Let’s be real: representation matters. Seeing ourselves positively represented in media goes a long way for each group of people. From the Bedchel test to creating outlets for the purpose of circulating media that emphasizes on marginalized groups, it is crucial that communities are able to relate to characters in themes in film and TV. In honor of pride month, here are a few films on Netflix that provide positive and empowering depictions of the queer and trans community.
What It’s About: Moonlight is a coming-of-age film about a young black man developing his identity in the streets of Miami. He navigates poverty and class struggles, while also facing discrimination and violence for his budding sexuality. The film is separated into three parts, documenting his childhood, his adolescence and finally his adulthood.
Why it’s Great: The film features an all-black cast and promises a hopeful future for Chiron. Often, LGBT movies feature predominately white, middle-class characters and result in a tragic ending for the protagonist.
What It’s About: A cello prodigy grows interested in the star musician of the school she once attended. Their relationship grows intimate and the two discover a dark secret about the academy and go to shocking lengths to save themselves and other students from the costs of Perfection.
Why It’s Great: The sexuality of the characters is not the main focus of the film. This psychological thriller is not shot in a way that appeals to masculine fantasies of the lesbian pair but instead prioritizes the intense budding storyline.
Trigger warning: threats of sexual violence
What It’s About: Paris is Burning is a documentary highlighting the New York City Ballroom scene in the late 1980s. The majority of the people involved are queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) who are expressing themselves creatively in the safe space that is ballroom culture.
Why it’s Great: This documentary notes the beauty of Ballroom culture yet it also keeps from glamorizing the queer and trans community in New York. QTPOC and their lifestyles and struggles are at the subjective forefront of this film.
Trigger warning: violence against sex workers
What It’s About: Chinese-American filmmaker Hao Wu shows us the ups and downs each family has through the lens of an “out” gay man in his Chinese family. His family is accepting of him but not his “lifestyle” as his mother wants grandchildren. Hao and his partner decide to have two children via surrogate in hopes of having the family life they have always wished for.
Why it’s Great: Hao normalizes the cultural and ideological difference between his Chinese family and traditional American families. The film features heartwarming scenes and veers from the common, triggering trope of being rejected and abandoned by one’s family simply for being queer.
Bonus: Sense8 (series and not a movie)
What It’s About: Eight strangers from around the world share a psychic bond allowing them to share feelings and talents as they fight for the survival of their cluster. Navigating love, careers, and family, the eight provide emotional support and share a bond as they grow to become their own families.
Why It’s Great: Sense8 includes actors of color from all over the world, it also normalizes transgender women in a way that has never been done before. The scenes are shot beautifully and show ways that love can happen all across the spectrum, all over the world.
Can’t get enough of these films? Here’s a list of even more positive queer films to check out!