Wholesome Queer Content We're Currently Enjoying...
As soon as lockdown started I made it my mission to make use of the extra time by filling it with TV series we missed at the time of release, as well as catch up on my reading list! Obviously, being a member of the LGBTQ community, I was going to prioritise Queer and LGBTQ-inclusive content!
Thanks to the likes of Netflix, who pride themselves on hosting independent content, there’s an array of TV shows and film that not only feature LGBTQ characters, but also LGBTQ actors or content that’s made by people from the LGBTQ community.
In 2017, only 14 films from major studios featured LGBTQ characters — nine less than in 2016. For Podcasts and TV series, the statistics were about the same, if not less. Thankfully, with more and more people from the LGBTQ community creating their own podcasts, writing their own novels and memoirs, and generally being more visible, there’s so much more LGBTQ content for us to choose from.
Nowadays, there’s a much bigger selection of locations and stockists where you can get Queer content! Long gone are the days where you’d have to ship books in from overseas, wait for a stockist to set up a stand or table at a Pride event, or download a TV series from what felt like the rainbow black market!
Content is readily available – sometimes for FREE – at a click of a button. If you’re an ally to the LGBTQ community, I urge you to diversify your Podcast player or tune into documentaries highlighting LGBTQ history.
Here’s what we’re currently watching, as well as a selection of our favourite Films, TV Series, Books and Podcasts! If you’re looking for more LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books, you can find these here.
Films & Movies
If These Walls Could Talk 2 follows three separate storylines about lesbian couples in three different time periods. As with the original ‘If These Walls Could Talk’, all the stories are set in the same house across different time periods.
Based between the 1960’s and 2000’s, this series of short stories explores the narratives from each time period and the issues couples would like face, from death when lesbian couples weren’t recognised, to conceiving a child.
Milk is an American biographical film based on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California.
Packed full with archival footage from the 1950’s and 60’s, from Police raids on Gay Bars to speeches and rally’s held by Harvey Milk, the film delves into Milk’s rich personal and political history.
The Happy Prince tells the untold and tragic story of the last days of Oscar Wilde, a person who observes his own failure with ironic distance and regards the difficulties that beset his life with detachment and humour.
Moonlight explores the story of a young African-American man who grapples with his own identity and sexuality, while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood.
What makes this story fascinating, is that it’s set between three time periods – young adolescence, mid-teen and young adult.
But I’m a Cheerleader! is a satirical romantic comedy about an American highschool cheerleader who’s parents send them to a residential inpatient conversion therapy camp to “cure” her lesbianism.
This was probably one of the first LGBTQ films that I purchased back in the day and I still love it to this day.
Pride! Based on a true story, the film depicts a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by the British miners’ strike in 1984, at the outset of what would become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign.
A Single Man is a story about of George Falconer, gay British university professor living in Southern California in 1962, who is suffering with a depression following the death of his longtime partner, Jim.
This is a beautiful film, but not a happy one. It explores a lot of the attitudes that would have existed back in the sixties.
The Danish Girl follows (loosely) on the lives of Danish painters Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery, and Gerda Wegener.
Although there are plenty of criticisms with this film – from a cis-gendered actor being asked to play a trans role and the story being based on a fictional book – this is a beautiful film and offers plenty of thought-provoking themes.
Paris is Burning chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in the 1980’s and is thought of as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
If you watched Pose then you NEED to watch this.
Philadelphia is a legal drama and one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia. Beckett, an associate at a law firm, is dismissed and believes that it is actually as a result of his diagnosis with AIDS as well as his sexuality.
An absolute must-see.
TV Series & Documentaries
Pose is an American drama television series about New York City’s African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming ballroom culture scene in the 1980s and, in the second season, early 1990s.
I’ve just finished Season 1 (Netflix) and Season 2 (BBC iPlayer) and I’ve been left with a void. This is an often harrowing, but sometimes uplifting, tale – tackling heartwrenching subjects from the HIV & AIDS crisis to Trans ‘Mothers’.
