20 LGBTQIA+ stories with upbeat endings

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1. But I’m A Cheerleader

Conversion therapy is, frankly, one of the worst things that can happen to an LGBTQIA+ kid. Every situation is going to be somewhat different, but the basics are this: parents/guardians learn that a kid is gay. They freak out and sign up said kid for conversion therapy, sometimes at a kind of sleepaway camp.

The kid is subjected to abusive, pseudoscientific practices in an attempt to “fix” them. Never mind that practically no evidence exists to support the claim that someone’s sexual orientation can be changed, or that lives haven’t been deeply harmed by this “therapy.”

So, why not make a comedy about it all?

Yes, that sounds cringe-worthy at best. However, in the right hands, it kind of works. At least, that’s the case with But I’m a Cheerleader.

Natasha Lyonne plays Megan, a high school senior who is cheerfully moving through life as a cheerleader with a football player boyfriend. However, she’s started to suspect that she might not be as straight as previously imagined. Kissing her boyfriend feels like a chore, as opposed to looking at her fellow cheerleaders. When she mentions vegetarianism and Melissa Etheridge in short order, her parents start to think that something’s going on.

Who are you gonna call?

Their solution? Call RuPaul. Actually, it’s RuPaul playing it sort-of straight as Mike, an “ex-gay” and proponent of conversion therapy. He helms an intervention with Megan. Eventually, Mike convinces Megan’s parents to send their daughter to True Directions, a reparative therapy camp.

Once there, Megan and the other campers are subjected to a series of ridiculous steps meant to “cure” them of their homosexuality. This includes completing stereotypically gendered tasks, such as cleaning for the girls, and football for the boys.

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Megan starts to get closer to Graham, another girl who is far more skeptical of True Directions and its leaders. Eventually, Megan, Graham, and the other campers meet up with ex-ex-gay campers Larry and Lloyd. They take the group to a local gay bar, where Megan truly starts to turn against True Directions. She admits to herself that she’s in love with Graham and that the camp is a load of nonsense.

It all leads to a surprisingly triumphant graduation scene where Megan confesses her love and drives off with Graham. Perhaps most importantly, we see Megan’s parents attending a PFLAG meeting at the very end.

So no, LGBTQIA+ stories don’t all have to be depressing. Hopefully, at least one of these stories helped brighten your day.