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This past month of June has been dedicated to uplifting and honouring the LGBTQ+ experience. With many celebrations and events across the UK cancelled this year due to COVID-19, this time offers a valuable moment to reflect on Pride's history and the struggles still being fought by many.
We have put together a list of films that you can watch to celebrate at home - all readily available online and with accompanying resources and film guides to spark discussion with young people.
LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer, with the plus sign highlighting the ever-evolving ways that people can identify their sexuality. This selection of films offers a range of perspectives from a variety of countries and depicts stories about or featuring LGBTQ+ characters. Some of the films on this list also subtly discuss themes surrounding gender and the difficulty of defining oneself.
Film can be a way to celebrate Pride at home and a valuable way to reflect and learn more about how LQBTQ+ people experience society, notably not always due to their sexuality, but also through other identities such as their gender, race, class and disability. We hope this list initiates conversations and displays the array and uniqueness of LGBTQ+ stories.
Note: While most streaming platforms require a paid subscription or one-off rental fee, many offer a free trial that you can make use of. In addition, our recommendations will always include at least one title which is available on a free-to-watch platform.
If you wish to find out the complete details of where any given title is available to watch or purchase, please visit FindAnyFilm
This Disney classic has very interesting themes around gender and stereotypes and can be a good entry point to discuss gender restrictions in society with younger audiences. Considered one of China's beloved folktales, Mulan is transformed into an animated film full of action, adventure and the courage of a young girl. When Mulan's father is called up to fight in the army, Mulan knows he won't survive as he is too frail. so she decides to pass herself off as a young man and fight in his place.
Animation based on a Chinese folktale about a girl who disguises herself as a man to fight in the army, replacing her father who's too frail.
Age group5–14 years
This is a naturalistic drama about childhood gender identity confusion that's both touching and gently humorous. It centres on 10-year-old Laure, who has moved with her family to a new neighbourhood on the outskirts of Paris during the summer holidays. With her short-haired, boyish looks and tomboy ways, the local kids mistake her for a boy. Instead of correcting them, she introduces herself as Michael. This is one of the few films about a child exploring their gender identity and it does so with sensitivity and charm.
A beautifully understated, naturalistic drama about childhood gender identity confusion that’s both touching and gently humorous.
Age group7–16 years
This comedy animation features the first openly gay character in a mainstream animated film. The story follows the young Norman Babcock who appears to be an average boy until he realises he can see ghosts. This doesn't present a problem, since they're mostly friendly sorts, but Norman can't help feeling frustrated that only his quirky friend Neil believes in these paranormal abilities. Upon learning about their town's gruesome history of witch executions and ancient curses, the boys - with the help of grizzly old Mr. Prenderghast - must defend the neighbourhood from a deadly invasion of zombies and ghouls and the wrath of a tortured spirit.
Animated adventure of a misfit eleven-year-old who sees and talks to ghosts.
Age group7–14 years
Set against a wonderful backdrop of colourful settings and costumes, this is a vital story that deals with a wide variety of themes such as growing up and community. Kena and Ziki, two college students awaiting their exam results, don't want to fall into the traditions assigned to women in their conservative community, and cannot wait to explore the world and pursue their chosen careers. Although both their fathers are competing against one another in Nairobi's local elections the two are drawn to each other and quickly fall in love. However, with homosexuality being illegal in Kenya and the two young women fearing rejection from the families, they face the struggle of choosing between safety and their relationship.
Colourful romantic drama about the blossoming romance between two young women in a conservative Kenyan community.
Age group11+ years
A film guide that looks at Rafiki (2018), exploring its key topics and themes through informal discussion.
This is a gentle British film about loss and relationships. Junn is a Cambodian-Chinese mother mourning the death of her twenty-something son, Kai, in contemporary London. Previously unaware of Kai's sexuality, she is surprised when her son's lover, Richard, attempts to reach out to her. Despite an initially frosty relationship, as well as a language barrier - Junn speaks Mandarin and Richard knows no language other than English - the two attempt to develop a bond in order to grieve together for the man they both loved, sharing memories and learning from one another.
Satirical yet empathetic to its teenage characters, this sensitive film - adapted from a novel of the same name - sparks conversations about the oppression of LGBT people, with a much-needed young lesbian character at its centre. It's 1993 and teenager Cameron is celebrating graduating from college with her best friend Coley, who also happens to be her secret girlfriend. However, when they are caught kissing in the back seat of a car, Cameron is sent to God's Promise, a gay conversion therapy camp run by two siblings: a converted heterosexual and his strict psychiatrist sister.
A teenager is sent to a gay conversion therapy camp after she is caught kissing her best friend.
Age group14+ years
A film guide that looks at The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018), exploring its key topics and themes through...
A challenging, but hugely rewarding documentary about one of the main voices of the civil rights movement and a key LGBTQ+ figure. James Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist and critic, and in this visual adaptation of his writing, he recounts his experiences of 20th century America through the voice of Samuel L. Jackson, particularly focusing on his relationships with Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers. His account of the political movement is explored, as well as his more personal reminiscences of American history.
Documentary in which the late writer James Baldwin looks back at his experiences through American history, most notably the Civil Rights movement.
Age group16+ years
A film guide that looks at I Am Not Your Negro (2017), exploring its key topics and themes through informal discussion.
This is an important milestone in the history of trans representation in cinema on a mainstream platform. The Spanish-language film follows Marina, a transgender woman working as a nightclub singer and waitress in Santiago, Chile. When her older partner Orlando dies suddenly and unexpectedly, Marina finds herself treated with hostility and contempt, rather than being allowed to grieve for her partner. However Marina, played by transgender actress Daniela Vega, fights against bigotry and stereotypes to become an inspirational, defiant figure.
Chilean drama about a transgender woman who finds herself shut out following the sudden death of her boyfriend.
Age group16+ years
A film guide that looks at the A Fantastic Woman (2017), exploring its key topics and themes through informal discussion.
This month's winner is Ben, from Greater Manchester, whose very personal documentary explores his own experience of transitioning over the past year.
Viewing time 8 mins
Joe and Noor from our curation share their highlights from this year's BFI Flare Festival for LGBTQ+ cinema.
Reading time 5 mins
A selection of films exploring and celebrating issues and discussion points surrounding LGBT history around the world.
No. of films18
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