Celebrate LGBT+ History Month with Into Film+

17 Jan 2024

8 mins
Are You Proud?
Are You Proud?

To celebrate this year's LGBT+ History Month in February, we've curated a list of some of the best and most relevant LGBTQ+ titles available to stream on Into Film+, including powerful documentary Are You Proud?, which showcases rare footage and interviews exploring key landmarks in the fight against homophobia and transphobia.

The theme for LGBT+ History Month 2024 is Medicine - #UnderTheScope, which aims to celebrate LGBT+ peoples' contribution to the field of Medicine and Healthcare, both historically and today.

The past few years have been a pivotal time for LGBTQ+ issues within education, and this is something that's likely to continue. While the subject is now integral to the curriculum as part of relationships education for primary learners, and sex and relationships education for secondary, recent research from LGBT+ charity Just Like Us found that LGBT+ young adults from unsupportive school and home backgrounds were four times as likely to feel ashamed of being LGBT+, three times less likely to be confident of gaining a career they'll enjoy, and three times less likely to feel optimistic about the future. Clearly, it is vital that all children and young people can feel supported at school, and we're here to help.

Into Film+ is our free* streaming service for schools, and offers a host of curated educational films, exclusive additional content and teaching resources and guides, supporting educators to feel confident in bringing important LGBTQ+ topics and discussions into the classroom, not just across the month of February, but throughout the year. 

We've also teamed up with experts and individuals from the LGBTQ+ community to offer their knowledge from across the lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace spectrum. These crucial contributions inform how we can bring people's stories to light, to not only educate and inspire young people across the UK, but to instigate and normalise peer-to-peer discussion around this subject.

In school, if my teachers had access to and utilised the resources and films that are on offer, I probably would've had better mental health, greater understanding of myself, and I wouldn't have had to hide myself around peers who don't understand what it is to to LGBTQ+.

Into Film Award winner Ben Hodge, whose film '1 Year' charts his journey as a transgender student

With the collection of films below, we wanted to recognise the great work - from individuals, organisations and movements - that has been achieved so far in the constant and complex struggle for LGBTQ+ rights. We also strive to utilise our presence within the UK education system to support and foster this change, and to recognise that there is still a lot more work to be done towards equality.

The films listed below range from feature films, to shorts, and documentaries, and explore themes such as gender identity and representation, gender reassignment, gay and lesbian rights, discrimination, coming out and self and social acceptance. Each of the films has an accompanying film guide to help teachers highlight the key topics, while some titles include exclusive additional content to aid discussion, with voices from StonewallThe Terrence Higgins Trust, and Brook exploring and supporting the film's themes.

Please note: some of the films and resources in this collection include sensitive content. We recommend that educators watch or read all elements of films/content prior to using them in the classroom, and to follow their school's safeguarding protocol if a student is triggered or makes a disclosure as a result.

Feature films

Tomboy (U)

Tomboy is a French-language film sees a youngster named Laure move to a new neighbourhood in Paris, where they begin to explore gender fluidity, choosing to instead go by the name Mickaël, and striving to navigate their new identity around others.

Topics and themes exploredgender identity, fluidity and representation, sexuality, family, friendships, growing up and anti-bullying.

Love, Simon (12)

Love, Simon tells the story of Simon, an ordinary schoolboy with a close family and tight group of friends who he is struggling to come out to. You'll also find two videos from Into Film young reporters which looks at the themes of friendship within the film, and also the film as a book adaptation.

On Into Film+, Love, Simon is accompanied by a film guide and two exclusive pieces of content from Stonewall, who provide an introduction and a closer look into the film's themes.

Topics and themes explored: being gay in secondary school, sexuality, coming out, acceptance, friendship, coming-of-age.

Philadelphia (12)

When high-flying lawyer Andrew Beckett is sacked from his big-league law firm after his bosses learn he has contracted the AIDS virus, it seems he has nowhere to turn for help. Philadelphia is a compelling and moving legal drama that beautifully documents an era of great human tragedy that eventually gave way to hope and optimism about the future.

