We wanted to share our top five film and TV recommendations to get into for this pride month. We have created a varied list of titles that will not only entertain but also, educate you on the different areas of LGBTQ+ culture that have come into mainstream media which were created and began within the LGBTQ+ community. Although there is still more work to be done to encourage more diversity and nuanced LGBTQ+ representation, the titles we’ve mentioned are examples of what we deserve to see more of in the film industry.

1) Moonlight

“In Moonlight Black boys look blue.” 

A coming of age film following the life of Chiron, a young African-American boy, grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing everyday struggles of childhood up to adulthood. Chiron finds guidance and acceptance in Juan who teaches him to carve his own path. The film was also praised for its stellar use of colour grading capturing shadows and light reflecting off their skin. As he grows up in Miami, Juan’s advice leaves a lasting impression on Chiron allowing him to accept who he is.

Available to watch on Netflix.

2) Disclosure 

“According to a study from GLAAD, over 80% of Americans don’t personally know someone who’s transgender. That means most people learn about trans people from the ways they’re depicted in movies and TV.”

Following the success of her role of Sophia Bursett on Orange is The New Black, a transgender actress and LGBTQ+ advocate, Laverne Cox, explores the lack of black transgender representation in film. As well as dissecting the tropes and stereotypes that have formed a false narrative of transgender people. This documentary features transgender actors candidly and openly share their experiences in the film and media industry. The prejudices that they have faced and the need for more nuanced and honest depictions of trans people on film. 

Now available to watch on Netflix

3) Pariah 

“I am broken. I am broken open. Breaking is freeing. Broken is freedom. I am not broken. I am free.” 

Writer and director Dee Rees’ 2007 award-winning short film ‘Pariah’ is a transparent tale of a beautiful and transparent tale of 17 years old Alike (Adepero Oduye). Living in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood with her family Alike is quietly but firmly accepting her identity as a lesbian. With a flair for poetry where she can express herself freely, she navigates the complexities of self-acceptance and identification whilst silently navigating the quiet storm arising in her family home.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

4) Paris is Burning 

“In real life, you can’t get a job as an executive unless you have the educational background and the opportunity. Now, the fact that you are not an executive is merely because of the social standing of life…In a ballroom, you can be anything you want.”

‒ Dorian Corey, ‘Paris Is Burning’.

Documenting the lives of iconic ballroom pioneers in the late 80’s. Focussing on drag queens living in New York City and their “house” culture. Which provides a sense of community and support for the flamboyant and often socially shunned performers. Groups from each house compete in elaborate balls that take cues from the world of fashion, the documentary captures the raw beginnings of ballroom, voguing, and the dreams of those who gave the era its edge and warmth through an unfiltered lens. 

Available to watch on Netflix.

5) Pose

“Live. Work. Pose.”

Loosely based on the 1990 documentary ‘Paris is Burning’ most of the characters in the show are based on real characters that were legends in the ballroom scene and within the ballroom community. They paved the way for LGBTQ+ people of colour to flourish in the mainstream media and are the inspiration for many POSE characters. The show takes the audience on an educational, passionate, and raw journey on the origins of ballroom culture in the heart of New York. 

Available to watch on Netflix.

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