June is a celebration of #pride. And so, this week, The Filipina Feminists are sharing their favorite LGBTQ+ films, TV shows, music, and podcasts. With this Pride Month 2019: LGBTQ+ Playlist, let’s #ResistTogether to show that #RepresentationMatters in mainstream media.
Films & TV Shows
Let's start this list with films and TV shows that you can binge-watch this June. Here are some of our favorite films and TV shows with LGBTQ+ stories, characters, and creators:
Holding the Man (2015)
Holding the Man is an Australian romantic drama film based on a true story. The movie is actually from a memoir written by Timothy Conigrave who sadly died in 1994 due to AIDS.
Starring Ryan Corr and Craig Stott, the film follows the love story of Tim and John who fell in love while they were both attending an all-boys high school in Melbourne in the 1970s. Because of the stigma that surrounds same-sex relationships at the time, they were forced to keep their relationship a secret. That was until John’s parents found a love letter that Tim wrote for John. They threatened to pursue legal action against Tim and to force John to see a psychologist because of his gender orientation if they were to continue seeing each other, so they ran away together.
The two lovers faced some ups and downs in their relationship, but they always found their way back to each other. However, in 1988, the Red Cross informed Tim that the blood he donated in 1981 tested positive for HIV. Sure enough, John also developed AIDS.
After 15 years together, John died in 1992. Tim passed away two years later, just ten days after he finished writing his memoir.
We recommend this film because it shows us that love is love is love. Through thick and thin, Tim and John chose each other. Same-sex marriage may not have been legal when these men were alive, but they still considered each other as husbands. And thanks to Tim’s memoir, we are reminded of how the LGBTQ+ community struggled due to discrimination and the AIDS epidemic, and why the fight for equal rights must continue today.
Baka Bukas (2016)
Baka Bukas is a romantic indie film with a twist. Written, co-produced, and directed by Samantha Lee, this film explores the classic "falling in love with your best friend" story line while dealing with the protagonist's life as a lesbian woman.
In the Philippines, we have always seen LGBTQ+ characters portrayed as butch lesbian women and flamboyant gay men who became punchlines to lame jokes, get killed, or succumb to cisheterosexuality. What's great about Baka Bukas is that it veers away from those stereotypes and shows you another dimension of representation for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Instead of LGBTQ+ characters being tokens inserted for "diversity points", Samantha Lee made these characters central to the plot. The film delved into topics like the difficulty in coming out and hiding one's SOGIE from the public eye. It also touches on the lives of millennials and how we try to make older people in the industry appreciate our fresh ideas and point of view.
Sense8 (2 seasons)
Sense8 was created by the Wachowski sisters, two transgender women who were also the minds behind the sci-fi movie The Matrix.
Sense8 is a play on the word “sensate” which is what the eight main characters of the Netflix series are called. They are a species of human who are telepathically connected to each other. Of the eight main characters, one is a gay Mexican actor, one is an American transgender woman, one is a bisexual German man, and one is a polyamorous Indian woman. As you can see, the film is not only diverse in terms of gender orientation and identity; it is also racially diverse. (The cast also includes an African actor and a Korean actress.)
Sense8 is truly an original show. There is nothing like it out there. Filmed all around the world, it is packed with action and full of heart at the same time. But what we love most about Sense8 is how, in its core, it shows us that we are all human. No matter what your race and gender identity is, we all need to feel like we belong. We all need to connect. And we all need to be understood.
As you watch the show, Capheus, Nomi, Lito, Kala, Wolfgang, Will, Riley, and Sun become your family. You are part of their cluster. Sense8 accurately portrays what a chosen family is like.
If you want to watch something you haven’t seen before, binge-watch Sense8’s two amazing seasons. (Unfortunately, the show has been cancelled. We wish there were more episodes though!)
Special (1 season)
Ryan O’Connell stars in the new Netflix show Special. He also wrote and created the series, which is the first of its kind. It’s the first show on Netflix that’s comprised of 15-minute episodes. But what’s truly interesting and extraordinary about this show is how it depicts the life of a gay man with cerebral palsy. Ryan O’Connell himself has this condition, which brings authenticity to the story and major representation to the screen.
