To celebrate the last day of LGBT+ History Month 2022, I wanted to share some of my favourite films and TV shows that are based on real people and true events.
Movies are a great, fun way to educate yourself on important pieces of LGBT+ history. Here are 7 true stories from the last 15 years that I highly recommend, and a little idea of what each are about:
This is my ALL time favourite film, Steph and I saw this in cinema and fell in love with it immediately. The film depicts a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by the British miners’ strike in 1984, at the outset of what would become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. With a killer cast, including the likes of Bill Nighy and Imelda Stanton, Pride made a refreshing change, for a gay movie that wasn’t all doom and gloom.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)
Another instant favourite, this feel good movie will have you singing and dancing around the living room. The film is based off the musical, which is in turn based on the 2011 BBC documentary ‘Jamie Drag Queen at 16’, which follows the story of Jamie Campbell from County Durham, who wants to go to prom in drag. The documentary, musical and movie are all worth a watch, it’s an incredible story. Breakout star Max Harwood plays the films Jamie New, he portrays Jamie perfectly.
Prayers For Bobby (2009)
The saddest film I’ve EVER watched, I’ve owned the DVD for about 10 years and think I’ve watched it 3 times, because it’s so heartbreaking, but it’s incredibly powerful and important. Prayers For Bobby is based on the book of the same name, which is itself based on the true story of the life and legacy of Bobby Griffith, a gay teen who killed himself in 1983 due to his mother’s homophobia. Sigourney Weaver plays Mary Griffith, Bobby’s mum, and shows the struggle that young LGBT+ kids usually have when religion plays a big part in their lives.
The Imitation Game (2014)
The Imitation Game tells the inspiring story of mathematician Alan Turing and his team of code-breakers whose work was crucial to British efforts in World War Two. It’s estimated that Alan Turing’s work saved over 20 million lives and shortened the war by roughly 2 years. Alan Turing is a British hero, however due to homosexuality, he was relatively unknown until his royal pardon in 2013. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, along with a star studded cast, this is possibly one of the most important pieces of British LGBT+ history.
This film is based off the 2007 documentary about Laurel Hester, a New Jersey police lieutenant with terminal cancer. Laurel fights to transfer her police pension to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree. With Julian Moore portraying Laurel and Elliot Page as Stacie, the pair are dynamic in this movie, it pulls on the heartstrings and shows the difficulties for gay women in the police force in the early 2000’s.
It’s A Sin TV Show (2021)
It’s a Sin is not strictly based on the story of how one real friend group dealt with the AIDS crisis in 1980s London. But creator Russell T. Davies has said that he pulled from his own experiences as a 20-something gay man in the UK in the 1980s, including drawing inspiration from people he knew. Gay men all around the world have voiced that It’s A Sin is the most accurate representation of life for gay men in the 80/90’s and the impact it had on the LGBT+ community, with the lack of support and misinformation from the government, media and police.
It’s A Sin is one of the greatest pieces of television I’ve ever seen, it’s honest, raw, heartbreaking and empowering. No matter how you identify, EVERYONE needs to watch this show.
Gentleman Jack (2019-Present)
Gentleman Jack is based on a true story of Anne Lister, following the discovery of her secret diaries. Anne Lister kept diaries detailing every aspect of her life, including her relationships with her secret female lovers as well as her efforts as a successful landowner and entrepreneur. Anne Lister (1791-1840) is sometimes described as ‘the first modern lesbian’. Anne Lister broke boundaries and challenged gender norms all the way back in the 18th century, she proved just how much women were capable of.
Some notable films that are worth a watch are The Danish Girl and Boys Don’t Cry, these are both great films based on incredible people, but they don’t officially make the list due the inaccuracy in the films and misrepresentation of the Transgender community.
Let me know if you watch any of these and share your thoughts with us, we’d love to hear them!