Pride Month is a festive time. When one thinks of Pride, one might conjure up images of parades, outlandish costumes, and dancing in the streets. While Pride is a celebration of identity for the LGBTQ+ community, it is also a celebration rooted in history and activism. Several films have been made over time, highlighting the plight and hardships the LGBTQ+ community have faced over the years. The following is a list of films that are still revered today due to their subject matter.
Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Based on the real life of Brandon Teena, Hilary Swank’s award winning portrayal about a trans man and the struggles and discriminations he encountered in rural Nebraska. The film illustrates Brandon Teena’s desire to live his life and ultimately depicts the very violent attack that ended his life. Twenty years later, the film still resonates as violence against the trans community is on the rise.
Not only is this the first mainstream to film deal directly with AIDS, it is the first to strive to understand the human experience. Tom Hanks plays the protagonist Andy Beckett and deals with the discrimination he faces in the workplace and in life after the disease begins to manifest itself. The film tackles the ignorance and fears that were particularly prevalent during the 80’s.
Love, Simon (2018)
For the first time, a mainstream Hollywood romantic teen comedy centers around the life of a closeted teenage boy. Simon (Nick Robinson) engages in his average high school life and situations while falling in love. Simon comes to terms with embracing his sexuality and allowing his family and friends into his life.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
This Academy Award winning film is a standout due to Ang Lee’s direction and the amazing performances by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. This film brought to light discussions of sexuality, masculinity, and attraction. Both main characters Ennis (Ledger) and Jack (Gyllenhaal) appear to be happily married, but also have a powerful connection to each other. This story brings up questions regarding the relevance of sexuality and labels.
This film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and it is also the first film with an all black cast whose subject matter concerns LGBTQ+ issues. We see the three stages of the protagonist’s life and he in known by a different name in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. This film explores the protagonist’s sexuality, as well as seeing how his life changes with each identity.