LGBT Documentaries You Should See
If there is one thing in life I enjoy it’s a good movie. Gay? Well all the better. I have, over the past few years, gotten really into documentaries, gay, well you guessed it, what’s not better when sprinkled with some rainbow glitter? So I thought I would share some of the LGBT documentaries that I have really enjoyed in the hopes that you lovely people might comment below and point me in the right direction of some cinematic goodness.
The Life and Times of Harvey Milk
I saw this gem many moons ago and it really stayed with me. You might think that having seen Sean Penn’s wonderful performance in Milk (you have seen it right?) that you don’t need to see the documentary but you’d be missing out. Milk was, of course, assassinated for what he stood for, here is a moving clip from Rob Epstein’s movie.
The Celluloid Closet
This is one of my favourites, another from Rob Epstein, this time co directed by Jeffrey Friedman, it looks at how Hollywood depicted LGBT characters from the early days of film right through the 1980′s. Lets not underestimate the influence cinema has on how people see the world, and indeed, it’s minorities.
This eight episode TV series of documentaries takes a look at four college students who are going through gender transition. Jeremy Simmons follows two MTF and two FTM students all living in their various college campuses and illustrates wonderfully their struggle to balance all the various aspects of their lives.
One of the most moving documentaries I have ever seen, period. Paragraph 175 is another from Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, this time looking at the Nazi persecution of homosexuals during world war two. Klaus Müller, a historian, interviews survivors of concentration camps as they bravely tell their stories. It is beyond moving and if you haven’t seen it already then you simply must.
Paris is Burning
Jennie Livingston’s moving film of the New York drag scene in the 1980′s is not to be missed, you laugh, you learn and yes, you cry. You see the drag balls when they were at their peak and can’t help but be deeply moved by the ambitions of those who take part.
Thank God I’m a Lesbian
Amen sister! This is a great documentary in which lesbians come together and discuss all types of issues, from bisexuality to racism to outing. It includes directors, writers and women from all walks of life but it was made in the early 90′s so watch those hairdos!
The Brandon Teena Story
As with Milk, you might think you know this story from the amazing Boys Don’t Cry however Susan Muska and Gréta Olafsdóttir’s film starts with Brandon’s birth and goes right through his short life talking to those who knew him. Deeply moving and still very relevant, this movie is just amazing.
For the Bible Tells Me So
When I got this movie I thought it was going to be so depressing and irritating to watch that I put off watching it for a while, nothing could have been further from the truth. The film delves into the intersection between religion and homosexuality in such a personal way that you end up feeling so uplifted and proud of those who battle with finding a peace between their sexuality and their religion.
Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World
I had the pleasure of watching this film as part of the Dublin International Gay and Lesbian film festival in the early 00′s and it is the type of movie you never forget. Filmed in Africa, Vietnam, and India among others, the film makers look into what it means to be LGBT in the developing world.
Pursuit of Equality
Marriage Equality is an issue which has galvanised many in our community. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was a man who pushed our right to marry forward in a big way when he issued marriage licenses to same sex couples in his jurisdiction. The uproar brought the issue to international attention.
I did a full review on this great movie before, it follows the inspirational Chaz Bono on his journey as he transitions in front of the international media. Rather than shying away Chaz took the brave step of using his fame to show the life of a trans man to the world and thus break down many stereotypes.
Outing is something I have zero tolerance for but I have had many a discussion with HAL where she insists its OK to out someone when they are a closeted politician who is voting against LGBT rights, I can see her point. Outrage looks at this issue with a few specific examples of US politicians with rumours around their sexuality and who vote again and again against our rights across the board.
Wish Me Away
I am adding Wish Me Away to my list having seen it at Gaze 2012, you can read my review here
These are a handful of my favourites, I would love it if you would take the time to recommend a few documentaries you have enjoyed in the comments section below, that way I can go check them out!