Special is fictional (though the main character is also named Ryan), but it is based on its creator’s memoir titled I’m Special: And the Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, which was published in 2015. The show only has one season with 8 episodes so far, but we can’t wait to see more of Ryan’s story. In total, the entire season’s running time is only about two hours, which means you can easily binge-watch it in a day. And you should! (But not before you finish reading our list, okay?)
Queer Eye (3 seasons)
Queer Eye is a Netflix reboot of Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The show features holistic makeovers from the famous Fab Five: Antoni Porovski (food and wine conoisseur), Tan France (fashion guru), Karamo Brown (culture expert), Bobby Berk (design chief), and Jonathan Van Ness (grooming diva). The subject of the makeover is selected via nominations. The Fab Five then do a surprise visit and interview the nominees and their loved ones.
Similar shows we have grown accustomed to focused only on wardrobe and style revamping. Queer Eye takes transformation to a whole new level by adding cooking 101, redesigning the home, consultation on culture and social relationships, and the power of grooming and maintenance. What's best about this show is that it does not take away from the nominee's personality but adds to it in the right direction.
The diversity of the nominees they feature is part of what amazed us. A transgender man. A young, black lesbian woman. A Trump-supporting cop. A gay man who wanted to come out to his Christian mom. Clearly, the show offers unexpected ways to make people better and learn from multiple perspectives.
As Tan said in an opening sequence video, "the previous show was fighting for tolerance; our fight is for acceptance." Season 3 of Queer Eye is now available on Netflix.
Podcasts & Music
Here are our recommendations for podcasts and music that you can listen to whenever, wherever:
Getting Curious with Jonathan van Ness
Our fave JVN (who recently came out as non-binary) appears twice on this list with his podcast, Getting Curious, which you can listen to on Spotify, iTunes, and other streaming services. Each episode, Jonathan invites a guest to talk about things that he's curious about. Though not entirely about the LGBTQ+ experience, it's an informative show to listen to, with topics including activism and body positivity (with another one of our faves, actress Jameela Jamil), gender equality (with American philathropist Melinda Gates), and why immigration is an LGBTQ+ issue (with Russian-American journalist and author Masha Gessen).
#QueerAF by National Student Pride
#QueerAF is a free podcast on Spotify, iTunes, and other platforms where podcasts are available. Hosted by Jamie Wareham, this show tells different stories about the LGBTQ+ experience. Young LGBTQ+ producers are invited to the show to talk about their stories that challenge the binary as well as taboos around mental health, sexuality, and identity. For a weekly dose of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer stories, including discussions about queer gaming, acting "straight" in public spaces, and the Stonewall riots, listen to #QueerAF.
LGBTQ&A by Jeffrey Masters
In LGBTQ&A, host Jeffrey Masters invite special guests to talk to them about modern queer and trans history. Each week, Jeffrey and his guest discuss defining moments in their life that led them to be the person they are today. His impressive line of guests include young trans actor Ian Alexander, bestselling author and feminist Roxane Gay, and Special creator and star Ryan O'Connell. You can listen to LGBTQ&A on Spotify, iTunes, and other podcast streaming platforms.
Billboard and Gay Times released their lists of LGBTQ+ artists that we should be listening to for Pride Month 2019. We arranged these talented artists by genre so you can easily create a playlist depending on your music preferences.
Pop: Gia Woods, Siena Liggins, Grayson, Wrabel, Andrea Di Giovanni, Angie, Bronze Avery, Carlie Hanson, Chelcee Grimes, GIRLI, Jesse Saint John, Choker, Vardaan Arora, Emily Burns, Kim Petras, King Princess, L Devine, Morgan Saint, Sam Bluer, and Shea Diamond
R&B/Soul: FHAT, Zolita, Dizzy Fae, Merlot, and Rina Sawayama
Hip-hop/Rap: Rob.B and Tommy Genesis
Alternative/Indie: Girl in Red
EDM/Dance: Mila Jam, TR/ST, and Kiddy Smile
Multi-genre: KERA, Nakhane, Aaron Porter, Leland, and REYNA
There you have it! This has been our Pride Month 2019: LGBTQ+ Playlist. Hope we helped you find new things to watch and listen to. If you have more suggestions on films, TV shows, podcasts, and artists, let us know on Instagram. Tell us what you think about our recommendations too!
Happy pride, y'all! 🏳️🌈