With increasing representation in the media over recent years, there are plenty of fantastic tv shows, films and documentaries highlighting the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ people. For LGBTQ+ History Month, let’s have a look at some of TheSprout’s top picks!
1. It’s A Sin
This five part mini-series on Channel 4 is set in London between the 1980’s and 1990’s. It follows the story of a group of gay men and their friends who lived during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the UK. The cast features Olly Alexander from pop trio Years & Years, as well as starring Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Fry.
Pride is a film set in 1984, when Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party were in power. It follows a group of lesbian and gay activists, led my Mark Ashton, who find unlikely allies in the a group of Welsh miners taking a stand against pit closures. This feel good movie also has a great cast featuring Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton.
3. Elisa and Marcela
This Spanish drama on Netflix follows the life of Elisa and Marcela in the late 19th century. The pair form a friendship that becomes a forbidden love affair. In the true story, Elisa adopts a male identity to marry the woman she loves.
4. Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson was an American gay liberation activist and drag queen. Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. This documentary on Netflix follows the death of transgender icon, Marsha P. Johnson, who was found dead in the Hudson River in 1992. Many in the community believed she was murdered whilst it was originally ruled as a suicide and this documentary aims to shed new light on the horrific story.
5. A Secret Love
The lives and rights of LGBT+ people have changed radically in the past 50 years, and this new documentary from Netflix highlights how far things have come (most of the time) for some queer people. It follows the story of Pat Henschel and Terry Donahue who until recently referred to themselves as ‘cousins’. In fact, the pair had been in a loving relationship for more than 70 years.
6. The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game is a film highlighting the story of Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) who was a hero of WWII, cracking nearly indecipherable Nazi codes which saved thousands of lives and shortened the war by years. Despite his heroic efforts, Turing was denounced for being homosexual and sent to prison in 1952. This movie is currently available to watch on Netflix.
7. Convicted for Love
Homosexuality was only partly decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967. This Channel 4 documentary meets four of the many men who suffered criminal or medical discrimination in the last 50 years.
8. Epidemic: When Britain Fought Aids
This Channel 4 documentary tells the story of how Britain fought the HIV/AIDS epidemic told by the people who lived through it, from Paul O’Grady and Jean-Paul Gaultier, to activists and frontline doctors. It highlights the efforts of the Terrence Higgins Trust who humanised the disease and promoted safe sex in a crucial time.
9. Welcome to Chechnya: The Gay Purge
This BBC documentary highlights the Russian Federation republic’s deadly war against its gay citizens. Countless victims have been killed and hundreds more are missing. With the LGBT+ community living in fear and secrecy, this documentary follows the brave team of activists risking their own lives to fight and rescue them and provide shelter. This documentary is in Russian so can be watched with subtitles.
10. Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me
This BBC documentary follows the story of ex-Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas who is HIV positive. He reveals how hiding the truth about his health left him feeling depressed and contemplating taking his own life. Now he is on a journey to change perceptions about HIV by raising awareness, fighting prejudice and taking on the biggest physical challenge of his career – running the world’s toughest Iron Man.
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