Pride Month is a spectacular time to bring up lesser-known LGBTQ films.
Being part of the community and finding out about queer films is a thrill for me and plenty of others.
They range in genre, focus, and seriousness (the history of camp is Black and queer), but all have made significant impacts.
Give one or all of these movies a watch to enjoy yourself and expand your queer palate.
Vegas in Space (1991)
A lot of history is behind this film, especially considering when it was made.
The overall plot of this sci-fi comedy is incredibly campy, following three male space travellers who become women for a secret mission to the planet Clitoris.
Vegas in Space is in no way the perfect film, but being written by a drag queen and starring drag queens is pretty iconic.
The principal photography took 18 months, and funding for the film took eight years – knowing how hard the movie was fought for makes it even more worth watching.
One can’t help but laugh at how strange the characters are, and the overall plot gets so lost it’s never found it again.
But every queer film doesn’t need to be Moonlight.
There’s no shame in indulging in content that’s weird and fantastical; the fact that queer films like Vegas in Space even exist is groundbreaking in itself.
Neo-noir often conjures straight people being mysterious and withholding.
Thankfully, with Lilly and Lana Wachowski’s Bound, that’s not the case whatsoever.
In fact, if you’re looking for a queer relationship between two women who want to screw over a Mafioso jerk, you’ve found your movie.
The movie focuses on Violet (Jennifer Tilly) and Corky (Gina Gershon), who become involved and hatch a plan to steal $2 million in Mafia money.
Sound ludicrous? Maybe. Is it a pretty good crime-thriller? Absolutely.
Violet and Corky’s relationship isn’t without obstacles, as Violet longs to escape her Mafioso boyfriend, and Corky is an ex-con who doesn’t come across as trustworthy – nor does she immediately believe Violet is a lesbian.
The movie is less about the Mafia money and more about trust issues between two women.
Without spoiling too much of the movie, it doesn’t end in queer death. It actually kicks the ‘bury your gays’ trope in the ass. Refreshing, right?
But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
Orange is the New Black wasn’t Natasha Lyonne’s first lesbian role.
But I’m a Cheerleader has a cult following but hasn’t always been well-received due to its content.
It’s very heavy-handed and sometimes outrageous, never fully taking itself seriously, but having just enough balance to keep the audience entertained.
This satirical queer rom-com focuses on Megan (Natasha Lyonne), a high-school cheerleader whose parents send her to a gay conversion camp.
She ironically falls for another attendee (Clea Duvall) and finally comes to accept her identity.
Some parts of the movie may be triggering, despite the trauma of attempted conversion not being approached in a serious tone.
Anyone who has experienced the horrors of conversion therapy may not like this film, but its writers are both part of the community and have their own experiences with the topic.
If you are looking for laughs and exploration of aggressive heteronormativity and other important themes, this may be the film for you.
If you happen to like an obscene amount of pink and blue, you’ll also enjoy it.
Few Black LGBTQ films existed before Moonlight, which is unfortunate and shows how Black folks in the community are underrepresented.
Pariah is a film not to be missed, managing to feel so real that you could have stepped inside its world.
The characters aren’t outrageous and are likely people most queer folks have come across, such as religious parents or loved ones that refuse to accept them.
Pariah focuses on Alike (Adepero Oduye), a Black lesbian who slowly embraces her identity.
Alike isn’t from an accepting household. Her mother is religious, overbearing, and disappointing (at one point she assaults Alike after she comes out).
Her father is closer to her but still emotionally distant, and her sister is off in her world, yet likable.
Most of the people that Alike encounters are either detriments or contributors to her growth.
By the end, she fully knows who she wants to be.
Having Black queer folks as fully realised characters is stellar representation.
Alike’s Blackness isn’t discarded in the film, embracing the ways identity intersect.
The themes of the film explore identity and the harsh reality of coming to terms with yourself – mainly that the road doesn’t always include the people standing behind you.