Pride Month has just begun. However, this year, as of right now, there will be no festivals or parades during the month of June. In their places are virtual celebrations. Another way to celebrate Pride is to watch movies and TV shows/miniseries that show different aspects and experiences in the LGBTQ spectrum. The preceding list is a compilation of various films and TV events encapsulates some of those aspects and experiences. As always, if you feel there is something noteworthy or essential that I might have missed, please feel free to tell us in the comments and on our social media.
The Fight for Equality
There are so many films and documentaries that tackle the LGBTQ+ community’s fight for equal rights in the United States. In the following selections, the productions made for film and television covered the fights in the two major epicenters: New York City and San Francisco.
Stonewall Uprising (2010): As the title states, Stonewall Uprising is a documentary on the riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969. The documentary which made its theatrical debut on June 16, 2010 at Greenwich Village’s Film Forum in New York City. In June 2011, PBS aired Stonewall Uprising as a part of its series, American Experience. Here is the official description from PBS:
When police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City on June 28, 1969, the street erupted into violent protests that lasted for the next six days. The Stonewall riots, as they came to be known, marked a major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States and around the world.
Stonewall Uprising will air again on PBS this month. Check your local listings for day and time.
Milk (2008): The Gus Van Zant film about early gay rights advocate Harvey Milk came three years after Brokeback Mountain. Milk’s screenplay was written by Dustin Lance Black, who talked to people who knew Milk best, including former intern and founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, Cleve Jones. The Academy Award winning film stars Sean Penn as Milk and also stars James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna, Josh Brolin, Alison Pill, and Victor Garber. Milk is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, or streaming.
When We Rise (2016): Based partially on the book, When We Rise: My Life in the Movement by Cleve Jones , the ABC miniseries reunited Dustin Lance Black and Gus Van Zant to tell the story of the gay rights movement from the various viewpoints of notable activists from the gay rights fight in the 1970s to the marriage equality victories in 2013. The cast of When We Rise includes Austin P. McKenzie, Kevin McHale, T.R. Knight, Rachel Griffiths, Mary-Louise Parker, Guy Pearce, Charlie Carver, Rob Reiner, Rosie O’Donnell, Richard Schiff, Whoopi Goldberg and many more. When We Rise can be purchased from iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.
The AIDS Epidemic
Any list about the LGBTQ movies and television productions have to include ones that focus on the AIDS crisis. From the its beginnings in the early 1980s, the AIDS epidemic has claimed the lives of many in the LGBTQ community yet born out of this tragedy is a strength and resolve that the virus can never kill. Although great strides have been made in the fight against AIDS, it is a battle we as community still fight to this day.
The Normal Heart (2014): The HBO film is based on the play of the same name written by the recently departed Larry Kramer who was one of the most notable AIDS activists in the 1980s. The Normal Heart, directed by Ryan Murphy, details the beginning of the epidemic and the struggle against an apathetic establishment to seek fair medical treatment for those inflicted. Murphy assembles an A-List cast which includes Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff, and Alfred Molina. The Normal Heart is available on all HBO streaming platforms or you can rent or buy it on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, and Vudu.
Angels in America (2003): Based on the Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning play written by Tony Kushner, the HBO miniseries directed by Mike Nichols brought some major Hollywood names like Al Pacino and Meryl Streep to head an outstanding cast. Angels in America, according to HBO, “chronicles the stories behind AIDS diagnoses in New York City.” Angels in America can be found on all HBO streaming platforms and is available for rent or purchase on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, and Vudu.
It’s My Party (1996): This film from 1996 tells the heart wrenching story of a gay man as he starts to experience severe symptoms from AIDS. After making the decision to plan to kill himself, he has a party to say goodbye to his friends and family. The film’s cast includes Eric Roberts, Marlee Matlin, Greg Louganis, Margaret Cho, Bronson Pinchot, and Olivia Newton-John. It’s My Party can be found for sale on Amazon, though not for cheap. It is one of those movies that if you can find it, it is worth watching.
Ball culture gained mainstream attention thanks to Madonna’s hit song “Vogue.” It’s origins date back to the late 19th century, and in its current form, in the 1980s as a safe space for queer black and Latino kids.
Paris is Burning (1990): The documentary directed by Jennie Livingston is considered today to be a quintessential piece of queer history. Paris is Burning documented the ball culture through interviews with ball legends Dorian Corey, Willi Ninja, Venus Xtravaganza, Octavia St. Laurent, and Pepper LaBeija to name a few as well as footage from actual balls in New York City during the 1980s. While the documentary itself has a controversial history, its influence in LGBTQ culture can be seen in shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Pose (2018): The FX series was created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk made history for having the largest cast of transgender actors as well as the first transgender woman of color on a television series, Janet Mock. Pose’s first season brings the viewer into the ballroom scene in New York City in the 1980s with Blanca (played MJ Rodriguez) breaking away from the House of Abundance to start her own, the House of Evangelista and season two picks up in 1990 after Madonna’s “Vogue” becomes a hit. One of the best things about Pose is the extremely talented cast of Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Billy Porter, Indya Moore, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Hailie Sahar, Angelica Ross, Angel Bismark Curiel, and Dyllon Burnside. Pose season one can found on Netflix with season two coming to the platform on June 11. Although Pose was renewed for a third season and was scheduled to premiere later this month, however unconfirmed reports have revealed production on the FX show shut down in March due to the coronavirus.
What are your go to viewings during Pride Month? Let us know in the comments and on our social media accounts. As an added bonus to make up for the lack of eye candy due to the cancellation of Pride Festivals, my fellow writer, Randy Slovacek, contributed a write up on a couple of eye pleasing documentaries.
How about blending some reality with eye candy?
Acclaimed filmmaker Gerald McCullouch’s documentaries – All Male, All Nude and All Male All Nude: Johnsons – are unprecedented expeditions into the world of male strippers.
In addition to critical praise at international film festivals, All Male, All Nude was named one of the ’25 Steamiest Feature Films’ by Parade Magazine.
Since their release, McCullouch has added lots of exclusive bonus material on the films’ official website including sexy music videos using footage from the films.
Plus, there’s behind the scenes footage including the shooting of a steamy, body positive porn scene with bear porn star Hunter Scott and Sean Harding.
Check out both films, their trailers, the music videos, and the behind the scenes bonus material at the official website for all things All Male All Nude.
The trailer for All Male All Nude can be found at https://youtu.be/M3FndN59i2A and the trailer for All Male All Nude: Johnsons can be found at https://youtu.be/d3cSZnH_tHI. Just a warning, while the trailers are tame, content may still be considered NSFW.
Sources: PBS, Focus Features, Cleve Jones Official Website, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The Independent, HBO,
Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one contributing writer and may not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.