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LGBTQ+ Films to Watch This Pride Month


Atomic Blonde (2017)

June is Pride Month, declared as a result of the Stonewall Riots back in 1969, New York City, when a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual people (don't forget names such as Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera,  Raymond Castro, Storme Delarverie or Miss Major Griffin-Gracy) protested and rioted against police brutality towards the community. 

A couple of months ago, I decided to watch solely movies made by women, and about women, in order to find new female screenwriters and directors. So, I decided to spend May watching LGBTQ+ centered movies, unaware that June was Pride Month, I guess the timing was in my favor. So here are the movies I watch during this past month, as well as some old recommendations.

As to how I picked the movies, it was easy: there has to be at least one important LGBTQ+ character (and the more, the better). Some of the movies revolve around the identity (whether it was gay, bi, trans...) itself, while others are about other topics but which happen to have an LGBTQ+ character. I tried to watch a diverse range of movies, about as many identities and stories as I could. Sadly, I couldn't find any about asexuality, as hard as I tried, so there won't be any on this list (but recommendations are more than accepted). My method of rating, or more likely, the way I am talking about them, was: 

  • Name of the community represented within the story
  • Whether or not someone from the actual community was part of the film crew (directors, writers, actors/actresses...)
  • 💀, which represents if someone dies or not (because we know Hollywood loves to kill members of the community)
  • A quote, because why not. 

Originally I tweeted each movie, so I couldn't really talk about them in detail, so now I will also include some commentary. And without further ado:

1. 'To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar' (1995)

  • Community: gay/drag
  • Representation: script by Douglas Beane, real drag queens, such as RuPaul, Lady Bunny or Miss Coco Peru (who liked my tweet out of nowhere and made my day) appear in the movie
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: "Vida, I don't think of you as a man, and I don't think of you as a woman. I think of you as an angel."

The movie focuses on three pageant drag queens and their road trip from NY to LA. On their way, and after fighting a sexist, racist and homophobic (wow, jackpot!) cop, they end up in a little town in the middle of nowhere, and without knowing it, they change the lives of these people. Another similar movie could be The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994), which I absolutely love, and if you want to explore gay/drag ballrooms, the documentary Paris is Burning (1990) will be perfect for you.

2. 'Tangerine' (2015)

  • Community: trans
  • Representation: the (trans) actresses Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, who are the first ones to receive a campaign for the Oscars nod
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: "Bitch I ain't no motherf*cking drag queen. I'm losing sympathy for you by the minute."

Narrates the story of two trans prostitutes, one in the search of the woman her boyfriend has been cheating on with while she was in jail, and the other as she gets ready for a singing performance that same night. This movie was great, it's from the director of The Florida Project (2017), and it was recorded with only three iPhones. Do you want another story about a trans woman, played by one? A Fantastic Woman (2017). Great movie. All about My Mother (1999) is also a story about a trans character, but the character is not played by a trans actress.

3. 'But I'm a Cheerleader' (1999)

  • Community: homosexual
  • Representation: directed by Jamie Babbit, script by Brian Wayne Peterson, and some of the actors/actresses of the movie.
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: "I'm not perverted. I get good grades, I go to church. I'm a cheerleader!"

Megan is the perfect girl next door, but when her parents learn she is lesbian, they sent her into a conversion camp, where Megan will either change or learn to live her life finally. Another story about conversion camps (that is not depicted in pastel tones and non-threatening) is the upcoming movie The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018), which will probably show a more realistic vision of what conversion therapy sadly is. Or if you feel like a comedy, because sometimes life and movies are too serious, check the movie The Birdcage (1996), with Nathan Lane and Robin Williams.

4. 'Imagine Me & You' (2005)

  • Community: homosexual/bisexual
  • Representation: 0
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: "The lily means 'I dare you to love me'."

Rachel is a newlywed. Luce was the responsible for the flower arrangements for her wedding. Yeah, you can imagine what happens from here, right? Another movie about meeting in a shop and ending in a same-sex relationship? Carol (2015). How people end up in relationships while shopping, I don't know.

5. 'Women Who Kill' (2016)

  • Community: lesbian/bisexual
  • Representation: written and directed by Ingrid Jungermann, who plays the main character
  • 💀: 1
  • Quote: "What if I told you I killed those people? Will that make you feel better? To have a way out?"

Morgan and her ex-girlfriend Jean have a true crime podcast. When the mysterious Simone enters the scene, both girls suspect that Simone is not who she says she is and that in fact, she may be a murderer.

