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Movie Updates

January 2017


NY Times: Is Moonlight This Year's Best Movie?

Moonlight: To Be Young Gay and Black

Movie Awards Season Bursts With Color

LGBT Films at Sundance 2016

Best New LGBT Films

Video: LGBT Films of 2016

New and Upcoming LGBT Films and TV Shows


Looking Back at Earlier Gay and Lesbian Films

December 2016


Before Brokeback Mountain celebrated gay cowboys, Desert Hearts, which turns 30 this year, explored love between women out west in a film that broke with tradition, giving its main characters a chance at a happy ending.

The 1986 feature — based on Jane Rule's beloved 1964 novel, Desert of the Heart — follows the budding romance between New York City professor Vivian Bell (played by Helen Shaver) and free-spirited casino worker Cay Rivers (Patricia Charbonneau) in Reno, Nev., in 1959. Bell has traveled to Reno to obtain a swift divorce and stays at a ranch where she meets Rivers. Sparks fly between the pair, and though Vivian is set to return to New York, she manages to convince Cay to join her as her train is leaving, if only until the next stop on the train.

While it may seem surprising that this passes for a happy ending, before Desert Hearts lesbian love stories depicted on film had been known to end terribly (spoiler alerts coming!). In The Children's Hour (1961), Martha (Shirley MacLaine) comes out, confesses her love for her best friend, and promptly kills herself.

In Personal Best (1982), the love affair between two women ends when one of the women falls for a man. Even following Desert Hearts, it was quite common for love between women on-screen to end in despair or, at the very least, be unrequited. In Heavenly Creatures (1994), the lovestruck pair end up murdering one girl's mother. In Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013) the main characters don't end up together, as they thankfully did in last year's Carol.

In Certain Women (2016), the genre of queer Western love was again explored when a rancher (Lily Gladstone) falls for teacher Elizabeth Travis (Kristen Stewart). However, that film concludes with the rancher returning to her normal life after Travis ignores her advances.

The ending of Desert Hearts allows room for potential. In addition, it does not entirely present the love between its main characters as a shameful secret, which is perhaps its most notable accomplishment. "I didn't want that lesbian relationship to sit outside of other intimate friendships," director Donna Deitch told In the Life.

There are scenes in which Cay confesses her love for Vivian to close friends, presenting their love not as one "that dare not speak its name," but rather as a cause for celebration, entirely distinguishing the film from many others mentioned.

"I think I found somebody who counts," Cay tells a friend while they take a bath together. Here Deitch shows Rivers as a multidimensional person, able to have close, intimate relationships to other women that are not sexual in nature. Of her love for Vivian, Rivers tells her surrogate mother, Frances, "she just reached in, put a string of lights around my heart."

The bold earnestness with which Rivers declares her love for Bell remains refreshing and inspirational to this day. Rivers is charismatic, assertive, and fearless, which perhaps comes from living outside traditional expectations. Her lack of biological family connections leaves her with no one to disappoint, and the Western landscape she inhabits is as wild and free as her heart.

As a result, the love represented in this film is shown as pure, rather than perverse. While there are definite obstacles Vivian and Cay must circumvent in order to be together, the fact that they are two women is not presented as the sole problem, which even today is a revolutionary achievement in cinema.


(From Elizabeth Daley, Advocate Magazine)  



Advocate: Looking Back at Earlier and Lesbian Gay Films

IMDB: Chronological List of LGBT Films 1919-1980s

GLAAD: 14 Classic Romantic LGBT Films

Wikipedia: History of Homosexuality in Film


LGBT Movies of 2015

January 2016


IMDB: Popular Gay Films Released in 2015

Advocate: Best LGBT Films of 2015

Dazed: Best LGBT Movies of 2015


Gay Cinema Highlights



100 Greatest Gay Movies

The Imitation Game: The Story of Alan Turing

Best LGBT Films of All Time

To Be Takei: The Story of George Takei

LGBT Pride Films 2013

Being Gay in Hollywood

Love is Strange: John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as Elderly Gay Married Couple

Fandor: Best LGBT Films

New Film: The Normal Heart

The Normal Heart: HBO Movie Starring Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons, Julia Roberts

Films Celebrating LGBT History


New Movie About Alan Turing

December 2014


Premiering in time for the 2014 holiday season, "The Imitation Game" is a new film about gay English mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, who helped to crack the Enigma code during World War II.  It is a biography/drama/thriller that stars Benedict Cumberbatch (as Alan Turing) and Keira Knightley. The film portrays the race against time by Alan Turing and his team of code-breakers at Britain's top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. The motley group of scholars, mathematicians, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers had a powerful ally in Prime Minister Winston Churchill who authorized the provision of any resource they required. The film spans the key periods of Turing's life: his unhappy teenage years at boarding school; the triumph of his secret wartime work on the revolutionary electro-mechanical bombe that was capable of breaking 3,000 Enigma-generated naval codes a day; and the tragedy of his post-war decline following his conviction for gross indecency, a criminal offence stemming from his admission of maintaining a homosexual relationship.