Orange is The New Black is an American comedy-drama television series based on Piper Kerman’s memoir during their time in a federal prison.
Exclusively on Netflix, the show takes you on a journey through love and loss (with a bit of fun in the middle) and encourages you to think about topics such as women’s rights, Prison life and systematic problems and the struggles inmates face. It’s not all serious, but it certainly humanises prisoners, and its depiction of race, sexuality, gender and body types is what won me over.
Sex Education is a British (but in an American-style school?!) comedy-drama about awkward – but real – sex between a group of teenagers. It’s somewhat timeless, and set in an unknown place, which makes the series relatable to all ages and eras.
Lots of laughs on the surface, but underneath the series explores subjects such as coming out, consent, sexual assault, and queerness. A must-watch!
The Death & Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017) explores and investigates the mysterious death of black gay rights activist and Stonewall veteran, Marsha P. Johnson, in 1992. Using archival interviews with Johnson, and new interviews with Johnson’s family, friends and fellow activists.
This is at times a difficult watch, but if you want to know anything about LGBTQ history, this is where you should start.
A Secret Love is a documentary about falling in love in 1947, by two women – Pat Henschel and pro baseball player Terry Donahue – who begin a 65-year journey of love and overcoming prejudice.
Schitt’s Creek follows the life of the wealthy Rose family – who lose their fortune after being defrauded by their business manager. They are forced to rebuild their lives with their sole remaining asset: a small town named Schitt’s Creek, which Johnny had bought for David – who one of the “the greatest LGBTQ TV characters of all time” – as a joke birthday gift.
Tales of the City is based on the Tales of the City novel series by Armistead Maupin, following the life of Mary Ann Singleton, who returns to 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco after a 23-year absence.
This gorgeous series offers a “nostalgic comfort” and celebrates all that is wonderful, individual and diverse about San Francisco.
Atypical is a “coming-of-age” television series and focuses on the life of 18-year-old Sam Gardner, who has autism spectrum disorder.
Whilst this isn’t an LGBTQ-specific series, it explores plenty of LGBTQ-related topics and is inclusive to a variety of relationships as the series unfolds. A really heart-warming series.
The L Word is a series that follows an ensemble cast of friends who live in West Hollywood, California; and was American television’s first ensemble cast depicting homosexual, bisexual and a transgender person.
Although some of the earlier series come across as a little dated – I refer to how a few Trans and Bisexual characters are depicted – the series has LGBTQ people in mind and at the forefront when it comes to their audience (as opposed to a series designed to entertain straight and cis-gendered people).
Queer as Folk (UK) is a 90’s British television series that chronicles the lives of three gay men living in Manchester’s gay village around Canal Street. A play on the phrase “there’s nowt so queer as folk”, meaning “there’s nothing as strange as people”; which is a word play on the modern-day English synonym of “queer”, meaning homosexual.
Some Families is the UK’s first LGBTQ+ parenting podcast series, aiming to support families and answer questions for those curious about queer parenthood. Hosts Lotte Jeffs & Stu Oakley share their experiences as a lesbian mum and gay dad as well as invite a number of diverse guests to talk about their ups and downs being LGBTQ parents.
Out! by Suzi Ruffell is an LGBTQ+ podcast sharing the inspiring lives and stories of LGBTQ+ people. From Mohsin Zaidi to Baroness Ruth Hunt.
Homo Sapiens is a fun and informative Podcast starring Alan Cumming (Season 4) and Christopher Sweeney. Sharing intelligent conversation about LGBTQ life and culture.
Seasons 1-3 star Will Young as the co-host – you can find my review of the Podcast here.
A Gay and a Non Gay challenges several LGBTQ+ topics and differences head on – from douching to chem sex – and “promises that no matter who you are, or what you’re into (Bruce Springsteen or Britney), love is love and gay and nongays can be friends”.
