Every Good Queer and Trans Movie Streaming on HBO Max

What movies with lesbian, bisexual, queer, and trans women in them can a person find streaming on Max? This is a question you might have, and good news, we are here to answer it.

Historically, HBO has been pretty good to the LGBTQ community, producing a lot of inclusive original content, but only a limited number of these titles are currently available on Max, and their library isn’t as robust as it once was.

This post was originally published in November 2020. Most recent update: 1/2/2024.


All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (2022)

“Laura Poitras’ remarkable documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is about Nan Goldin and her work,” wrote Drew Gregory of this award-winning film about legendary bisexual photographer Nan Goldin. “It’s also about Goldin’s campaign to take down the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue Pharma, the company who manufactured Oxycontin. The brilliance of the film is it shows these aspects of her life to be one in the same.”

Bessie (2015, HBO)

#37 on our Best Lesbian Movies Of All Time List

This immediate classic and multiple-Emmy-winner co-written and directed by Dee Rees (Pariah, When We Rise, Mudbound) stars Queen Latifah as bisexual American blues singer Bessie Smith and features Mo-Nique as Ma Rainey. Gabby described this “badass bisexual biopic,” declaring, “this movie is well-done, like so well-done. The vaudeville stage moments and all of the singing in clubs and giant tent revivals are lively and beautiful. The black excellence in this film is something to behold and revel in. Everyone is gorgeous. The costumes, the wigs, the make-up, the dancing: all of it is authentic and just so much damn fun to watch.”

Birds of Prey: The Fantabulous Emancipation of Harley Quinn (2020)

“There’s the gay that you know because the movie says it with their words,” Carmen wrote of the film she described as “the chaotic sparkly queer misandrist comic book movie of my dreams,” “and there’s the gay you know because you can see it with your eyes. Birds of Prey, with its neon pink and blue hues, glitter bomb grenades, pet hyenas in rhinestone collars, and car chases on roller skates, gives us both.”

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)

Drew writes that this “cruel movie about cruel women” is worth it for its “camerawork, costume design, and incredible performances from Margit Carstensen, Hanna Schygulla, and Irm Hermann.”

Call Me Miss Cleo (2022, HBO)

With commentary from celebrities like (gay) Raven-Symoné, Cleo’s friends and her partners, this documentary sheds light on the mysterious life of a psychic hotline guru — “her rise to fame, fall from grace, and eventual embrace of her truest self.”

Desert Hearts (1986)

#4 on Best Lesbian Movies of All Time

“Donna Deitch’s lesbian love story is set in the ’50s and was filmed in the ’80s, and is still, in 2020, a radical piece of filmmaking,” wrote Heather in her review of this classic based on Jane Rule’s novel. “It basically has an all-women cast, and — much like Carol, which is what critics tend to compare it to for all the wrong reasons — it does not center the pleasures or preferences of men, ever.”

The Fallout (2021)

During a school shooting, bisexual high school student Vada (Jenna Ortega) ends up hiding in the bathroom with her schoolmates, dancer Mia (Maddie Ziegler), and Quinton (Niles Fitch), whose brother os killed in the shooting. As Vada’s trauma makes her feel increasingly isolated from those closest to her and school itself, she begins spending all her time with Mia. “The two girls have nothing in common,” writes Analyssa in her review, “except for literally the most important thing to ever happen to them.” Their relationship gets increasingly intense.

Gia (1998, HBO)

An underrated film I have personally discussed so much on this website that it may have at some point crossed the line from underrated to overrated, Angelina Jolie plays the tragically beautiful (and very bisexual) titular figure Gia Marie Carangi, known as “world’s first supermodel.”

still of angelina jolie playing Gia in "Gia", wearing a leather jacket and looking longingly at some dolls

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

“This film explores some of my favorite themes all in one glossy, campy, self-aware package: misandry, women being extremely gay together, principled revenge, and the triumph of aught culture.” – Erin Sullivan, “I Watched Lebianish Classic “Jennifer’s Body” and Now I Love Cinema!

Je tu il Elle (1975)

#16 on the Best Lesbian Movies of all time

“Je Tu Il Elle obviously centers a woman with depression,” writes Drew of this seminal entry in the cannon of lesbian cinema. “It does it wonderfully and to deny that would do the work and [Chantal] Akerman a disservice. But can there not be pleasure within? Pleasure in painting your furniture, that small amount of control, pleasure in the first taste of sugar, before it makes you sick, pleasure in crafting a letter, before it feels impossible, pleasure in meeting a stranger, before he reveals his full self, pleasure in fucking your ex, before you have to leave.”

The Laramie Project (2002)

Moises Kaufman’s 2000 play about the murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming was a piece of “verbatim theater,” drawing on hundreds of interviews his theater company conducted with Laramie residents and published news reports. HBO adapted the play into a grounded, emotional GLAAD-award-winning film in 2002, starring Christina Ricci, Laura Linney, Camryn Manheim, Joshua Jackson and Clea Duvall, among others.

