This month is all about the Pride! So why not celebrate with these amazing movies and TV shows.
LGBTQ centric movies and TV shows have existed for a long time now, but like fine wine, these have only gotten better with time. While some provide more prominent storylines for these characters, others get to be in the front row of the show. While Hollywood was already shining a light, Bollywood has begun embracing LGBTQ characters and relationships.
Picking a few classics and a lot of newbies, here are some of the best LGBTQ movies and shows to binge watch during Pride month.
Homosexual characters were often a means of mockery for Bollywood, for instance, take a look at the fan favourite etertainer Dostana. However, even though Bollywood has opened its mind, society continues to mock and shame homosexual individuals. A lesbian teacher Suman Singh becomes the butt of a terrible prank after she goes to meet a women she met on a dating app only to discover that he was a man. She goes to report him to the cops when she meets gay cop Shardul Thakur, and the two decide to enter into a lavender marriage to get their parents off their backs about their future.
While Bollywood managed to tackle the conversation about homosexuality, it was yet to cover the topic of transgender individuals with respect and not mockery. Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui was a step in the right direction, proving that transgender people deserve to live like free human beings with equal respect. Manu, a bodybuilder from Chandigarh falls in love with Maanvi, a transgender Zumba teacher and the two get into a relationship. When Manu finds out the truth about Maanvi, he takes it as well as one can imagine. Manu not only shames Maanvi but also torments her about wrongfully taking advantage of him. And matters only get worse when Manu’s family find out the truth about Maanvi.
If romantic teen movies is your thing, then Crush is definitely worth a watch. While the movie borrows elements from the cliched teen rom-coms, Crush manages to leave a lasting impact. For a time where movies focus on individuals coming out about their sexuality, Crush does really well to inspire people. After being suspected of vandalism, young, awkward artist Paige is forced to join her high school’s track team, but decides to use the opportunity to get close to her crush Gabby. But when is it ever that simple? Over time, Paige finds herself drawn to someone else, whom she never thought she’d fall for. The movie is a cheesy romantic flick, with a lot of firsts, a good watch for almost anyone and everyone.
Fire is an example of brilliant cinema for many reasons. The first and most important one being that it was one of Bollywood’s earliest presentations of homosexuality, at a time when we weren’t ready to have the conversation. The Indo-Canadian movie featured two of the most gifted actresses, Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi playing the role of the housewives whose husbands would rather be with mistresses than their own wives. The two women feel trapped in their respective marriages and begin to spend time with each other finding love and solace in the other.
We’ve seen plenty of cheesy PG-13 teenage rom-com shows, but have any of them been about the queer community? Young teenager Charlie recently came out, albeit reluctantly, thanks to bullies who made his life hell. He starts meeting up with a senior named Ben in secret because of his internalized hompophobia. However, when Charlie meets Nick Nelson, a rugby player, he is instantly bewitched. Despite his friends’ warning about Nick’s orientation, Charlie cannot give up on Nick because he knows there’s something between them. Heartstopper is one of the most adorable representations of gay teenage romance with sweet moments like the first touch, the first kiss, and not forgetting the infamous “Hi” greetings.
While teen rom-coms seem like a been there done that scenario, Love Simon stands at the forefront of all high school rom-com movies. It talks about the biggest struggle of the LGBTQ+ community which is coming out of the closet, a decision no one can make for them, but themselves. Love Simon is the story of Simon Spier, a young gay teenager hiding his sexuality from everyone around him, including his family and best friends. However, after meeting another anonymous gay student online, the two start an online relationship, through an exchange of emails. The emails are soon discovered by another student who threatens to reveal Simon’s secret, which Simon clearly isn’t ready for, but has to face nonetheless.
A coming-of-age show that caters to all sexual orientations, British comedy drama Sex Education is one of the most popular shows on Netflix. The shows is centred around a bunch of secondary school children struggling to understand adolescent sexuality while trying to understand their own identities and desires. Among the many beloved characters is Eric, a gay son born to Ghanian-Nigerian immigrant parents. Eric’s storyline focuses on him coming out to his parents, while tackling his own cultural and religious clashes. But the reason we really love Sex Education is because of its inclusivity. It not only covers the homosexual and heterosexual relationships but also the more difficult conversations about asexual, pansexual and non-binary individuals as well.
While LGBTQ is well-represented in modern cinema, bisexuality remains in the dark with very few representations, one of the few examples being The Bold Type. The show is about three strong-headed women working for one of New York’s best magazines – Scarlet. One of the protagonists, Kat Edison, an outspoken social media manager, often felt that she struggled to fit in. Before she met Adena, another headstrong queer Muslim photographer, Kat believed she was a straight woman. And after Adena she believed she was gay. However, like the course of her life, Kat realised that she was always an in-between person, too black for white skinned people and too white for black skinned people (interracial parents), and here too she was somewhere in between, trying to find a place for herself.
Alice Wu makes her directorial comeback after 16 years with Netflix’s The Half of It. The plot, loosesly based on the 19th century play Cyrano de Bergerac follows the story of shy but intelligent Ellie Chu. Using her sharp intelligence, Ellie offers to do other students’ homework for a small fee which helps her father pay the bills. And that is how she meets high school jock Paul Munsky. No, this isn’t their love story. Paul asks Ellie to help him write letters to his crush Aster Flores, which she reluctantly does. Through the letters, Ellie not only realises that she’s falling for Asher, but also manages to find a friend in Paul. The movie has everything you need for a sweet romance flick, drama,friendship and the sweet bliss of first love.