北京酷儿影展于2001年12月由北京大学影视协会的一群大学生创办，之后在2005、2007和2009年分别举办了另外3届。多年来几次更名，从最初的中国同性恋电影节（China homosexual Film Festival）、北京同性恋电影节（Beijing Gay&Lesbian Film Festival）、北京酷儿电影论坛(Beijing Queer Film Forum) 最终定名为北京酷儿影展(Beijing Queer Film Festival)。它是目前中国大陆唯一一个通过电影放映、交流活动来展开性与性别身份探讨的民间主题影展。在并不轻松的国内社会政治环境下，北京酷儿影展历经诸多波折，在众多民间团体和个人的声援和支持下，影展组委会顶着多方压力艰难前行，坚持为少数派酷儿群体发声。从最初只放映大陆本土影片，如今已发展为包括两岸三地最新华语作品以及多个海外影片展映单元的国际化影展，每次举办都会接待国内国际嘉宾数十位，并有相当数量的观众从全国各地专程赶来观影。在国际上，北京酷儿影展也越来越受到关注，近年来曾与巴西、比利时、意大利等多个国家的酷儿影展合作举办展映交流。
The first ever Beijing Queer Film Festival was organized in December 2001 by a group of university students belonging to the Peking University Student Cinema Association. The festival was then called “China Homosexual Film Festival” and attracted a lot of attention. The second edition took place in 2005 under the name “Beijing Gay & Lesbian Film Festival”, the third edition happened in 2007 under the name “Beijing Queer Film Forum” and in 2009, at its fourth edition, the festival adopted the title “Beijing Queer Film Festival”. It’s currently the only film festival in mainland China to offer a public forum to films and discussions exploring sexuality and gender identities. Operating under difficult social and political conditions, the festival has faced many difficulties in its 10-year existence. Thanks to the valiant support of individuals and social organizations, the Beijing Queer Film Festival has managed to keep going forward and resist all kinds of pressures, providing a voice to the queer minority in China.Whereas the first editions only screened Mainland China films, the festival has evolved into an international happening which showcases the newest Chinese-language films (including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mainland Films) and numerous foreign films. Every year, the festival hosts many domestic and foreign guests, and welcomes an ever-growing amount of viewers coming from all around the country.
Internationally, the Beijing Queer Film Festival has steadily been building up its reputation and continuously works on developing networks. During recent years, it created ties with queer film festivals in countries from all over the world, including Brazil, Belgium, Italy and Denmark.