24 Shows & Movies That Celebrate Queerness
June is Pride Month and since we'll be spending a lot of time indoors due to COVID-19, we may as well make the best of it and binge these uplifting titles
Happy Pride Month, everyone!
Yes, this probably isn’t the way you intended to spend your June. With most Pride festivities around the world cancelled—or moved online—due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we’re about as far away from the parades, concerts and patio parties as you can get. Hell, it would be super easy to call the whole thing off, slump onto the couch and just dig into the Ben & Jerry’s waiting for you in your freezer… but don’t do it! (Well, still have the ice cream, actually.)
There are other ways to celebrate your Pride this season, whether it’s by donating to community organizations and businesses, reaching out to queer friends and allies, or watching the surplus of LGBTQ content available on various platforms. Classics films! Hot new shows! Now’s your chance to throw your support behind queer content creators and celebrate our stories.
Here are just a few recommendations if you want a Pride pick-me-up. (I tried to focus on funny and uplifting content, so if you’re looking for The Boys in the Band or The Hours, it won’t be on this list.)
Queer TV Shows
RuPaul’s Drag Race (Crave)
In 2009, RuPaul Charles married the challenges of drag performance with a tried-and-true reality television show format, and a phenomenon was born. Now, 12 seasons into its run and with numerous sequels and spin-offs (including Canada’s Drag Race coming next month!!), the series continues to provide queer artists and issues with an international platform. And, also? It’s a lot of fun.
One Day at a Time (Netflix)
Norman Lear’s ‘70s sitcoms were famous for tackling important social issues, and this reboot of one of his most famous shows took that spirit and ran with it. Focused on a Cuban-American family in Los Angeles, the show delves into everything from mental illness to immigration, but daughter Elena’s coming out story remains a series high point.
The Other Two (Crave/Comedy Central)
If you’re looking for something a little more tongue-in-cheek and irreverent, this Comedy Central gem about the two unmotivated siblings of a child popstar is perfect. Older brother and aspiring actor Cary Dubek (Drew Tarver) goes on his own journey over the course of the first season, navigating identity and what it means to figure out who you are in the shadow of fame.
Feel Good (Netflix)
Canadian Mae Martin’s dramedy (about a former addict struggling to do the right thing while navigating the turbulent waters of a new relationship with a straight woman) is as powerful as it is funny and romantic. Also, look for a fantastic guest turn by everyone’s favourite Friend Lisa Kudrow as Martin’s mother.
Schitt’s Creek (CBC Gem, Netflix)
What started as a traditional fish-out-of-water sitcom about a wealthy family dumped in a crappy small town morphed into something very different over its run—a story about second chances, having faith in yourself and learning to fall in love. That the show’s central romance was queer and no one even batted an eye makes it all the more powerful.
POSE (FX, iTunes), Hollywood (Netflix), Vida (Crave), Sex Education (Netflix), The L Word: Generation Q (Crave), Special (Netflix), Hannah Gadsby: Douglas (Netflix)
Carol (Amazon Prime)
Todd Haynes’s film about the love affair between a divorced woman (Cate Blanchett) and a young shop clerk (Rooney Mara) is already a queer classic, and for all of the right reasons. A faithful adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, the film just glows with desire and possibility, subverting just about every expectation one has about queer love stories of the past.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (iTunes)
John Cameron Mitchell’s film (based on his own stage musical) about a young man who transitions for an American G.I. and flees Eastern Europe for life in America as a rock star is funny and sad in equal measure—exploring identity, art and love, and buoyed by an unforgettable performance.
Sean Baker’s buddy film is often noted for its beauty and that it was entirely shot on an iPhone 5s, but what makes it truly singular is the way it uses that technology to fully inhabit Los Angeles street culture through the eyes of its marginalized characters. Also, it’s funnier that you’d expect, given the subject matter.
Based on a true story about a group of queer activists rallying behind families impacted by the British miners’ strike, Matthew Warchus’ film is a crowd pleaser with a strong cast, showcasing all that can be gained through unlikely alliances. This film strangely flew under the radar a few years ago (despite a Golden Globe nomination), but I highly recommend it.
Paris is Burning (Amazon Prime)
Jennie Livingston’s doc about the intersectional identities of late 1980s ball culture was revolutionary for providing a platform and voice for Black and Latino gay and trans artists. And while tragedy lurks throughout, the focus on a minoritized people finding freedom through art is a powerful one. (This film also inspired the hit FX series POSE.)
Circus of Books (Netflix), A Secret Love (Netflix), But I’m a Cheerleader (Tubi), Parting Glances (Tubi), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (Netflix), Love, Simon (Netflix), G.B.F.(Amazon Prime)