3 Queer Movies You Need to See
By: DM Blunted
Pride month is in full swing and what’s a better way to celebrate it than watching and embracing queer love stories? In our hetronormative society, queer love is still seen as an anomoaly - espically if blooms between non-white LGBTQ+ folk. And while mainstream media claims to create LGBTQ+ representation the numbers don’t lie. Out of 109 major studio film releases GLAAD looked at in 2017, only 14 (12.8%) had charecters that identified as gay, lesiban, bi, trans, and/or queer. Within that stat 64% (9 movies) of those films featured a gay male charecter. Lesbian representation remained at 36% (5 movies) and bi representation rose to 14% (2 movies). While trans representation was a disturbing 0%.
So today we celebrate queer movies that don’t pander to hetronormativie ideals and that give us responsible representation. That means diversity, character depth and breaking out of insensitive and homophobic stereotypes - that often bleed into mainstream film and television. I mean, just look at Bohemian Rhapsody as a recent example. It’s movie loved by hetro-society but is dragged to hell and back in the queer community for the completle fumbling of Freddie Mercury’s sexuality. Get your streaming services ready and let’s get into these movies!
‘Rafiki’ written and directed by Kenyan native, Wanuri Kahiu isn’t just another queer love story but a social movement as well, even though that wasn’t Kahiu orginal intention for the 2019 lesbian love story. For Kahiu, all she wanted to do was create a light love story between two teenage Kenyan girls, Kena and Ziki, coming to age and falling in love. Kahiu also made the conscious effort to show glimpses of the vibrant and beautiful Kenyan culture and country surrounding the two girls. This is the story she wanted to show. But due to Kenyas anti-gay sex laws and the happy ending of the film, it was quickly banned in Kenya after it’s screening at Cannes Film Festival. ‘Rafiki’ wasn’t meant to be political but because of the ban it forced Kahiu to take her case to court and “fight for freedom of expression.”
Tangerine written and directed by Sean Baker, is hands down one of my favorite movies ever. People also say my doppelganger is in this movie. But for eight months, Sean Baker and his team did footwork through LA’s streets, trying to get a better understanding of the people and places in the cities “unofficial redlight district.” While doing this work, he met Mya Taylor an aspiring trans actress - who would end up being cast as the leads best friend, Alexandra in the film. Through Taylor, Baker was able to meet Kiki Rodriguez another trans actress, who Baker casts as well to play the lead character, Sin-Dee. The story is set in the orange tinted city of Tinsletown on Christmas Eve, where the lead Sin-Dee is freshly released from a 28 day stint in jail. Only to come out and find her boyfriend hadn’t been faithful during her time away. Sin-Dee then meets up with her best friend and fellow sex worker, Alexandra to get to the bottom of this cheating scandal. This movie is funny, bold, colorfully pleasing and all shot on an Iphone 5s.
I’m a documentary freak and Chavela is one of the finest! This 2017 documentary directed by Cathrine Gund, follows the life and death of legendary, openly lesbian Ranchera singer, Chevela Vargas. For those who may not know, Ranchera pulls from traditionally folk Mexican music. Usually about heartbreak and typically sung by men. Vargas completely disrupted that. Not only did she sing Ranchera, she also didn’t change the pronouns to original songs. When women were expected to wear dresses and skirts she wore pants and a poncho. She moved concert goers to tears with her raspy voice and openly wooed women in the crowd with love songs. Vargas became a massive success but also had a major downfall, brought on by alcoholism. After years of being broke and living in solitude, Vargas made a comeback that would solidify her place in Ranchera history. Oh, did I forget to mention that Vargas was possibly one of Frida Kahlo’s great loves?
I know how I’m spending my next day off - kicked back, smoking weed and watching Chavela. Of course, I will be doing this after I take a relaxing bath, accompanied by a Kush Queen Awaken CBD bath bomb! But whatever your plans are for the future, I hope they involve diving into a movie with responsible queer representation.
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