Pride Month: Must Watch LGBT+ Movies

by Maryssa Orta
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June is recognized as Pride month and began being celebrated after the Stonewall Riots. During this month we learn LGBT+ history, identities, and experiences while we also celebrate the progress we’ve made so far. Even though 2020’s pride month is coming to a close, it doesn’t mean we should stop learning and celebrating. Here’s a list of some of the best movies to learn about the LGBT+ experience. Whether you’re looking for a fun rom-com or an educational piece there’s sure to be a movie out there for you!

“The Handmaiden”

A South Korean film directed by Park Chan-Wook, and based on the book “The Finger Smith” by Sarah Waters, “The Handmaiden” tells the story of thief Sook-Hee (Kim Tae-ri) who plans to con a wealthy Japanese woman (Kim Min-hee) out of her inheritance. This movie is full of plot twists, so I can’t give away much, but it is worth a watch!

“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”

Directed by Celine Sciamma, this historical romance tells the story of a woman hired to paint someone without them knowing. Together the painter and subject bond for a time. This movie also places an importance on how art can influence the memory. This is an amazing piece that gets you thinking about art and the sacrifices we make for a memory.

“Paris is Burning”

A classic LGBT+ must watch for pride month. Directed by Jennie Livingston, this is a documentary that focuses on drag queens living in New York City. However, this movie doesn’t just focus on the LGBT+ experience, it also looks at racism and poverty while featuring renowned drag queens. This film takes you through so many lives and will always be the first LGBT+ movie you have to watch.

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PARIS IS BURNING (1990)

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“Love, Simon”

A romantic-comedy directed by Greg Berlanti based on the book by Becky Albertalli, this movie tells the story of Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) as he starts an online relationship with someone from his school. Simon navigates the year trying to uncover who he’s talking to while also keeping his sexuality a secret. A sweet movie with a great surprise. The book is also really great if you want more of Simon Spier!

“Brokeback Mountain”

Another classic LGBT movie. Directed by Ang Lee, this movie tells the story of sheep herders, Jack and Ennis, and their decades long secret relationship. They go through their lives as husbands and father, but occasionally return to the mountain where they met t see each other. You might want to keep a box of tissues nearby if you’re planning to watch this for your next movie night!

“A Secret Love”

Another documentary that follows the couple, Terry and Pat. Directed by Chris Bolan, we follow the couple in their late 80s as they share their past and come out to their family and get married. A must watch for pride and so shockingly sweet. A movie for any romantic out there.

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A Secret Love: The Romance Of The Century When I first saw the trailer for Ryan Murphy’s A Secret Love, I was moved to tears. Needless to say, my expectations were more than met while watching this documentary. Ryan Murphy has been associated with numerous iconic (if not problematic at times) LGBTQ inclusive television and film in Hollywood, such as Pose, Glee, American Horror Story, American Crime Story, The Normal Heart (2014) and many more. The documentary has been directed by Chris Bolan, and edited by Bernadine Colish, and is currently available to watch on Netflix. Inspired from Doris Day’s song “Secret Love”, the film begins with our protagonists Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel deciding to move houses, and is peppered throughout with the couple’s life through the years via archival home video tapes and family photographs. Terry was 22 years of age when she first met the 18 year old Pat on a skating rink, way back in the 40s. They immediately connected in a time that was not open at all to the idea of LGBTQ people as legitimate members of society. In a poignant narration that justifies the need for queer representation, Pat tells that she confessed her love to Terry in a note where she stated ”I am a reader, and I have read many stories, but none where a woman loved another woman.” It is important to note that Pat wrote many such letters to Terry, with all the bottoms torn off so that nobody would find out that they were a couple. Their friends and family hail the duo as unacknowledged pioneers in a time where being gay, being different was not popular. In the 40s, gay and lesbian underground bars were often raided by police, with people being thrown into police vans for mere clothing markers, such as suspected gay men owning more than 3 pieces of woman’s clothing, or women wearing men’s front zipper pants. In what used to be a literal witch hunt, gay people were openly terrorised and ostracised by society, police, with even their names and jobs being published in the paper. Full article on www.gaysifamily.com. #netflix #asecretlovenetflix #lesbianfilm #loveislove🌈 #queer #lgbtqi #gender #sexuality

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“My Own Private Idaho”

Directed by Gus Van Sant, this loose adaption of Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” tells the story of gay hustler Mike Waters (River Phoenix) as he travels through Oregon, Idaho, and Rome to find his estranged mother along with the wealthy Scott Favor (Keanu Reeves). This movie is not only sets up an amazing atmosphere, but also gives us an unforgettable character in Mike. The campfire scene gets me every time.

“The Trans List”

A short documentary directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders all about the lives and experiences of people who identify as transgender. This documentary features some celebrities too, such as Laverne Cox and activists like Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. Even though the run-time doesn’t reach an hour, it is still informative, so when you have time, put this film on to learn and listen.

“But I’m a Cheerleader”

This comedy/drama is directed by Jamie Babbit and stars Natasha Leone. This film is all about Megan a typical girl in high school until her parents send her to a camp to change her sexual orientation. Although she feels as though she shouldn’t be there, Megan starts to develop feelings for unashamed lesbian Graham. Another amazing must watch for pride month.

“Moonlight”

No LGBT+ media list is complete without the film”Moonlight” (directed by Barry Jenkins). This drama follows the life of Chiron (Ashton Sanders), a gay black man growing up in Miami. We get to see him grow and receive support from the people who raised him. This is a film with stunning visuals and will be a long time classic.

There are so many more movies about the LGBT+ experience and this is no definite list. No matter what your go-to streaming service is there will always be a movie to celebrate pride with. So, gather up a bunch of friends to learn about the transgender experience or laugh together during a sweet romantic comedy. Happy Pride month to all of you!

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