20 LGBTQIA+ stories with upbeat endings

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10. Shelter

The coming-out story is, naturally, a classic of LGBTQIA+ fiction. After all, it’s a key moment in someone’s life, one that often reveals the very core of a person. Are the people in your life truly loving and accepting? Will they reject you? Will they expect you to keep an essential part of yourself buried for their own comfort? How much do love and dignity trump notions like the regard of one’s community?

While this is clearly a thunderclap of a moment for a real, living individual with lifelong consequences, it’s becoming something of a trope in LGBTQIA+ books, films and more. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it now takes quite a bit of work to make a coming-out story, well, stand out amongst the growing crowd.

Thankfully, the performances in Shelter (2007) are more than enough to enliven a familiar tale with complex humanity. Even better, it’s got a happy ending.

Dreams and other issues

Shelter follows Zach, an aspiring artist who is consistently held back by family obligations. Zach himself probably wouldn’t admit to it as such, but it’s clear that his ailing father, inconsistent sister, and young nephew necessarily demand a lot of his time. Art school seems like a far-off dream to Zach.

Things start to change when Shaun, a friend’s brother, arrives in town. Zach and Shaun begin to spend time together, soon developing a close relationship. Those feelings eventually turn romantic, though Zach has a hard time accepting that he may be gay.

Zach’s older sister, Jeanne, hardly helps. When she learns about Zach and Shaun’s burgeoning relationship, her homophobia rears its head. She doesn’t want Zach to spend time with her son, Cody, believing that a gay uncle would be more damaging to the young boy than a disinterested mother. Thankfully, however, Zach and Shaun are able to weather a series of trials and come out on the other side as a newly-formed family.