LGBT+ History Month: Behind the Lens
The theme of this year’s LGBT+ History Month is #BehindTheLens; an opportunity to recognise the amazing contributions from LGBTQ+ people to cinema and film from behind the lens. To celebrate, Bath Mind staff have chosen to share a selection of LGBTQ+ themed films, TV shows and books that that share the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people, past and present.
Em recommends 100 Queer Poems. “An anthology edited by Andrew McMillan and Mary Jean Chan, this lovely collection of poetry features work from 20th-century poets as well as contemporary LGBTQ+ voices and covers everything from childhood and adolescence to relationships with our chosen families.”
Jack, who recommends Disclosure, says, “This documentary by trans director Sam Feder looks at the impact of the way film and TV portray trans people. Lots of trans people experience internalised transphobia and this documentary helped me notice that the reason I thought I was a monster was because that’s all I’d ever been shown by the world around me. Particularly at the moment, trans people are in the news every day; I’d really encourage people to be critical of the way trans people are portrayed and spoken about in all forms of media. Look #behindthelens and talk to the trans people in your life.”
Jodie recommends She Who Became The Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan. “This book is an epic reimagining of Zhu Yuanzhang’s journey to founding the Ming Dynasty in China. The book is incredibly immersive and, in my opinion, is an ultimate queer historical epic. If you enjoy historical fiction, I think you’ll love this book!”
“What I love about Portrait of a Lady on Fire is that it is created by queer women, for queer women. The writer and director, Celine Sciamma, is a lesbian, as is one of the lead actresses. This film celebrates queer love without sensationalizing or objectifying the protagonists.”
Other recommended books, films, and TV shows to add to your list during LGBT+ History Month and beyond include…
- Pride – Written by Stephen Beresford and directed by Matthew Warchus, this film is a true story depicting a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by the British miners’ strike in 1984.
- Milk – An American biographical film based on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk (the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors), directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Dustin Lance Black.
- The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson – A documentary investigating the 1992 death of transgender legend Marsha P. Johnson. The film includes accounts from transgender activists and shows the ongoing battle that trans people had (and continue to have) in their communities.
- Frida – A biopic about queer artist Frida Kahlo (played by Salma Hayek) and directed by Julie Taymor
- My Policeman – A story of forbidden love and changing social conventions, My Policeman (based on the book by Bethan Roberts) is a film that follows three people as they embark on an emotional journey in 1950s Britain.
- The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone – This short documentary sees Georgia Stone share her journey from child to teen activist and the historic fight for transgender rights.
- It’s A Sin – This British drama series is set in London in the 1980s and depicts the lives of a group of gay men and their friends during the HIV/AIDS crisis. The series includes several openly gay and queer performers including Olly Alexander, Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris, and David Carlyle. Director Russell T Davies stated, “for my one programme, I wanted to create a safe space where gay actors could voluntarily come in and be themselves.”
- Gentleman Jack – A period drama series set in Yorkshire in 1832 in Yorkshire, Gentleman Jack is based on the diaries of lesbian trailblazer Anne Lister and documents a lifetime of lesbian relationships.
- Feel Good – This British comedy-drama series was created by Mae Martin and Joe Hampson and is stars Mae Martin as a fictionalised version of themself (the character has expressed gender uncertainty but uses she/her pronouns throughout the show) as she tries to control her addictive behaviours.
- Birthday by Meredith Russo – An unconventional love story by author Meredith Russo, Birthday tells the tale of Morgan and Eric, who the reader meets once a year on their shared birthday. Over the years, the pair drift apart, come together, fight, and struggle to be their true selves.
- Pride: The Story of the LGBTIQ Equality Movement by Matthew Todd – This book documents the milestones in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality, from the victories of early activists to the passing of legislation barring discrimination, and the gradual acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community in politics, sport, culture and the media.
- Transgender 101: A simple guide to a complex issue by Nicholas Teich – Written by an educator and member of the transgender community, this resource combines an accessible portrait of transgenderism with a rich history of transgender life and its unique experiences of discrimination.
- In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-Binary Life by Jamie Windust – A guide to navigating non-binary life that is filled with positivity, compassion, and wit.
- Bi by Dr Julia Shaw – This personal journey starts with Shaw’s own openly bisexual identity and celebrates the resilience and diversity of the bi community.
A big thanks to our wonderful staff and the national Mind charity for inspiring these suggestions!
Posted on: 15th February 2023