6. 'Mulholland Drive' (2001)

  • Community: bisexual/lesbian
  • Representation: 0
  • 💀: I'm not sure what happened in this movie, I swear, but probably 1 or 2
  • Quote: "It's strange calling yourself."

This movie... Listen I wish I could easily describe what it is, or do it without spoilers. But I can't. Is David Lynch ok? I just know I loved it and that everyone should check it out so I can talk about it with someone. Now, these two movies won't have much comparison, I know, but do you like intricate, interesting plots? The Handmaiden (2016) is one of the best films I've seen, so while at it, check this one out as well.

7. 'Kinky Boots' (2005)

  • Community: gay/drag
  • Representation: 0
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: "One never knows what joy one might find amongst the unwanted."

Charlie inherits his father's shoe factory after he dies. But business is not good, so, following his employee's (Lauren) advice for reinvention, and teaming up with drag queen Lola, he starts making shoes for drag queens. There is a musical about this movie as well. Do you feel like musical movies? Try Rent (2005), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), or Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001), all of them have LGBTQ+ characters.

8. 'Happy Together' (1997)

  • Community: gay
  • Representation: Leslie Cheung, one of the first gay/bi icons in China
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: "Turns out that lonely people are all the same."

Focuses on the story of Ho Po-wing and Lai Yiu-fai, two lovers in a toxic relationship that live in Argentina, how they break up, come back and fall out of love, and how they evolve and grow. Another movie about a not so idealized relationship could be Brokeback Mountain (2005).

9. 'Hurricane Bianca: From Russia with Hate' (2018)

  • Community: gay/drag
  • Representation: co-written by Derek Hartley or multiple actors and actresses, including Roy Haylock (or Bianca del Rio), Wanda Sykes, or Yekaterina Petrovna Zamolodchikova, but you dad just calls her Katya (sorry... I had to)
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: "This Texas, it must be a magical place. What's the winter like? Bitter and haunting?"

Sequel to Hurrican Bianca (2016). After being released from prison, Deborah wants to get revenge. To do so, she sends Roy (or Bianca), a gay teacher, and the reason why she ended up in jail, to Russia, where she hopes they will punish him for his sexual orientation. Yeah, Deb definitely votes for You-Know-Who...

10. 'Mädchen in Uniform' (1931)

  • Community: lesbian
  • Representation: written by Christa Winsloe
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: "Manuela, pull yourself together. Soldiers' daughters don't cry."

Manuela goes to an only-girl school, where she falls in love with her teacher, Fräulein von Bernburg. Now, I am not really into this type of stories that portrays age gap, especially since the community usually ends up hurt by them, but I felt this was an important story, given the fact that it was written by someone that was not straight, and it was released in the 30s.

11. 'Pariah' (2011)

  • Community: lesbian
  • Representation: written and directed by Dee Rees, who said this story could be considered somehow autobiographical
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: "Breaking is opening, and I am broken. I am open."

Alike is a young woman who loves to write and identifies as lesbian, but hasn't come out to her family yet. In order to push her away from her friends, her mother makes Alike befriend a girl from church, Bina, but it backfires when Alike develops feelings for her. This story is the "what could go wrong". What would happen if your family didn't accept you for who you are. Nevertheless, it's a great story and beautifully done. Some compare it to Moonlight (2016), and while there may be similarities, such as they explore race and sexuality, they ultimately are different stories and both are worth to check out.

12. 'Pride' (2014)

  • Community: Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (that's the actual name of the association, they liked my tweet and again, made my day)
  • Representation: As far as I know, only the actor Andrew Scott as Gethin Roberts
  • 💀: 0 (although one character dies off-camera and it happens after the story is done)
  • Quote: "I'm in Wales. And I don't have to pretend to be something that I'm not. I'm home. And I'm gay. And I'm Welsh."

During Margaret Thatcher's term, one of the communities more affected by her politics were the miners, which led to protests and strikes all around the country. Gay activist Mark Ashton decides to help them, creating am an association, collecting money and sending it to one of the places more affected. This led to the group going to Onllwyn, in Wales, where they befriend the once reluctant inhabitants. If you want any other story set at the time, I would recommend Billy Elliot (2000), which has a gay character. 

13. 'De-Lovely' (2004)

  • Community: bisexual/gay
  • Representation: John Barrowman as Jack
  • 💀: 1
  • Quote: "Never open with a ballad, and never end on one."