Milk (2008)

This biopic telling the story of the legendary gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk has a queer female character, Anne Kronenberg, played by Allison Pill. I saw this film in the theater and cried like a baby!

Mother’s Day (2016)

If you’re looking for a light, talent-packed mainstream content that you can watch with straight people that has just enough queer content to ensure you’re not completely invisible, try Mother’s Day! Cameron Esposito is Max, the wife of Gabi (Sarah Chalke), one of many “seemingly unconnected” stories tht intersect on Mother’s Day in Atlanta. We’ve got Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, Shay Mitchell — the whole slate of ’em. It was Gary Marshall’s last movie before his death and every critic hated it, but I had a nice time.

Multiple Maniacs (1970)

#42 on Best Lesbian Movies of All Time

“John Waters lives up to his title Pope of Trash with this raucous celebration of counter-culture deviancy,” writes Drew of this film that opens with “a group of cishet normals making their way through a free exhibit titled The Cavalcade of Perversions” followed by Divine robbing them all at gunpoint. “Waters starts his filmography with a statement and never lets up.”

Shiva Baby (2021)

Jewish twentysomething chaotic bisexual Danielle (Rachel Sennott) makes cringey privileged choices, has a Sugar Daddy and minimal prospects for her post-graduation life, a situation that all comes to an uncomfortable head when she heads out to the suburbs to sit shiva with her family and who shows up but aforementioned Sugar Daddy and his wife (Dianna Agron) and their baby. And then, of course: Danielle’s ex-girlfriend (Molly Gordon). It’s very funny!

Rachel Sennott and Molly Gordon walk next to each other outside. Molly is carrying a tin food tray and looking at Rachel whose makeup is smeared.

Suited (2016)

This documentary focuses on Bindle & Keep, a Brooklyn-based custom-suit company who caters to queer, trans and gender-non-conforming humans, including a trans man preparing for his wedding and a law student struggling through job interviews.

Unpregnant (2020, HBO)

A charming little buddy comedy about a popular, successful high school girl who gets pregnant and must road trip from Missouri to New Mexico to get the abortion her boyfriend doesn’t want her to have. She recruits her former friend — weirdo lesbian Bailey (Barbie Ferreira) — to join her on this journey. Look out for a very charming Betty Who cameo!

two girls screaming out the top of a car on a desert highway, from "Unpregnant"

Valentine Road (2013, HBO)

The tragic story of the murder of 15-year-old trans student Larry King by his classmate Brandon McInerny is the topic of this documentary, which loooks at the circumstances that led to the crime and its complicated and far-reaching aftermath.

V for Vendetta (2005)

V for Vendetta is a dystopian political action film from the Wachowskis starring Natalie Portman. In 2006, A*terE*len’s Sarah Warn called it “One of the most pro-gay films ever.”

Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley (2013)

Iconic African-American standup comic Jackie “Moms” Mabley is honored in this documentary featuring performance footage as well as interviews with stars like Eddie Murphy, Joan Rivers, Sidney Poitier and Kathy Griffin. The film also gives space to Moms’ lesbianism — she was out to her friends and other entertainers during her career, but it was kept a secret from the public, who were drawn to her “frumpy mom in a housedress” persona.

Working Girls (1986)

“Focusing on a day in the life of lesbian Molly, Working Girls reveals the boredom and mundane difficulties of working at a Manhattan brothel,” writes Drew in the entry for Working Girls in The Encyclopedia of Lesbian Cinema. “The film doesn’t romanticize sex work or sensationalize it — instead it just lets it be like any crappy job. The dynamics between Molly and her boss, her co-workers, and her clients are all compelling as they reveal more about her, the job, and society’s relationship to sex work. This is a landmark work of cinema that’s finally getting its due and a landmark work of lesbian cinema as well. “

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Riese

Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3224 articles for us.

26 Comments

  1. Question – why are there stars *** on After Ellen?

    BTW I absolutely LOVE Gia. Angelina Jolie in the 90s was the shit.

    “This is life, not heaven. You don’t have to be perfect.”

  2. Thanks for the updated list, Riese! A few things I’ve wanted to watch and didn’t realize we’re on HBO just got added to my list.

    I didn’t know that they added lesbians to Death on the Nile. I love Agatha Christie but not sure if the new adaptation is fun bad or just bad, haha. I have only read negative reviews!

    Heads up that the 1963 version of “The Haunting” just got added, and “My Days of Mercy” and “Irma Vep” (the film) are also available on HBO max as of right now!

    Irma Vep’s lesbian character doesn’t have a romance or anything, just a failed flirtation. I wouldn’t call it a super queer movie, but my friend and I, who have both lived in countries that speak our second languages, thought that the portrayal of being dropped in an overwhelming environment very relatable. I’m curious about the Irma Vep series coming out!

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