June is Pride month all across the world and with Covid-19 disrupting most plans it can be hard to find a way to celebrate while at home. Here are my picks of the best things available to stream now. Everything on the list has been created by and about the LGBT+ community.
But I’m a Cheerleader
Directed by Jamie Babbit, But I’m a Cheerleader tackles the topic of conversion therapy through a campy and satirical lens. Megan played by Natasha Lyonne (of Russian Doll and Orange Is the New Black) is a cheerleader who hates kissing her boyfriend. Her parents, who are worried she might be a homosexual, send her to True Directions, a conversion camp, to straighten her out.
Despite receiving criticism about its reliance on gay and lesbian stereotypes this film has been hailed as a queer classic due to its role on shining a light on the harsh reality of conversion therapy that many in the LGBT+ community still face today. They don’t shy away from pointing out how evil and cruel the practice is while managing to maintain humour and lightness.
While it is important to see the darker sides of these camps in films like Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post, it is a welcome break to see a film with a different, less intense take on it.
Available on Amazon Prime.
The disabled community is often overlooked when people talk about the LGBT+ representation but they are very real and valid members. Ryan O’Connell created, and stars in, Special, an autobiographical show about his life as a gay man with cerebral palsy.
It covers important conversations around ableism both in life and within the gay community and features an honest sex scene, one that is likely the first to feature a disabled man and a gay sex worker.
With only nine episodes at 15 minutes each, it is an easy watch. The short episodes mean that every minute feels purposeful and thought out, there’s no room for faff or filler but it also limits the show in what it can do. It has been renewed for a second season which is rumoured to have 30-minute episodes this time, hopefully allowing for more character development and in depth story lines.
The best thing about the show is Ryan, it is honest and real because he has written it about himself. He doesn’t hide the more vulnerable or flawed parts of his experience. He could have easily sugar-coated it and the choice to lay it all out makes it truly special.
Available on Netflix.
Sense 8 is a show that is hard to describe. It follows a group of eight people from all over the world who suddenly discover they have an emotional and physical link. This link allows them to communicate with each other in their heads and even move between their bodies. Amongst this great connection is danger, there is someone who is after them.
Directors Lily and Lana Wachowski, transgender sisters known for films like The Matrix and V for Vendetta, have created an action-filled, beautifully cinematic show that explores gender and sexuality. It is a television masterpiece but unfortunately due to there not being enough viewership to justify the huge shooting costs it was cancelled after 2 seasons. It returned for a two-hour finale after fans campaigned for it to be given the ending it deserved.
What better show to watch to celebrate pride than a pansexual sci-fi treasure created by trans women and starring every gender, race and sexuality possible.
Available on Netflix.
This 1967 documentary is an intimate look at competitive drag in a time before RuPaul’s Drag Race. The film is shot using handheld cameras and the director is a silent observer, letting the footage and the words of narrator Flawless Sabrina tell the story. There are no frills or manufactured drama, no queens in confessional booths spilling the tea on their competition, and it’s refreshing.
Available on Netflix
The Half of It
New to Netflix in May, The Half of It is a sweet and light-hearted rom-com that follows Ellie Chu, as she falls in love with a girl while writing love letters to her on a close friend’s behalf.
Unlike the other films on this list, it doesn’t deal with any momentous topics or shed light on a serious issue, what it does do is normalise girls liking girls. It doesn’t over-sexualise them or reduce them to stereotypes, it is just a teen film about a secret lesbian crush.
These kinds of films may not pave the way in queer cinema or change anyone’s outlook on the LGBT+ community but it might just be the kind of representation that younger audiences need.
Available on Netflix.
Featured image credit: theatlantic.com