Furthering our Pride month features and related content, we bring to you a list of eye-opening documentaries from around the world that highlight the LGBTQ+ community. Learn how teenagers in Australia use music to uplift and accept themselves, how a dance space helps LGBTQ+ youth deal with and overcome rejection and lack of acceptance, and hear accounts from transgender communities, refugees, and also the queer culture in Japan.
Each story and narration in the documentaries listed will shed light on the difficulties that the LGBTQ+ communities have faced and continue to face around the world. In this list, we included stories that cover all aspects of music, dance, art, and culture.
No Time For Quiet (2019)
‘No Time For Quiet’ chronicles the lives of a group of young girls and gender-fluid youth who explore the uplifting power of music at a music camp in Melbourne, Australia. The documentary film shows gender-diverse youth aged 11 to 17 at the first week-long ‘GIRLS ROCK! Camp’. They are mentored by local musicians, students, and volunteers throughout the camp. Finding a sense of belonging and identity through music, each participant is allotted to a band, writes a song, and performs it in front of family and friends at a rock and roll showcase.
Film producers Hylton Shaw and Sam Dinning wrote and directed ‘No Time For Quiet.’ Singer and songwriter Courtney Barnett, alternative rock group Camp Cope, punk rock band Cable Ties, poet and human rights advocate Sukjhit Khalsa, and singer-songwriter Sarah Capodicasa appear as mentors.
In 2019, ‘No Time For Quiet’ was nominated for the People’s Choice Award at the Melbourne Film Festival. The documentary is currently hosted on Pride Central, a channel dedicated to celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ+ community worldwide.
Visit the official website to learn more about No Time For Quiet by clicking Here
State Of Pride (2019)
‘State Of Pride‘ is a documentary film that explores LGBTQ+ Pride from the point of view of the younger generation. The documentary investigates the LGBTQ+ rights movement in Salt Lake City, Utah, San Francisco, California, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Media personality, journalist, and LGBTQ+ advocate, Raymond Braun hosts the documentary. He meets and has exchanges with young LGBTQ+ people who share their stories and thoughts on what Pride Month means to them. Interviews with Australian singer-songwriter Troye Sivan, actor, drag queen, and entrepreneur Heklina, and members of various pride communities are featured in the documentary.
Raymond Braun was also instrumental in YouTube’s marketing campaign ‘Proud to Love’ in 2013.
It is currently hosted on the YouTube Originals channel. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman are the directors of the film. In 2020, the duo received a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. For decades, the two have collaborated on documentary films about LGBTQ+ topics, winning numerous awards and honors. Some of their works include ‘The Times of Harvey Milk’ (1984) and ‘Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt’ (1989).
Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (2009)
This hour-long documentary tells the true story of a lesbian couple, the late Edie Windsor and late Thea Spyer. From their first meeting in the early 1960s, the film follows their journey as activists facing numerous personal and political challenges. It also documents their early childhood, professional careers, and their secret romantic involvement. For 44 years, they lived together in New York City as a couple. They were married in Canada in May 2007 after a 42-year engagement.
The film was directed and produced by director Susan Muska and cinematographer Gréta Lafsdóttir. It was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary in 2011 and won awards at film festivals in Zurich, Melbourne, Hamburg, Connecticut, and Los Angeles, to name a few.
Susan Muska and Gréta Lafsdóttir have also worked together on ‘The Brandon Teena Story’– a documentary film about the rape and murder of transman Brandon Teena.
Watch Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement on Amazon Prime Here
Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open Secret (2010)
The film follows Pakistan’s transgender community as they struggle to make a living on the streets of Karachi. Along with dancing, singing, blessing people, and even begging, it also delves into how they are forced to make a living by attending to the sexual needs of local men in the area. Also shown in the film are the extreme public and religious scrutiny they face, their fight for equal rights, employment, and identity cards. The film follows Maggie, Chahat, and Sana’s lives, hardships, and experiences as transgender people.
Journalist, filmmaker and activist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy serves as the director of the documentary film. She has also won two Academy Awards, making her the first Pakistani woman to do so. Sharmeen also worked as a director on the recently released Ms. Marvel miniseries.
Watch Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open Secret on Amazon Prime Here
Queer Japan (2019)
‘Queer Japan’ follows a diverse group of people in Japan who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Residents from Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Gunma, and Okinawa are interviewed in the film. Aya Kamikawa – the first openly transgender official to be elected into office in Japan, Gengoroh Tagame – widely regarded as the most influential creator in the gay manga genre, and drag queen Vivienne Sato, are among the personalities who share their life stories.
