Every June it’s Pride Month. Lots of rainbows appear everywhere, people share their stories on social media and the LGBTQ community gets love from all over the world. I also chose to bring Pride Month to the attention and – of course – in the form of movies. In this blog post, I’ll write a little bit about the history of Pride Month, the history of LGBTQ movies and I’ll name a few of my favorite ones.
June 1968. New York City. That was the date and place that a violent demonstration took place by members of the LGBTQ community against a police raid. This event was the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement in the United States. It is known as the Stonewall riots.
The first Pride Month was officially declared by US president Bill Clinton in 1999. In the last few years, Pride Month grew and grew. Today lots of people, places, companies and organizations celebrate Pride Month.
The first movie where homosexuality was depicted, was The Dickson Experimental Sound Film in 1895. However, at that time they were mostly seen as acting fanciful. The scene “shocked audiences with its subversion of conventional male behavior” according to film critic Parker Tyler. Throughout the years, homosexuality wasn’t depicted explicitly but rather flamboyant and humorous.
From the 1930s to the 1960s, homosexuals were mostly depicted as villains. There wasn’t a movie with a clear homosexual until the Stonewall riots. The Boys in the Band (1970) was Hollywood’s first attempt to market a film to gay consumers to give an honest look what it was like to be a gay or bisexual man in the US. Tolerance towards homosexuality grew in the 1970s, but they were still depicted as an insult or a joke.
It took Hollywoods movie industry years to release a mainstream movie about homosexuality. In the 1980s, HIV/AIDS arose. Mainstream American movies made references to homosexuality and AIDS. Most of them thought that all gay men had AIDS. This ignorance about the disease is a pandemic. The first mainstream Hollywood movie about the pandemic was Longtime Companion in 1989. The widely known movie Philadelphia, about a gay man with HIV, came in 1993.
In the 1990s, independent films got to a new era. Movies were written by gay people and featured mostly LGBT characters who were open about their sexuality. Mainstream Hollywood also began to make more movies were homosexuality was normal. A-list Hollywood stars were more eager to play a gay character in a movie. Drag portrayels made a comeback in the 1990s, in movies like Mrs. Doubtfire and The Birdcage.
Heterosexuality still was the ‘standard’, with very few homosexual characters in movies. This didn’t change until 2005, when Brokeback Mountain came out. This movie changed a lot in today’s gay cinema. Brokeback Mountain featured a love story with two leading homosexual roles, which was the first for a major motion picture.
Homosexuality in Hollywood movies is still developing. Big motion picture companies are trying to make homosexual characters. In the last few years, we’ve seen more LGBTQ movies. We still have a long way to go, but at least we have made great progression this decade.
Although I’m heterosexual, I’m very supportive of LGBTQ’s. I’m glad there’s more and more tolerance towards them – they’re just people. Movies are a great way to gain more tolerance, and that’s why I like watching them. I’ve made a short list of my favorite movies about homosexuality.
Simon’s gay and nobody knows it: Even his best friends don’t. He’s going to a school were nobody’s openly gay, so it’s a pretty big deal when a message appears on a school site about Blue, another gay boy at the school. Simon sends the boy a message – anonymously – and they start a conversation. Simon wants to know who this boy is, but Blue doesn’t want to know who Simon is. They both remain anonymous, but Simon’s getting blackmailed. A boy at his school threatens him to out him…
Pride takes place in the UK during the strike of the Nation Union of Mineworkers. A group of lesbian and gay activists arrange a fundraiser to help the striking mineworkers, “Lesbians and Gay support the Mineworkers”. They decide to take their donations to a small village in Wales. However, the village isn’t very welcoming to the activists…
It’s the 1980’s and seventeen-year-old Elio lives with his family in Italy, in a beautiful rural village. When his dad hires a research assistant, Elio finds his world turned upside down. At first, he doesn’t seem to like Oliver at all, but things grow between the two of them and the guys slowly become friends and later even more than that. Things get really complicated…
This concludes this week’s blog post about the Pride Month. Let’s all tolerate each other. Every person is a person – its sex, sexuality, color and race doesn’t matter.