IMDB: The Imitation Game

Movie Trailer: The Imitation Game

Wikipedia: The Imitation Game

NY Times: Movie Dramatizes the Story of Alan Turing

Cumberbatch Commentary on Alan Turing

Interview with Actor Cumberbatch About Alan Turing

Book That Inspired the Film: The Enigma

Documentary: Alan Turing the Codebreaker

CNN: Queen Pardons Alan Turing

BBC History: Alan Turing

Alan Turing: The Enigma

Wikipedia: Alan Turing


LGBT Films and Movies

Moonlight / Written & Directed by Barry Jenkins

The Danish Girl / Eddie Redmayne

Carol / Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett

Grandma / Lily Tomlin

Freeheld / Ellen Page, Julianne Moore

I Am Michael / James Franco

Philomena / Judy Dench, Steve Coogan

The Imitation Game / Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley

Love is Strange / John Lithgow, Alfred Molina

To Be Takei / George Takei, Brad Altman

The Normal Heart / Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Jim Parsons

Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy

Blue is the Warmest Color

Behind the Candelabra / Michael Douglas, Matt Damon

Killing Your Darlings / Daniel Radcliffe

Wish Me Away: The Chely Wright Story

Beginners / Christopher Plummer, Ewan McGregor
Kids Are All Right / Julianne Moore, Annette Benning, Mark Ruffalo

A Single Man / Colin Firth, Julieanne Moore
Milk / Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, James Franco

Prayers for Bobby (Lifetime TV Movie) / Sigourney Weaver

Freeheld: The Laurel Hester Story
Brokeback Mountain / Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Randy Quaid, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway
Trans America / Felicity Huffman
Imagine Me And You / Piper Perabo, Matthew Goode, Lena Headey
A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story (Lifetime Movie) / Mercedes Ruehl, JD Pardo

Boys Don't Cry / Hilary Swank
Serving in Silence / Glenn Close
Philadelphia / Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington
Not Love Just Frenzy
Wilde / Stephen Fry
Truth About Jane / Stockard Channing, Ellen Muth, Kelly Rowan, Jenny O'Hara




Longtime Companion / Campbell Scott, Patrick Cassidy, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephen Caffrey
It's In The Water / Keri Jo Chapman, Teresa Garret
The Celluloid Closet
Rites of Passage
Finding North / John Benjamin Hickey, Wendy Mekkena
Total Eclipse / Leonardo DiCaprio

Beautiful Thing
Small Town Gay Bar
Cruel & Unusual
Boys On The Side / Whoopi Goldberg, Drew Barrymore, Mary-Louise Parker
Victor Victoria / Julie Andrews
Hit And Runway / Michael Parducci
The Aggressives
I'm The One That I Want



La Cage Aux Folles / Ugo Tognazzi
To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar / Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo
The Birdcage / Robin Williams, Nathan Lane
Fried Green Tomatoes / Kathy Bates
As Good As It Gets / Jack Nicholson, Greg Kinear, Helen Hunt
Chasing Amy / Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Matt Damon
Jeffrey / Steven Weber, Patrick Stewart
The Broken Hearts Club
Who's On Top
The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert / Stephan Elliot, Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce
Summer Storm
Loving Annabelle / Diane Gaidry, Erin Kelly, Kevin McCarthy
When I'm 64 / BBC
Getting to Know You / Elizabeth Keener, Dana Delaney
The Sum of Us
Four Weddings and a Funeral / Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, John Hannah, Kristen Scott Thomas
The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love
Gods and Monsters / Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave, Lolita Davidovich
Family Affair / Helen Lesnick, Erica Shaffer, Michele Greene
Torch Song Trilogy
In and Out / Kevin Kline

LGBT Movie News


January 2013


Best LGBT Movie Characters of 2012

Excellent LGBT Movie List

Straight Actors Playing Gay

The Normal Heart: Trailer

Daniel Radcliffe as Beat Poet Alan Ginsberg

Michael Douglas & Matt Damon Star in New Film About Liberace


Chely Wright: Wish Me Away

It was a shock to the country music world when Chely Wright came out as a lesbian.  A new independent documentary film about her life and her experience as a gay country music star has been released.  it is called "Wish Me Away."




