Our LGBTQ+ contributors share the movies, books, and TV shows that mean the most to them.
1. Juno Dawson, author and columnist
"Sorry to be a cliché, but Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin was life-changing. I read it when I was a very impressionable 20-year-old, and on the cusp of leaving university for the real world. On moving to Brighton, I was a Mary-Anne, then a Mouse and hopefully I'll grow into Anna Madrigal."
What Amazon says: San Francisco, 1976. A naïve young secretary, fresh out of Cleveland, tumbles headlong into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, cut throat debutantes, and Jockey Shorts dance contests. The saga that ensues is manic, romantic, tawdry, touching, and outrageous - unmistakably the handiwork of Armistead Maupin.
2. Jessica Kellgren-Fozard, TV presenter and YouTuber
"The movie Imagine Me and You, because the essential love story works whether it's a man or a woman. And, the focus is not on gayness, it's on love."
What IMDB says: A newlywed bride becomes infatuated with another woman, who questions her sexual orientation, promoting a stir among the bride's family and friends.
3. Sade Giliberti, TV presenter and actor
"Growing up it was definitely the film When Night Is Falling. I guess being exposed to a film like that at a young age, allowed me to question and understand so much. Especially when it came to Christian morals vs free spiritedness and openness to oneself. I remember being extremely moved by the film."
What IMDB says: An uptight and conservative woman, working on tenure as a literacy professor at a large urban university, finds herself strangely attracted to a free-spirited, liberal woman who works at a local carnival that comes to town.
4. Jamie O'Herlihy, YouTuber and actor
"I love the movie Transamerica with Felicity Huffman. Usually I’m not about cis women playing roles that trans women should, and could play, but it’s great movie!"
What IMDB says: A preoperative transgender woman takes an unexpected journey when she learns that she fathered a son, now a teenage runaway hustling on the streets of New York.
5. Charlie Craggs, trans activist and author
"What apart from my book To My Trans Sisters available on Amazon and at all good bookstores *ding* ? Probably Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. I read it right as I began transitioning, and it changed how I saw myself. Janet was one of the first positive representations of trans-ness that I had. In seeing her, I saw myself and that I could be trans and still be beautiful, intelligent, successful and most importantly, happy."
What Amazon says: In her profound and courageous New York Times bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community-and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.
6. Asifa Lahore, Britain's first out Muslim drag queen
"I know it’s probably a cliché answer, but Brokeback Mountain really touched me. It was the first mainstream breakthrough that wasn’t labelled as simply 'queer cinema'. It was a film about an impossible love story that happened to involve two men. ‘A Love That Will Never Grow Old’ still stops me in my tracks whenever I hear it."
What IMDB says: The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years.
7. Chardine Taylor-Stone, cultural producer, writer and activist
"Audre Lorde's Zami was a huge influence on me. It was one the first times that I saw LGBTQ+ culture reflected through the gaze of a black lesbian."
What Amazon says: The poet, Audre Lorde, depicts her life and examines the influence of various women on her development.
8. Fox Fisher, trans rights campaigner, artist and filmmaker, & Owl, writer, filmmaker and non-binary trans campaigner
"As trans people, we feel that there is a lot lacking in LGBTQ+ films and books, in particular with trans issues. There have been some great books coming out recently by trans authors, such as Trans Britain by Christine Burns, and Queer Sex by Juno Roche. As trans film makers ourselves, we try to capture trans lives and trans experiences and we feel like the mainstream media and film industry never quite gets it right. Shows such as Her Story and movies like Tangerine are examples of trans-led productions, which are shot beautifully. And, being trans-led gives it a different feel, which portrays trans people as human beings that everyone can connect with on many different levels."
What Amazon says: With leading figures from the trans and non-binary community. Calling out prejudices and inspiring readers to explore their own concepts of intimacy and sexuality, the first-hand accounts celebrate the wonder and potential of trans bodies and push at the boundaries of how society views gender, sexuality and relationships. Empowering and necessary, this collection shows all trans people deserve to feel brave, beautiful and sexy.
9. Lottie L'Amour, fashion blogger and influencer
"Bound was absolutely instrumental in my lesbian education. Jennifer Tilly still remains the femme sexpot of my dreams to this day, and Gina Gershon was the first depiction of an androgynous woman that I had seen, and it just set me on fire. The whole explicit affair, the tattoos, the escape from the mob boss.... just perfect!"
What IMDB says: Corky, a tough female ex con, and her lover Violet concoct a scheme to steal millions of stashed mob money, and pin the blame on Violet's crooked boyfriend Caesar.
10. Whitney and Megan Bacon-Evans, aka What Wegan Did Next, YouTubers and bloggers
Whitney: "Not a movie but The L Word really made such an impact. I used to sneak and watch it at night time. I actually fell in love with Helen's (Rachel Shelley) accent and it’s what made me get intrigued by British girls. Here I am over a decade later, married to a British girl, and moved from the USA to England to join her! We’ve also met Rachel Shelley a few times, and each time I get tongue tied haha! The fact she knows who we are is mind blowing. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self, she’d never believe it!"
What IMDB says: Follows the lives and loves of a small, close-knit group of lesbians living in Los Angeles as well as the friends and family members that either support or loathe them.
Megan: "Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. I remember being a young teenager and asking our local librarian to order it in, despite not being 'out' yet. I loved when it was then turned into a film! We also met Sarah Waters a couple years ago, which was great. I also loved Imagine Me and You, as it was the only somewhat mainstream rom com with big actresses in that had a lesbian love story."
What IMDB says: Set in the 1890's, tells the lesbian love affair between male impersonator music hall star Kitty Butler and Nan Astley.
11. Reed Amber, presenter, director and YouTuber at Come Curious
"Recently, I saw Call Me By Your Name which was amazing. Even though there are gay themes throughout the film, I thought that it was more of a 'coming of age' film. I just thought it was so beautiful.. and really hot. Sense 8 on Netflix is a show me and my sister got obsessed with. It was the first series that I saw that wasn’t just lesbian or gay men, it was every identity and sexuality. I was just absolutely blown away by it. Apart from the fact that it’s an incredible story, the bit where they have an orgy is one of the hottest scenes I’ve ever seen. It absolutely struck a chord with me."
What IMDB says: In 1980s Italy, a romance blossoms between a seventeen year-old student and the older man hired as his father's research assistant.
12. Tanya Compas, head of youth engagement at UK Black Pride
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name and Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde have meant the most to me. 'Aunty Audre', as I like to call her, (she's of no relation other than spiritual) writes about her experiences as a self-proclaimed, "black-lesbian feminist mother lover poet.” Her writing speaks to me in ways that I didn’t know were possible. She gave the black queer womxns' perspective I had always needed, but never knew existed, until I found [her]."
What Amazon says: In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope.
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