TV and Film can be an important tool in amplifying stories and there have been more and more shows that are representing the LGBTQ+ community within their story lines such as Brooklyn 99 and Killing Eve. In line with June being Pride Month, here is a list of media that centers LGBTQ+ stories and/or characters.
Let’s get into it with TV Shows and which platforms you are able to watch them on:
Sex Education – Netflix
Netflix has been known to push boundaries and has often represented the LGBTQ+ community with acclaimed shows like Orange Is The New Black and Elite. Sex Education is no exception and, in fact, is adored by fans and critics alike, having garnered 40 million viewers within its first month of release.
Sex Education is a British comedy-drama that handles a variety of coming of age stories with well thought out characters and story lines that are both refreshing and beautifully written. The writers, through their characters, have handled matters such as: masturbation, infidelity, disability, asexuality, addiction, as well as the insecurities that come along with being a high school teenager.
In September last year, Netflix announced that season 3 is already underway with both season 1 and season 2 currently available to stream.
Pose – Netflix
Pose is an American drama series, available to stream on Netflix, that looks at New York City’s African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming drag ball culture scene in the 80’s.
Season 1 of Pose was met with such critical acclaim that the show received multiple award nominations including the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama that was won by Billy Porter. Porter was awarded, in 2019, the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, being the first openly gay black man to be nominated for, and win, in an Emmy lead acting category.
Pose S2 begins in 1990 with many of the show’s characters now being HIV-positive or living with AIDS. Some have become AIDS activists but most of them are now attending frequent fundraisers, funerals and memorial services for their friends and lovers. Keep some Kleenex on standby readers because this one will make you shed a few tears!
Heavily inspired by Jennie Livingston’s 1990 documentary, Paris Is Burning; Pose makes for incredible viewing. Season 3 is currently airing in the US with no official date for the UK just yet.
Gentleman Jack – BBC
This is a co-production between the BBC and HBO set in 1832 Yorkshire based on the coded, collected diaries of Anne Lister who was later given the moniker of ‘the first modern lesbian’. Gentleman Jack is a period drama that The Guardian dubbed a ‘Queer Brontë.
It’s a Sin – Channel 4
If you have a keen eye and a good memory then you may remember that all the way back in the New Year, I mentioned Russel T Davis’ new show It’s A Sin which has now since aired on Channel 4. The five-part series is still available to stream via On Demand if you haven’t yet watched it.
Similarly to Pose, Channel 4’s It’s A Sin will be one that will leave you, the viewer, feeling strung out and emotional as you go on a journey this charismatic group who lived during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the UK during the 80’s.
Despite being declined by the BBC and ITV, It’s A Sin has been viewed, in its entirety, more than 6.5 million times; making it the most binge-watched show to stream on channel 4’s On Demand service.
Maybe you haven’t got the time to commit to a new TV series or perhaps you are simply in the mood to watch a movie so here are some incredible film recommendations for you to watch:
Paris Is Burning – Amazon
This is a 1990 American documentary-film directed by Jennie Livingston that I mentioned earlier as an inspiration for the Emmy Award winning TV series: Pose. Paris Is Burning is currently available to rent for £3.49 or purchase for £7.99 on Amazon Prime.*
Paris Is Burning documents the ball culture of New York City and the communities involved in it. Critics consider Paris Is Burning to invaluable and in 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’.
This 2016 coming-of-age drama film based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue is available to rent for £3.49 or buy for £3.99 on Amazon Prime.*
Moonlight has been dubbed, one of the best films of the 21st century and rightfully so for the accolades that Moonlight has won. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, along with Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. Moonlight became the first LGBTQ film and the first film with an all-black cast to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Crew member, Joi McMillon became the first black woman to be nominated for an editing Oscar alongside cast member Mahershala Ali who became the first Muslim to win an acting Oscar.
The Half of It – Netflix
The Half Of It is an LGBTQ+ coming of age movie that I gave a more in-depth review which you can read here and remains a feel good movie that you should be watching!
The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson – Netflix
Last, but certainly not least, is The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, a 2017 American documentary that chronicles Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera who were prominent figures in the gay liberation and transgender rights movement in New York City from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Both Johnson and Rivera have been named as central to the Stonewall Riots June 28th 1969, now celebrated by today’s LGBTQ+ Pride events held annually throughout the world towards the end of June. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson looks at activist Victoria Cruz’s investigation into Johnson’s death in 1992, initially ruled a suicide by police despite suspicious circumstances
This list is only a short sample of LGBTQIA+ media available for you to rent, purchase and stream. Perhaps you’ve seen one of your favourite shows/movie listed or you’ve been inspired to watch something new, either way happy watching and Happy Pride Month!
*Prices stated are accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change by the streaming service