Graham Kolbeins, a queer filmmaker, writer, and fashion designer, directs the documentary. Talking about the film, he shared via Instagram, “I began work on Queer Japan in 2015, and have spent the past 4 years making this film the best that it could be, always with the intent of honoring the individuals and communities who opened themselves up to this project.”
Watch ‘Queer Japan’ on Amazon Prime Here
More information about ‘Queer Japan’ can be found on its official website Here
Rainbow Voices of Aotearoa New Zealand (2019)
‘Rainbow Voices of Aotearoa New Zealand: A Documentary Short Film’ narrates the story of the Rainbow Room in New Zealand’s Parliament. The Parliamentary Service, with the assistance of the NZ Parliamentary Rainbow Network, decided to undertake a facelift of the Rainbow Room in 2018 to reflect the changes that have occurred since the room’s inception in 2008. We hear the stories of those who fought for equal rights in office and were successful in influencing significant change for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as their impact today. The documentary includes interviews with present and former LGBTQ+ members of parliament and community members.
The twenty-minute documentary is currently hosted on the official New Zealand Parliament Youtube Channel.
More information about the Rainbow Voices of Aotearoa New Zealand can be found on the official New Zealand Parliament website by clicking Here
‘Kiki’ chronicles a youth-led social movement in New York City for LGBTQ+ youth of color. In the film, a group of LGBTQ+ youth comes together to create the Kiki Scene, a haven and an artistic activist subculture. It follows seven personalities from the Kiki community over four years, focusing on their preparations and dance performances at Kiki balls. It also delves into their struggles with homelessness, illness, abuse, and prejudice, as well as their progress toward political influence.
‘Kiki’ received a Teddy Ward Award for Best Documentary/Essay Film at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival. Filmmaker and visual artist Sara Jordenö directed the documentary film.
Watch ‘Kiki’ on Amazon Prime Here
Click Here for the official website
Mala Mala (2014)
‘Mala Mala’ is a documentary about the transgender community in Puerto Rico. It displays an in-depth account of intimate encounters, performances, friendships, and activism of Puerto Rican transgender people, drag queens, and others who defy traditional gender identities. It also includes narratives of the LGBTQ+ community’s victory with the approval and signature of a law in Puerto Rico that prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
The film features drag queens April Carrión, Samantha Close, Carlos ‘Queen Bee Ho’ Pascual, Denise ‘Sandy’ Rivera, and Soraya Santiago Solla, a transgender activist in Puerto Rico. Film producer Antonio Santini and filmmaker Dan Sickles serve as the directors of the film. Director Dan Sickles revealed in an interview segment of ‘Bring Your Own Documentary’ on TheLipTV that they have three hundred hours of footage and visited Puerto Rico over a dozen times during the filmmaking process.
Drag Queen April Carrión appeared on the sixth season of the reality show ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’
Watch ‘Mala Mala’ On Amazon Prime Here
India’s Trans Community Is Fighting for the Right to Work (2021)
In this documentary, Indian screenwriter Gazal Dhaliwal journeyed across India to understand the struggles of trans communities. Their yearning desire for meaningful jobs, education, respect, safety, social acceptance, and fulfilling careers in a societal structure that still does not accept them are highlighted. The short film also takes a trip in history describing the Indian hijra community who lived under the ‘Guru-chela’ system. The daily lives and stories of Mehak, Ayesha, Sitara, and others are captured in the film.
Gazal Dhaliwal is a well-known Indian film writer, public speaker, LGBTQ+ activist, and transgender woman. The short film, which Gazal Dhaliwal co-wrote and co-produced, was also nominated for a GLAAD award.
Rainbow Bridge: LGBTIQ migrants in Malta
‘Rainbow Bridge LGBTIQ migrants in Malta’, is a documentary produced by the Malta Gay Rights Movement and is currently available on the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement’s YouTube channel. It draws attention to LGBTIQ migrants in Malta, specifically the lives of three asylum seekers.
The documentary includes details and stories about their lives in their home country, their journey to Malta, their asylum procedure, and their new life in Malta. Their time in detainment, living in open centers, lengthy asylum claim processes, and experiences with homophobia and racism are all heavily featured.
According to International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association-Europe, Malta is the best country in Europe for LGBTQ+ rights and ranked Ranks No. 1 in European LGBT rights rankings for the seventh time in a row in 2022. Malta was also the first European nation to ban conversion therapy in 2016.
Read more about Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement Here
Follow MGRM on Instagram Here
Find more documentaries to watch HERE