On Into Film+, Philadelphia is accompanied by a film guide and an exclusive video from The Terrence Higgins Trust, who provide an introduction and a Q&A regarding misinformation about AIDS/HIV.

Topics and themes exploredHIV, AIDS, homophobia, human rights, gay rights, sexuality.

The Imitation Game (12)

This British biographical film tells the true story of British mathematician Alan Turing, who proved instrumental in code-breaking during World War II, but who was later prosecuted because of his sexual identity.

On Into Film+, The Imitation Game is accompanied by a film guide and an LGBTQ+ assembly resource.

Topics and themes explored: gay rights, sexuality, discrimination, LGBTQ+ history, historical figures.

Tokyo Godfathers (12)

This Japanese anime explores gender identity from an Eastern perspective, as a middle-aged alcoholic, a teenage runaway and a former drag queen form a trio of homeless people surviving as a makeshift family on the streets of Tokyo.

Topics and themes explored: gender representation and identity, foreign language, community, friendships, family.

Are You Proud? (15)

Featuring pioneering and rising activists in the UK, this energetic documentary looks at how far the LGBTQ+ movement has come since the decriminalisation of homosexuality, and is a good introduction to human rights and activism, while also being a valuable resource on UK history.

The Color Purple (1985) (15)

Adapting from the classic novel, this drama from director Steven Spielberg is a beautifully shot, life-affirming tale of personal triumph, love and hope.

Pride (15)

Set in 1984, Pride sees an unlikely alliance forming, as a group of gay rights activists offer their support to striking miners.

On Into Film+, Pride is accompanied by a film guide and two exclusive videos from our very own film curation experts.

Topics and themes explored: gay and lesbian activism, democracy, politics, equality, family, friendships, community.

Pariah (15)

Pariah is a film about a Brooklyn-based Black teenager who is juggling conflicting identities, and risking friendship, heartbreak and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.

On Into Film+, Pariah is accompanied by an exclusive video from Brook, who provide an introduction and take a deeper dive into some of the key issues explored in the film.

Topics and themes explored: gay and lesbian rights, sexuality, sexual identity, gender identity and fluidity, racial equality, discrimination.

Tangerine (15)

Shot exclusively on an iPhone, this extraordinary piece of filmmaking tells the story of Los Angeles-based transgender street worker, Sin-Dee, who is released from a short stint in prison. Upon release, she learns that her boyfriend has been unfaithful to her, and embarks on a journey to find and confront him. This is a low-budget film with a lot of humour and a touching message.

Topics and themes explored: trans representation, gender identity and representation, race.

All About My Mother (15)

This Spanish-language drama follows Manuela, a mother who decides to relocate to Barcelona after her son's sudden death, where she sets out to look for her son's father, who has since transitioned.

On Into Film+, All About My Mother is accompanied by a film guide to help you explore the film and its themes with your learners.

Topics and themes exploredtrans representation, gender identity and representation, acceptance, family, friendships, love and relationships.

Documentaries from the Educational Recording Agency

Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 (Unclassified)

The inspiration behind the hit stage musical Everybody's Talking About Jamie (as well as the film adaptation of the same name) this is an inspirational story about a gay teenager who yearns to become a drag queen.

Topics and themes explored: gender representation and identity, sexuality, coming-of-age.

Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay (Unclassified)

Pop star and actor Olly Alexander, who has lived with anxiety and depression since his teenage years, looks back on the homophobic bullying he experienced at school, and how this has continued to impact him in his adult life, as well as engaging with youth groups and diversity workshops in schools. With a powerful message advocating for more positive LGBTQ+ inclusion in sex education in schools, this documentary is a powerful, moving and inspirational call to encourage everyone to talk more openly about their mental health and think about the consequences of bullying behaviour.

Topics and themes explored: mental health, gay rights, homophobia, community.