IMDB: Wish Me Away

Website: Wish Me Away

Wish Me Away: Theatrical Trailer

Chely Wright on Ellen Show

Chely Wright: Spokesperson for GLSEN's Safe Space Campaign


Historical Film: Stonewall Uprising

This new documentary film, by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, was first shown in June 2010.  It recounts the June 1969 police raid on the Stonewall gay bar in Greenwich Village that led to three days of violence.  In that confrontation that surprised police, suddenly militant gays simply had enough and fought back and won.  It was, as one participant describes it here, their "Rosa Parks moment."  The New York Times calls the Stonewall incident "the turning point in gay rights history." This film methodically provides historical context for the events, supplying ample evidence of the discrimination against gays and lesbians at the time. Mike Wallace probably will be none too happy about an excerpt from a 1966 "CBS Reports" news special in which he declares that "the average homosexual is promiscuous and not interested in, nor capable of, a lasting relationship." There also are accounts of electro-shock aversion therapy administered to homosexuals, as well as a drug given at a California mental hospital that is described as "chemical waterboarding." But the heart of the film is the accounts of the riots, with commentary by such figures as former Village Voice journalists Howard Smith and Lucian Truscott IV (the paper's offices were virtually next door at the time), several of the people who participated in the uprising, commentators including former New York Mayor Ed Koch and playwright Doric Wilson and even the former NYPD inspector who led the raid. The cop, Seymour Pine, clearly was shocked by the violent resistance they encountered, describing the proceedings as a "real war."  There have been several significant films documenting the struggle for gay civil rights, including "Before Stonewall" and "After Stonewall." "Stonewall Uprising" skillfully fills the gap in between.




Theatrical Trailer for Stonewall Uprising
Hollywood Reporter: Film Review of Stonewall Uprising
AV Club: Article on Stonewall Uprising
Film Forum: Stonewall Uprising

New York Times: Stonewall Uprising


Growing Up Gay: Film About LGBT Youth

Youth Video OUT Reach was founded in 2005 to teach a group of gay and lesbian youth the production skills to create a documentary about their experiences being gay and out in high school. Eighteen months later, the group of 9 youth, in conjunction with several teaching artists, completed a touching and heartfelt film entitled, "20 Straws: Growing Up Gay," which has screened to thousands of audiences worldwide.


Trailer for Film: 20 Straws
Video Out Reach

LGBT Topical Videos


Before Stonewall.

Excellent historical analysis of the lives of gay and lesbian people. Useful for clients and counselors.


What about McBride? (1974) McGraw-Hill.

In this 10-minute film, two high school boys discuss a classmate, McBride, who is suspected of being homosexual. One wants to include him in an outing and the other does not. Discussion airs many issues revolving around acceptance of homosexuals. For secondary grades.


Playing with Time, Inc./WGBH Boston with Taylor Productions, Inc. (1988). DeGrassi Junior High: He ain't heavy. PWT Productions.

Fourteen-year-old boy discovers his admired older brother is gay. He has to face his own homophobia, as well as that of classmates and family. Also, a brief but powerful portrayal of a classroom lesson on AIDS. Available on video from popular PBS series. For junior high grades. (Discussion guides: DeGrassi Guide, Box 2222-TV, South Easton, MA 02375.)


Playing with Time, Inc./WGBH Boston, with Taylor Productions, Inc. (1987). DeGrassi Junior High: Rumor has it. PWT Productions.

Thirteen-year-old-Caitlin struggles with her own lesbian fantasies, while rumors swirl about an admired teacher. Beautifully illustrates the viciousness of rumors and homophobia in junior high. Ambiguous ending underlines the irrelevance of sexual orientation to being a good teacher. Available on video from popular PBS series. For junior high grades. (Discussion guide: DeGrassi Guide, Box 2222-TV, South Easton, MA 02375.)


Silent Pioneers.

The lives of older gays and lesbians. Very sensitively done.


The truth about Alex (1981). Snyder, A., & Pelletier, L. New American Library.

Brad befriends a high school football teammate, Alex. When Alex tells Brad that he is gay, it does not affect their friendship. But when rumors begin, Brad needs to choose between his friend and losing a West Point appointment or giving in to pressure. For secondary grades.


We are Family.

Explores gay and lesbian parenting of children from a previous marriage, adopted, and as a foster child. Well done--interviews the parents and the children.


(From Dworkin, Editor)


Birmingham Shout: LGBT Film Festival


"Shout" is the name of the gay and lesbian film festival of Alabama. Presented annually in Birmingham since 2005, the Shout Film Festival features independent films with LGBT themes and subject matter.