Narrates the story of composer Cole Porter, from the moment he meets his wife to his death (that's the 1, by the way). It is portrayed as a play directed by a mysterious figure called Gabe, and the story flows accompanied by Porter's well-known songs. Other biographies could include Milk (2008), which I haven't seen yet, Frida (2002), or the upcoming Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), which hopefully won't erase Freddie Mercury's bisexuality.

14. 'Princess Cyd' (2017)

  • Community: bisexual/lesbian
  • Representation: 0
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: "We are different shapes and ways and our happiness is unique. There are not rules of balance."

Cyd goes to visit her aunt to Chicago during the summer. During the time, she'll develop feelings for Katie, who she meets at a coffee shop, while her aunt Ruth tries to change her monotonous life. This movie was organic, it felt natural. I believed that this relation was aunt-niece, I believed Cyd learning and growing, it was refreshing. Another coming of age story could be Love, Simon (2018), which focuses on Simon, a teenager, and his coming out story. I watched it in an early showing in a film festival, and the experience was amazing, the number of teenagers (and even adults) that find this movie relatable or helpful should really inspire filmmakers. Also, there is a sequel to the book that focuses on his friend Leah, who is bisexual that I need to read as soon as possible. And if you want a story about family, try The Kids Are All Right (2010).

15. 'Pink Flamingos' (1972)

  • Community: gay/drag/transexual
  • Representation: written and directed by John Waters. With the drag queen Divine as the main character
  • 💀: 3+
  • Quote: "There is right, and there is wrong. I've never been wrong Mr. Goldberg."

Drag queen Divine is named "the filthiest person alive," something that the Marbles find unacceptable, as they think they deserve the title more than her. This movie is definitely not for everyone. No, really. It includes nudity, kinks I didn't know that existed (Hey! To each their own. But apparently some people are into crush objects during sex, and in this case, it was a chicken, so heads up before watching it!) and profanities. So really, if you are not into this mature content, just don't watch it. Waters created Hairspray (1988) with Divine in it; check it out, and if not, watch the 2007 version.

16. 'Tomboy' (2011)

  • Community: trans (but more likely non-binary)
  • Representation: written and directed by Céline Sciamma
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: "Oui, mais mon préféré est Mickaël." ("Yes, but my favorite is Mickaël.")

Laure is a 10-year-old who moves to a new home during the summer. During this time Laure decides to tell the kids in the neighborhood that Laure is a boy named Mickaël. The story never really confirms whether or not Laure/Mickaël identifies as one gender or other, or neither, but it's an interesting vision of the fluidity of gender, especially for such a young character. Another movie about the fluidity of gender and sexuality is the film adaptation of Virginia Woolf's novel, Orlando (1992).

17. 'Mabel's Blunder' (1914)

  • Community: "gender-bending"
  • Representation: 0
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: N/A (is a silent film)

The story revolves around Mabel, as she tries to spy on her fianceé while dressed as a man. When I searched about LGBTQ+ movies, this appeared as an important representation of early gender-bending, to the point of being added to the National Film Registry.

18. 'Saving Face' (2004)

  • Community: lesbian
  • Representation: written and directed by Alice Wu
  • 💀: 0
  • Quote: "It's how you feel. You are too scared to look the world in the eye and let it watch you fall in love."

Wil is a young surgeon whose mother tries to set her up with single men. Vivian is a dancer. When they start a relationship, Wil has to deal with a pregnant mother who refuses to reveal who is the father, and Vivian has to deal with a girlfriend who refuses to come out. I LOVED THIS MOVIE. There is a moment in which they ask the girls when are they having a baby. And guess what? I'm wondering the same because I need a sequel to this movie. It was funny, it was clever, it was romantic but not too cheesy. Perfect.

19. 'Vingarne' (1916)

  • Community: gay/bisexual
  • Representation: 0? The author of the story this film is based on, Herman Bang, was either gay or bisexual
  • 💀: 1
  • Quote: "But this is my Icarus, in the flesh..."

Considered the first LGBTQ+ movie, tells the story of an artist, and how his muse and lover leaves him for a countess.

20. 'Atomic Blonde' (2017)

  • Community: bisexual/lesbian
  • Representation: 0
  • 💀: 1
  • Quote: "Berlin is a cold mistress."

Based on a comic book, the story revolves around a spy during the Cold War and her mission in Berlin to find a list of double agents. Let me sell it better: Charlize Theron. 80s music in fight scenes. Great color scheme.

Overall, this list tried to include stories of all kind and for everyone. So, happy pride month whoever you are, however you identify as, whether you are out or not. Live your life. Respect others. And watch a movie. Or more than one. Whatever floats your boat! 🏳️‍🌈

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