Transitioning Teens (Unclassified)

This investigative documentary follows activist Charlie Craggs as they meet transgender teenagers and hears about their experiences.

Topics and themes explored: trans representation, gender representation and identity, growing up.

Tom Daley: Illegal to Be Me (Unclassified)

Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley visits some of the most homophobic countries across the Commonwealth to explore how gay athletes are facing persecution.

Topics and themes explored: gay rights, homophobia, human rights, gay activism, discrimination.

Lily: A Transgender Story (Unclassified)

This documentary covers five years in the life of a transgender teenager in rural Wales.

Topics and themes explored: trans representation, gender representation and identity, growing up.

Leo: Becoming A Trans Man (Unclassified)

This documentary is about a 16-year-old trans boy's journey into embodying his gender identity.

Topics and themes explored: trans representation, gender representation and identity, growing up.

LGBTQ+ Short Films

Short film can be a great way of using film in the classroom when you don't have the time to watch a full-length feature. Into Film+ includes a number of short films that explore a variety of LGBTQ+ stories and narratives.

We have also worked closely with LGBTQ+ film and media organisation Iris Prize to produce a collaborative educational resource focusing on five short films from the Iris Film Festival that explore themes of trans issues and inclusion. Watch the films - Between Us, Dawn, Something About Alex, Take Your Partners and Tomgirl - and download the accompanying Gender, Sexuality and Trans Inclusion resource.

In addition, Into Film+ also boasts several short films from Peccadillo Pictures, including Closets, Silly Girl, Happy & Gay, An Afternoon, Run (A)way Arab and SignPeccadillo is an award-winning UK film distributor of Art House, LGBTQ+ and International Cinema.

1 Year - An award-winning youth short

1 Year is a short film made by young filmmaker Ben Hodge, and follows his personal experience of transitioning. Ben's inspiring film won Best Documentary at the 2020 Into Film Awards.

We reached out to Ben, who had this to say about the importance of having LGBTQ+ films and resources available in the classroom: "Showing young people LGBTQ+ films and media in the classroom is only going to create a more positive and open environment for self-exploration and self-expression. In school, if my teachers had access to and utilised the resources and films that are on offer, I probably would've had better mental health, greater understanding of myself, and I wouldn't have had to hide myself around peers who don't understand what it is to be LGBTQ+. Encourage conversations about what that means as well as what self expression and understanding looks like - it will really create a more inclusive community within your school".

How Do I Get Started?

To access Into Film+, all you'll need is an Into Film Account - it's completely free, and only takes a moment to set up. Into Film+ is free to use for all UK state schools that hold a valid Public Video Screening (PVS) Licence from Filmbankmedia.

Filmbankmedia PVS Licences are paid for on behalf of schools by all local authorities in England and by some local authorities in both Wales and Scotland. Into Film NI cover the license cost for some schools in Northern Ireland. For further information on licensing in your locality please see our FAQs.

If you're a state school in England that's funded by the Department for Education, you will automatically have access to Into Film+ Premium, which offers an extended catalogue of 500+ titles. Find out more about Into Film+ Premium in our FAQs.

If you don't have a PVS Licence, or aren't already covered, then a licence can easily be obtained from Filmbankmedia.

Filmbankmedia logo, the words Digital, Entertainment, Technology appear


Filmbankmedia licenses and distributes film and TV entertainment to many groups and is the licensing authority we work with to ensure schools, libraries and youth groups have the permissions to screen films from our catalogue.

* Screenings for an entertainment or extra-curricular purpose require a PVS (Public Video Screening) Licence from Filmbankmedia. State-funded schools in England are covered by the PVS Licence.

Into Film and the Into Film+ streaming service is supported by the UK film industry through Cinema First and the BFI through National Lottery Funding, thanks to National Lottery players. Since the very first National Lottery draw in 1994, public support - raised directly through National Lottery ticket sales - has funded more than 670,000 projects, raising more than £46 billion for good causes.

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