"Love is love is love is love is love is love."
And it's true. June is LGBT Pride Month and although it may not seem like it, love is all around. Doesn't matter if you love him or H.I.M (thanks Lady Gaga), this month is all about living your truest self. In order to get you pumped for whatever you have planned for this month, here are 14 queer movies and TV shows to get you in the mood.
1. Paris is Burning
If you're a Drag Race fan and HAVEN'T seen this documentary, this is the absolute FIRST thing you need to see. This documentary focuses on drag queens living in New York City and their "house" culture. Groups from each house compete in elaborate balls that take cues from the world of fashion and whatever is happening in the world.. Beyond this the documentary touches on poverty and racism while featuring interviews with a number of renowned drag queens, including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija and Dorian Corey. The library is open and you need to educate yourself. If you loved the documentary, the FX series Pose is another thing you should watch once you've finished.
A 2008 biographical 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. It begins with his 40th birthday, when he was still living in New York City, and follows his rise and ends with the double murder of him and Mayor George Moscone. The film was directed by Gus Van Sant, written by Dustin Lance Black, and stars Sean Penn and James Brolin.
3. Wynonna Earp
Is a supernatural horror Western that premiered on SyFy in 2016. It centers around Wynonna Earp, the great-great-granddaughter of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp, as she battles revenants, the reincarnated outlaws that Wyatt killed. She also fights other supernatural beings that inhabit the Ghost River Triangle, a cursed territory near the Canadian Rockies that includes Purgatory, her home town. Addressing the "Bury your Gays" trope head on, Wynonna Earp has their queer female characters get shot then ask if chicks dig scars (rather than ultimately dying).
This gorgeous, captivating film takes place in three segments over the course of an African-American boys life from childhood to adulthood as he tries to come to terms with his sexuality. Moonlight became the first film with an all-black cast, the first LGBT film, and the second lowest-grossing film domestically (behind The Hurt Locker) to win the Oscar for Best Picture. You know... the Oscars with the whol La La Land fiasco?
The Wachowski helmed series follow Eight strangers around the globe find themselves connected -- first by a violent vision, then by their shared ability to connect with one another's thoughts and actions, and finally by the urgent need to find out what happened and why. Included in the characters are a young transgender woman named Nomi, her cisgender partner Amanita, and a closeted-gay telenovela star named Lito. Sadly, the show was cancelled far before its time was up. That being said, you can catch all the seasons (and the wrap-up film) on Netflix.
6. To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar
You wouldn't think a 1995 American comedy starring Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo as three New York City drag queens who embark on a road trip would have existed. Apparently there was hot competition between the leading men of Hollywood at the time to get one of the three starring roles. Although slightly problematic, the movie has a good heart and serves as a reminder that even in the least likely of places you can find acceptance and yourself.
7. One Day at a Time
Based on the 1975 sitcom of the same name, One Day at a Time follows the everyday life of a Cuban-American family (with each character finding their own journey). Matriarch and veteran Penelope Alvarez does her best to raise her two children, Elena and Alex, with the help of her mother Lydia (played by screen and broadway legend Rita Moreno). Throughout the first season, Elena struggles with her sexuality eventually coming out to her family and dealing with the aftermath.
Starring Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, and Kyle Chandler Carol tells the story of a forbidden affair between an aspiring female photographer and an older woman going through a difficult divorce. Set in the 1950s (and based on the 1950s novel The Price of Salt), Carol was unprecedented at the time with its fairly happy ending.
9. Queer as Folk
Based on the British series of the same name created by Russell T Davies, Queer as Folk was the first hour-long drama on American television to portray the lives of gay men and women. The US series follows the lives of five gay men living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a lesbian couple, and Michael's mother Debbie and his uncle Vic. The title of the show comes from a an expression from Northern England, "there's nowt so queer as folk", meaning "there's nothing as strange as people" (which is a word play on "queer" meaning homosexual).
10. Strong Island
While the documentary itself isn't inherently queer, it follows the murder of African-American transgender director Yance Ford's brother in 1992. William Ford was a teacher who was killed by a white mechanic. An all-white jury declined to indict his killer, who claimed self-defense.
11. The L Word
Originally airing on Showtime, the series portrays the lives of a group of lesbians and their friends, connections, family, and lovers in the city of West Hollywood. Once again, slightly problematic when looked at through a 2018 lens, The L Word made headway in media representation for lesbians. In 2017, a sequel was announced to be in the works at Showtime.
12. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
This documentary re-examine the 1992 death of transgender legend Marsha P. Johnson, who was found floating in the Hudson River. Originally ruled a suicide, many in the community believe she was murdered. If that name rings any bells, that's because she (along with Sylvia Rivera) was one of the prominent figures of the Stonewall uprising in 1969.
13. Call Me by Your Name
The breakout film of 2017 starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. While it didn't win as many awards as it should have, it put a same-sex relationship in the forefront where nobody got sick, nobody died, and nobody was punished for their feelings. It also served as a more mainstream example of bisexuality and made all of us fall head over heels for newcomer Chalamet. Set in Italy during the summer of 1983, Elio and Oliver discover their awakening desire over the course of the summer that will alter their lives forever.
Based on a true story, the 2014 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. Starring Ben Schnetzer, George MacKay, Joseph Gilgun, Faye Marsay, Dominic West, Andrew Scott, (hottie) Freddie Fox, Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy, and Imelda Staunton, it also touches on the growing awareness about HIV and AIDS.
15. Love, Simon
This simultaneously heart-warming and heart-wrenching movie tells the story of Simon Spier, who is secretly gay. When another student at his school threatens to give his secret away, he has to decide whether he's willing to do what it takes to keep his secret, or come to terms with his identity publicly.
16. The Danish Girl
Loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener, The Danish Girl tells a story of Lili finding herself as a transgender woman after filling in for a female model in one of Gerda's paintings. In the movie, we see Lili struggle with the public criticism of 1920s Copenhagen as she comes out to the world and eventually undergo the first sex change operation.
If you learn anything from this list... it's that there are more Canadian-American produced queer shows than you'd think.
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