Our Top LGBTQ Documentaries
During the past two years, physical Pride events haven’t existed. Our community have had to find other ways to feel connected. Equally, those who aren’t “out” or do not wish to attend Pride events, find other ways to learn and celebrate. Thankfully, lots of charities and organisations made their own arrangements for Pride during the Pandemic. But, there’s always room for more!
Our history is so important, although it’s often centred around the AIDS and HIV Pandemic in the 1980’s. But there is so much more to our community than the sorrow. In fact, our community has influenced a number of things throughout history. From Fashion to Music to Art.
Regardless of whether you’re from the LGBTQ community or not, our history is both colourful and fascinating. Below are just a few of our favourite documentaries. If you’d like to recommend some more, feel free to comment below!
The events surrounding the beginning of Stonewall are just a few moments that explore the dimensions of our rich and diverse history. Now-a-days, there are stories detailing LGBTQ people in Sport to LGBTQ-owned business!
Just like the need for more LGBTQ film, I look forward to the day when we don’t exhaust LGBTQ documentaries in a matter of days. I also look forward to more diverse stories being told and ones that show every corner of our community.
A Secret Love
A Secret Love is a story that follows Terry & Pat, a Lesbian couple who fell in love in the 1940’s.
Terry, a profession baseball player – think A League of their Own, and Pat embark on a journey through prejudice and secrecy, as well as family and heartache.
Follow them as they browse nursing homes, whilst contemplating leaving their life in Chicago to move to Canada where Terry’s family are.
This is a beautiful story, but with some surprising twists a long the way.
This documentary follows Hollywood’s depiction of Transgender people in mainstream American media.
Using interviews with a variety of Trans celebrities and activists, from Angelica Ross to Jamie Clayton, Disclosure look at the impact of Trans stories across America and how Trans people are often portrayed in the media.
It takes the audience through a history lesson using films and television shows to show how damaging and inaccurate the depiction and ideas of transgender people were displayed throughout, mostly, American cinema.
Circus of Books
Created by the daughter of the main subjects, Circus of Books follows two owners of a local Los Angeles “Book shop” that was also a Porn shop and overall hub of activity for gay LA between the 1970’s and 1990’s.
Learn more about gay culture and history with this hilarious and equally emotional tale of what it was like in that time. The Jewish couple who ran the store also talk about allyship and what they faced during that period.
The Death & Life of Martha P Johnson
Marsha – pay it no mind – Johnson was an LGBT activist before her suspicious death in 1992.
Director Victoria Cruz explores this, as well as Marsha’s life in The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson.
Using archival interviews with Johnson, and newly released interviews with Johnson’s family, friends and fellow activists, Cruz investigates their death and the circumstances around that.
The Times of Harvey Milk
In 1978, two members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Harvey Milk & San Francisco Mayor, ‘George Moscone (I)’ were assassinated by recently resigned Supervisor Dan White.
The Times of Harvey Milk follows Milk’s life leading up to his election, his successful campaigning to politically represent San Francisco’s gay community, and the city’s reaction to the assassinations.
Take an exclusive look at extensive news footage, as well as personal recollections and interviews.
This 2016 film takes place in New York City and follows the “Vogue” and “drag” scene. Think real-life Pose and the LGBT ballroom culture.
It’s considered as the “an unofficial sequel to the influential 1990 film Paris Is Burning“. Covering other topics that affect the LGBT community. From homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and violence against LGBT youth.
As well as being allowed a rare insight into this fabulous community, Kiki also talks about activism and education. Focusing their attention to the young adults within the community – instead of older queer and transgender individuals.
State of Pride
This is a true celebration of Pride and demonstrates it’s true meaning, as well as taking a look at it’s rich history and how it came about.
Follow people from a variety of small towns and large cities, across three different diverse communities within Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama and watch (and learn) what Pride means to them.
This Youtube Original explores how Pride is both a Party and a Protest and how it means something different to each person.
Paris is Burning
One of the very first “docu-films” documenting LGBT culture, specifically the iconic New York drag scene in the 1980s.
Paris is Burning focuses on balls and “voguing” and explores the hopes, ambitions and dreams of those who lived through the era.
This is a 1984 documentary detailing the time before the Stonewall riots. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 riots, the film was restored and re-released in 2019.
Labelled “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry, and using extensive archival film, movie clips and personal recollections and interviews, this is a must-watch for anyone interested in learning about our history.
All in my Family
This is a wonderfully heartfelt story about how a gay Chinese man, who has chosen to have children via surrogates, faces the dilemma of introducing his same-sex partner and their children to his deeply traditional parents and relatives in China.
This fascinating stpory shows the contrast between “modern family” America, and “traditional” family outside of that.
All in my Family is a wonderful story of acceptance.
The Celluloid Closet
Based on the 1982 book The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies, where the author explores the history of how movies, especially Hollywood films, portray LGBT characters.
The documentary that has followed interviews various men and women connected to the Hollywood industry. They comment on various film clips and their own personal experiences with the treatment of LGBT characters in film. From the varying character portrayal and cruel stereotypes, to the censorship and the changes made in the early 1990s.
Banner Credit: Netflix
Image Credit: IMDB & Wikipedia
Video Credit: YouTube
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