When I first started listening, I wasn’t sure whether I would stick around (there was A LOT of bickering) but as I continued, and the podcast developed into Live Shows and started to feature a number of interesting guests, I started to really enjoy the chemistry between James and Dan (although they do still argue every now and again!).
LGBT Stories “documents the struggles, hardships, questions, joys, eye-openers and more, that many in the LGBTQI community have faced as they’ve opened up with the public, their families and most importantly themselves about their true identity, the decision to come out and what life is like today for them.”
This is probably one of the longest running LGBTQ+ podcasts, however I’ve only recent started listening. As always, a number of fascinating guests speak to Kevin Gerdes, and share their story about being LGBTQ+.
Two Twos Podcast features two black lesbians living in London “speaking their unapologetic truth whilst creating a safe space for people like themselves and bridging the gap between LGBT+ people and Cis gendered straight people!”
Another established podcast I’ve only recently started listening to, however one that I am currently catching up on. I REALLY love their topics on masc-presenting women.
#QueerAF is a podcast by National Student Pride, an event for LGBT+ students and graduates, and keeps the pride of conversation and discussion going all year round.
Hosted by Jamie Wareham, each week a different student, graduate or LGBT+ producer tells their most #QueerAF story – challenging taboo and encouraging topical discussion.
Pride! “extensively covers the key figures and notable moments, events and breakthroughs of the movement through the reproduction of rare images and documents, featuring interviews and essays from notable figures, Pride is a unique and comprehensive account of the ongoing challenges facing the gay community, and a celebration of the equal rights that have been won for many as a result of the sacrifices and passion of this mass movement.” (Blackwells)
Queer City takes us right into the hidden history of the city of London; from the notorious Normans to the frenzy of executions for sodomy in the early nineteenth century. Taking a journey through the coffee bars of sixties Soho to Gay Liberation, disco music and the horror of AIDS. (Blackwells)
This Day in June is a gorgeous childrens book and is a “wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community. This Day In June welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united.
An excellent tool for teaching respect, acceptance, and understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.” (Blackwells)
The Stonewall Riots is a timely and necessary read… and helps readers to understand the history and legacy of the LGBTQ+ movement.
Detailing the history leading up to the Riots, the Riots themselves, and the aftermath, and includes her interviews of people involved or witnesses, including a woman who was ten at the time. (Blackwells)
Proud. Compiled by Juno Dawson, this moving anthology of stories and poems by leading LGBTQ+ authors and creatives. From offering their stories to sharing their experiences of pride, Proud is a must-have for any rainbow library.
Each story also has a unique illustration by an LGBTQ+ artist.
The Book of Queer Prophets is ”A fascinating and thoughtful exploration of faith in the modern world… and contains modern-day epistles from some of our most important thinkers, writers and activists” (Hive)
As someone who has seen the placards at Pride and does not have religion in their life, I was apprehensive about reading this, but I’m so glad I did as it opened my eyes up to a new, forward thinking world of faith.
Loud & Proud “is an inspirational collection of speeches from the LGBTQ+ community and its allies that have changed our world, and the conversation.”
Nothing is off limits in this book, from Equal Marriage to Gender Definitions to bullying, this honest and raw collection of over 40 talks, speeches and lectures is an eye-opening experience, and is a wonderful insight into our rich history.
Good As You: From Prejudice to Pride – 30 Years of Gay Britain is an eye opening journey into 30 years of Gay Britain, from Manchester’s self-selection as Britain’s gay capital to the real-time romance of Elton John and David Furnish’s eventual marriage. (Hive)
Expect honest and candid interviews from major protagonists and allies.
Free To Be Me invites you to “Celebrate Pride and celebrate YOU with this rainbow coloured journal, packed with drag queens, activities, advice and the world’s sassiest LGBTQ+ dinosaur: Brett the Sassysaurus!” (Penguin)