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LGBTQ History Month: Queer media to consume

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Bianca Oppedisano
A scene from “Heartstopper” (2022), a new Netflix series. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff

October was the LGBTQ History Month. For readers who either didn’t know or didn’t find a way to celebrate, here are some ideas through supporting queer artists and queer projects.

Most young people know of the popular LGBTQ motion picture “Call Me By Your Name” starring Armie Hammer and teen-heartthrob Timothée Chalamet, but the genre has so much more to offer than just that.

In 2003, HBO released a mini-series titled “Angels in America,” based on a play by Tony Kushner, portraying “a group of largely gay men who find themselves caught up in series of disasters that range from love to religion and from politics to philosophy—and most specifically caught between the rising tide of AIDS and a generally unsympathetic society.” (1) As one could imagine, the show is heart-breaking, but accurately shows the fear and overall horror of the time period. The show is available for streaming on Hulu.

Another must-watch is “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” a documentary detailing the mystery surrounding the death of the famous gay liberator and transgender rights activist. Although the term “transgender” wasn’t coined until much later, that is what best describes what Johnson was fighting for until her untimely death. This documentary is a fantastic lens into the LGBTQ scene in New York in the 1960s, and is available for viewing on Netflix.

A more light-hearted watch is Netflix’s beloved show, “Heartstopper.” Based on the graphic novel series of the same name, “Heartstopper” is a teen coming-of-age story surrounding the already out-of-the-closet main character, Charlie Spring and his new friend, Nick Nelson. This show is so cozy in a mug-of-hot-chocolate-on-a-winter-night kind of way because of its essence of childhood and young love. There is a second season of this show coming hopefully some time in 2023.

Netflix has been killing it with the LGBTQ shows lately. Another recent release on the platform is “First Kill,” a cheesy supernatural show featuring a lesbian romance. The show follows the two leads: Juliette Fairmont, a teenage vampire, and Calliope Burns, a teenage monster-hunter. Their star-crossed lovers’ relationship had fans hooked, but Netflix still decided to cancel the show after just one season even though it was in their Top 10 for three weeks.

Every TikTok user and book reader has seen “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller and “Red, White, and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston trending on the platform. However, despite them living rent-free on everyone’s For You Page, they are not the only good LGBTQ books out there.

“She Who Became the Sun” by Shelley Parker-Chan is a historical fantasy novel described as “‘Mulan’ meets ‘The Song of Achilles’” by Goodreads.com (2). To fans of the Disney movie, this sounds like a dream. The book tells the story of a young girl who takes on her dead brother’s identity to fight in the war and her journey of gender identity throughout the war. Overall, this book is unlike any other. To get the full sense, just read it.

Another book telling a unique take on gender identity is “Confessions of the Fox” by Jordy Rosenberg. Rosenberg, a professor at UMass Amherst, took the notable English thief, Jack Sheppard, and turned his story into a queer historical romance. A reviewer describes it as “a recently heartbroken professor […] exposes the gender-defying true story about two notorious thieves who were lovers in 18th-century London.” (3)

Besides queer books, movies and shows, there are also tons and tons of queer musical artists to support. Trying to compile the best into a list is an impossible task, so instead, just check out Spotify’s Pride playlist folder. They have plenty of LGBTQ artists for all genres, so there is something for everyone.

Hopefully, this article provided some insight on how to celebrate LGBTQ history month, with some new, or at least slightly less familiar, titles to check out.

Sources

  1. https://www.imdb.com/review/rw1049635/?ref_=tt_urv

  2. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48727813-she-who-became-the-sun

  3. https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/36470806-confessions-of-the-fox

About the Contributors
Rena Weafer, Arts Editor
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator