7 Movies to Watch If You’re Questioning or Coming Out

Coming out is a process. And despite the challenges I have experienced from the decision to come out, it’s one that I’ve never regretted. If you’re questioning your sexuality or wondering what lesbianism looks like, here are some great films to watch that may help to smooth the road for your own journey of discovery. There’s nothing better than being entertained by fictional characters living out (pun intended) our secret and personal struggles.

I hope my selections encourage you to follow your own path. You are not alone. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel to clarify almost all your questions, so sit down, relax, and enjoy the movies.

Black Mirror – San Junipero (2016)

Directed by‎: ‎Owen Harris | Written by‎: ‎Charlie Brooker

Kelly, Black Mirror, the San Junipero episode

Before we get into some films, I’d like to suggest an episode of Black Mirror called “San Junipero.” This episode has become an iconic source of entertainment in the lesbian community. I consider it a sci-fi love story where homophobia is overcome in the space between life and death.

San Junipero is a beautiful beach town where the sea and sky are always blue, but even this paradise is conflictive in a futuristic society that mirrors our own. Coming out is not easy for Yorkie until she meets Kelly, the free-spirited girl who jumps through time to avoid intimacy. The two must make life-altering choices after they fall in love. Can they find forever by looking into the right person’s eyes?

Watch it HERE.

The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love (1995)

Written and Directed by: Maria Maggenti

This is one of my all-time favorite high school love stories. Two girls must navigate classism and diversity in a small town. It’s all about what you’re labeled, isn’t it? This story is a little Walt Whitman mixed with Rita Mae Brown that shows Randy, a typical tomboy-out-lesbian type, who falls for Wendy, the beautiful straight girl. The surprises start to happen when Wendy confronts her own fears about being labeled and allows love to unfold.

Today, Wendy might simply identify as fluid, but in the ‘90s, her character is troubled with the labels lesbian or bi-sexual, and has to overcome what it means to deal with them. Her uptight, single mother explodes when she discovers she’s going out with a girl, which makes Wendy jump in her Land Rover, grab Randy, and run away.

Watch it HERE, DVD only or HERE.

Or save it to your Watchlist

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

Directed by: Jon Avnet | Written by: Fannie Flagg and Carol Sobieski

Many first relationships and true lesbian loves are not consummated. You can call the love a crush, or a committed friendship, where sexual attraction is not shared or reciprocated by both women. This adaptation of Fannie Flag’s novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café is a depiction of romance, fraught with the drudgeries women once faced not so very long ago.

This film is graced with brilliant actresses that characterize what it looks like to share a lifetime of independence and memories: some good, some bad, but all honorable.

Watch it HERE

Love My Life (2006)

Directed by: Kôji Kawano | Written by: Kanasugi & Ebine Yamaji

Ichiko and Eri are two Japanese girls in love, figuring things out as they go. Love My Life is a heartfelt story that shows lesbians in a very sensitive and realistic light. It reminds me that falling in love is the same story regardless of what language it’s told in. This film has lots of fun twists and turns full of giggles and tears – a really good one to watch on a rainy day with a hot cup of tea.

Watch it HERE, DVD only

Carol (2015)

Directed by: Todd Haynes | Written by: Phyllis Nagy

As much as we enjoy light-hearted films, it is also important to know our herstory and how far we have come. Carol is based on the 1952 romance novel, The Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith. I think it’s a flawless, historical piece of fiction about two women making a choice for love at all costs.

Carol is a lesbian who marries a man. She struggles with her identity and succumbs to psychiatrists who view homosexuality (an archaic term once used to define gay and lesbian people) as a mental illness. She is humiliated as her husband sets out to prove she is an unfit parent. During this traumatic experience, she falls in love with a young shop girl who is making the choice to pursue women, and Carol in particular, over the safety of a heterosexual identity.

Watch it HERE

Go Fish (1994)

Directed by: Rose Troche | Written by: Guinevere Turner

Go Fish isn’t about coming out; it’s about being out.

When I first saw this movie in the ‘90s, it was very cutting edge. Now it’s somewhat dated and amateurish, but it features lesbians who look like lesbians in every color, shape, and size. It also was one of the first commercial successes made by out women in film. Rose Troche went on to do other successful shows such as The L Word and Sugar, and has led the way for many of us lesbians who write. #thankyouRose

Watch it HERE

Princess Cyd (2017)

Written and Directed by: Stephen Cone

This film may inspire the poet in you. It has a slow, methodical start, but if you stick with it, it will touch your heart.

And yes, it’s a bit of a tearjerker.

Seventeen year-old Cyd is having problems at home and fighting with her dad all the time. She is sent to visit her aunt in Chicago, who is the sister of her mom, murdered while Cyd was asleep in the house when she was only eight. Her aunt is an open-minded person who doesn’t impose her own beliefs on Cyd even though she knows all the family secrets. What Cyd discovers in her two-week visit is a love for literature and girls, especially a little butch with a Mohawk named Katie. A lot can happen in a short time.

Watch it HERE

Lisa Freeman is an author and actress best known for her novels HONEY GIRL and RIPTIDE SUMMER.  You can visit her at lisa-freeman.com