Click Here to Learn More About Birmingham Shout
Click Here to Visit the Birmingham Shout Website

Here is a synopsis of some of the films shown at Birmingham Shout festivals in the past:

Focusing primarily on two bars in Mississippi, Rumors and Crossroads, this amazing documentary introduces us to their proprietors as they struggle to stand their ground in hostile terrain. The film showcases the story of community in the Deep South and challenges the audience to deal with struggles against ignorance, hypocrisy and oppression.


A joyous portrait and a celebration of the spirit and creativity of local community heroes who have learned how to tap into their inner strength and stand by their convictions to teach the importance of being true to ourselves.



An unflinching look at the lives of male-to-female transsexual women in men's prisons in the United States. Most transsexuals have not had sex reassignment surgery, and prisons place inmates according to their "gender assigned at birth," not their gender identity.


A coming-of-age story about two best friends who are teammates on their championship rowing team. Problems arise at summer camp, and they must grapple with prejudices, fears and hidden longings when a team of athletic, cliché-busting young gay men arrive at the camp.


A dynamic documentary, featuring intimate interviews with six lesbians who define themselves as “Aggressives”. We see their daily lives and also highlights of their participation in the underground lesbian “ball” scene. The Aggressives range in masculinity but do not aspire to be men. Nor are they “drag kings.” They have found an unexplored loophole in society’s gender tapestry and this film seeks to expose their world.


A rare, melodious gay romance story between two older men – a retired school teacher and a gruff cabbie.


An explosive documentary on the world of queer hip-hop, or "homohop", featuring searing public performances and intimate interviews with the community's most significant players. The film captures an underground music movement as it's about to hit the mainstream - defying the music industry's homophobic traditions in the process.


A controversial lesbian romance about an accomplished Catholic boarding school teacher who has an affair with a stud.


A steamy visit to the sexually charged period post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS when gay men experienced an unprecedented sexual freedom. The film focuses on New York City between 1969 and 1981, using remarkable present-day interviews and stunning archival footage, taking us back to the piers, the trucks, the Central Park rambles, the back rooms, and the baths. It was a time where repression and fear were replaced by a sexual explosion, where shame became joy.


The acclaimed documentary of the history of gays and lesbians in cinema, with clips from over 100 Hollywood movies, and interviews with many of the filmmakers and stars who created them. THE CELLULOID CLOSET makes us see Hollywood images in a whole new light.


A hilarious comic portrait of small-town life and a firm trouncing of homophobic intolerance as the whole town confronts the zany rumor that their water supply is turning everyone gay! 



LGBT Documentary Films

Stonewall Uprising (By Kate Davis & David Heilbroner)

Fabulous Beekman Boys (Featuring Josh Kilmer-Purcell & Brent Ridge)
Freeheld (by Cynthia Wade)

Prayers for Bobby (Lifetime TV Movie)
For the Bible Tells Me So (by Daniel Karslake)
The Laramie Project (by Moises Kaufman)
And The Band Played On (by Randy Shilts)
Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt (by Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Freidman)
The Life & Times of Harvey Milk

For The Bible Tells Me So

Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate?  "For The Bible Tells Me So" is the award-winning film about LGBT issues and religion by Daniel Karslake. Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson -- we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.



"This film confronts, with whimsy and hellfire, the clash between religion and homosexuality.”
- New York Magazine

"Daniel G. Karslake's remarkable documentary boldly takes on a loaded topic — Christianity and homosexuality — and examines it both intellectually and emotionally; the result may well leave you blinking away a few tears.”
- Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times

“There’s nothing wrong with a fifth grade understanding of God, as long as you’re in the fifth grade.”

- Reverend Dr. Laurence Keene, Disciples of Christ



For The Bible Tells Me So Trailer


Information About LGBT Films and Movies


Diversity Center: List of LGBT Movies And Books
Outstanding LGBT Films 

Upcoming LGBT Films
Queer Cinema
Rainbow Planet

After Ellen: Lesbian Pop Culture

After Elton: Gay Pop Culture
Gay Journey

Internet Movie Data Base
Rate It All: Gay Themed Movies
Amazon: Favorite Gay Themed Films
Subjective List of Gay Films
AfterElton: 50 Greatest Gay Movies
Birmingham Shout Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
TV Shows With LGBT Characters

Logo Gay & Lesbian Television
Top Ten Gay Cartoon Characters

GLAAD: Images in the Media

Brokeback Mountain Starring Heath Ledger and Jake Guyllenhaal

Milk Starring Sean Penn and Josh Brolin

For The Bible Tells Me So

Lifetime TV Movie: Prayers for Bobby
IMDB: Movie Notes on Prayers for Bobby

The Laurel Hester Story
The Reeler: Freeheld
YouTube Movie Trailer: Freeheld

Movie Database: Freeheld
Real Time News: Freeheld



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Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama