kept diaries – written in code – which describe in detail her life as a woman who ‘could love, and only love the “fairer sex”‘. Available here

Films about Sexuality

  1. Happy Together, 1997 (film). Ho Po-Wing and Lai Yiu-Fai are a gay couple from Hong Kong with a tumultuous relationship marked by frequent separations and reconciliations. Something is wrong and their relationship goes adrift. A disillusioned Yiu-Fai starts working at a tango bar to save up for his trip home. When a beaten and bruised Po-Wing reappears, Yiu-Fai is empathetic but is unable to enter a more intimate relationship. After all, Po-Wing is not ready to settle down. Age 13+.
  2. But I’m a Cheerleader (film). Orange is the New Black star Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan Bloomfield, a popular high school cheerleader who is shipped off to conversion therapy camp after her parents discover her lesbianism. The conversion therapy camp aims to use a 5 step programme to cure her lesbianism. Age 14+.
  3. Paris is Burning, 1990 (film). A documentary of New York’s LGBT scene in the 1980s, showing the real life of poor Black and Latin LGBT people, introduce the ballrooms, the categories, the houses, the voguing, and the dreams and ambitions of these people who are systematically excluded from society, they fight to conquer the right to be and to reinvent themselves in a world starring straight and white people. Age 15+.
  4. Carol, 2015 (film). This romantic drama period film is based on the 1952 romance novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (republished as Carol in 1990). Set in New York City during the early 1950s, Carol tells the story of a forbidden affair between an aspiring female photographer and an older woman going through a difficult divorce. Age 16+.
  5. Prayers for Bobby, 2009 (film). Oscar-nominated actress Sigourney Weaver plays Mary Griffith, whose son Bobby commits suicide due to her intolerance over his homosexuality. Following his death, Mary questions herself and re-evaluates her religious beliefs, before committing the rest of her life to supporting the LGBTQ+ community in their fight towards equality. The Lifetime drama is based on a true story and adapts the book ‘Prayers for Bobby: A Mother’s Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son’. Age 16+.
  6. Weekend, 2011 (film). Weekend is a 2011 British romantic drama film directed by Andrew Haigh and starring Tom Cullen and Chris New as two men who meet and begin a sexual relationship the weekend before one of them plans to leave the country. Age 18+.
  7. Blue is the Warmest Color, 2013 (film). After meeting in a gay bar, French teenager Adèle falls in love with a blue-haired art student called Emma. The romantic drama follows their relationship from Adèle’s high school years until her adult life as a school teacher. Age 18+.
  8. My Beautiful Laundrette, 1985 (film). My Beautiful Laundrette is a British comedy-drama film. The story is set in London during the Thatcher years, as reflected in the complex, and often comical, relationships between members of the Pakistani and English communities. The story focuses on Omar, a young Pakistani man living in London, and his reunion and eventual romance with his old friend, a street punk named Johnny. The two become the caretakers and business managers of a launderette originally owned by Omar’s uncle Nasser. Age 15+.
  9. Love, Simon (film). Based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Love, Simon is an American romantic comedy featuring a typical high school kid with great friends and great parents. The only complication is that he hasn’t come out as gay. But when a classmate anonymously comes out, Simon finds himself falling for this mystery man online. Rated 12.
  10. Single all the Way, 2021 (film). This Christmas film focuses on a gay romance. Peter, a social media strategist living in Los Angeles, is tired of his entire family asking him about his single status each year when he visits them for the holidays. He is excited to bring his new boyfriend Tim to New Hampshire to meet them, until he finds out that Tim is married. Devastated, Peter convinces friend Nick to travel to New Hampshire with him and pretend that they are dating. Before they can announce their fake relationship, Peter’s mother Carole tells him that she has arranged a blind date for Peter. Age 13+.
  11. Show Me Love, 1998 (film). This film features two seemingly disparate teenage girls who begin a tentative romantic relationship. Agnes and Elin attend school in the small town of Åmål, Sweden. Elin is outgoing and popular but finds her life unsatisfying and dull. Agnes, by contrast, has no real friends and is constantly depressed. Agnes is in love with Elin but cannot find any way to express it. Age 15+.
  12. Call Me By Your Name (film). This film features themes of first love and heartbreak, as well as the dreamy and idyllic world. Based on the 2007 novel of the same name by André Aciman, the film is set in 1983 in Northern Italy and chronicles the brewing relationship between 17-year-old Elio Perlman and Oliver, a 24-year-old graduate assistant to Elio’s father. Age 16+.
  13. God’s Own Country (film). This same-sex British love drama, which takes place in the Yorkshire highlands, tells the story of sheep farmer Johnny whose life changes with the arrival of Romanian migrant Gheorghe. Having received almost universal acclaim, God’s Own Country is a must-see for lovers of queer cinema. Age 16+.
  14. The Imitation Game (film). Loosely based on the life of Alan Turing and the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma, The Imitation Game was praised for bringing Turing’s legacy to a wider audience Alan Turing was recruited by the newly created British intelligence agency MI6 to crack Nazi codes, including Enigma- which cryptanalysts had thought unbreakable. Turing’s team, including Joan Clarke, analyse Enigma messages while he builds a machine to decipher them. Turing and team finally succeed and become heroes, but in 1952, the quiet genius encounters disgrace when authorities reveal he is gay and send him to prison. Rated PG-13.
  15. Bohemian Rhapsody (film) Freddie Mercury- the lead singer of Queen- defies stereotypes and convention to become one of history’s most beloved entertainers. The band’s revolutionary sound and popular songs lead to Queen’s meteoric rise in the 1970s. After leaving the group to pursue a solo career, Mercury reunites with Queen for the benefit concert Live Aid — resulting in one of the greatest performances in rock ‘n’ roll history. Age 13+.
  16. Loev (film). Indian romantic drama film Loev explores the relationship between Wall Street deal maker Jai and Mumbai-based music producer Sahil , two friends with a complicated past who set off to the Western Ghats for the weekend. Loev, pronounced as ‘love’ has been one of Netflix’s biggest queer hits since it premiered on the streaming service in 2017. Age 15+.
  17. Milk (film). Milk chronicles the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, who memorably made history as the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California. This drama explores his move from New York to San Francisco, where he settles in the Castro District and opens a camera shop as a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as his murder at the hands of Dan White. Age 13+.
  18. Moonlight (film). This groundbreaking queer coming-of-age tale that charts the life of disenfranchised African-American man Chiron and takes viewers through three pivotal chapters in his life. ‘Little’ follows a young nine-year-old ‘Chiron’ as he grows up with a drug addict mother in a rough neighbourhood in Miami; Chiron shows his awkward and painful teenage years, including bullying he experienced at school; and finally ‘Black’, which shows how he’s developed as a fully-grown man, and the internalisation of his sexuality. Age 17+.
  19. The Normal Heart (film). Told through the eyes of Ned Weeks, the founder of a prominent HIV/AIDS advocacy group, the film depicts the rise of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York City between 1981 and 1984. The Normal Heart is one of the most devastating LGBTQ+ films of all time and a reminder of those who paved the way for the LGBTQ+ community today. Age 17+.
  20. Philadelphia (film). One of the first films in history to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality and homophobia, Philadelphia stars Tom Hanks as Andrew “Andy” Beckett, a closeted gay man who hides his status from his co-workers at a prestigious corporate law firm. Over 20 years after its release, Philadelphia is still widely regarded as one of the most impactful films in queer cinema. Rated PG-13.
  21. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (film) Set in France in the late 18th century, Portrait of a Lady on Fire tells the story of a forbidden love affair between Héloïse, an aristocrat, and Marianne, an artist commissioned to paint her portrait. Age 15+.
  22. Pride (film) It may not be a traditional tear-jerker, but this feel-good story of community – based on true events and featuring an all-star cast – will leave you weeping with pride. A group of lesbian and gay activists come together to raise money for families affected by the 1984 British miners’ strike, which ultimately formed the highly successful Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. It was instrumental in the progression of LGBTQ+ issues in the United Kingdom. The film is a must-watch for anyone LGBTQ+ or simply interested in queer British history. Rated 15.
  23. Rafiki (film), Tensions run high when Kena and Ziki start a same-sex love affair and are forced to hide their affection from the Kenyan locals. Homosexuality is still illegal in the African nation, and when they are caught, they are confronted by an angry mob. However, with this film the fictional discrimination on screen shone a harsh spotlight on the reality queer people in Kenya face when the Kenya Film Classification Board banned its release because of its “homosexual theme”. Director Wanuri Kahiu sued the Kenyan government to get the film released so it could be submitted as the country’s entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The ban was lifted for seven days and went on to sell out cinemas, becoming the second highest-grossing Kenyan film of all time. Age 14+.
  24. Tangerine (film), Filmed using only three iPhone 5S smartphones, Tangerine follows Los Angeles-based transgender sex worker Sin-Dee Rella, who finds out that from her best friend Alexandra that her boyfriend and drug dealer Chester has been cheating on her with a cisgender woman while she’s been in prison. What follows is a hilarious buddy-comedy that puts trans narratives at the forefront without reducing them to victims or forcing sympathy from viewers. Tangerine, importantly, set a precedent for casting trans actors in trans roles. Age 12+.
  25. To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (film), Arguably one of the most iconic LGBTQ+ comedies of all time, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar features Vida, Noxeema and Chi-Chi, three fierce drag queens who embark on a road trip from New York City to Los Angeles for the Miss Drag Queen of America Pageant – accompanied by an autographed photo of Julie Newmar. During the journey, their car breaks down, leaving them stranded in a small town. Age 13+.

Get 10% off your first order by subscribing to our newsletter below.