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Let’s Talk Queer Entertainment: Who to Read, Listen to, and Watch

As summer starts winding down, it’s time to take a minute to talk about some fun stuff. It’s often said that the LGBTQ+ Community is underrepresented in the media and in print. However, with adequate searching, it can be found. To keep y’all busy, I’ve complied a list of some of my recent discoveries of books, musicians, and films/shorts. Enjoy!

Books

Freakboy by Kristen Elizabeth Clark

Crossing Lines by Paul Volponi

I read both of these this summer. While they both have very different storylines, they both give visibility to the trans community. Both are probably relatable to trans folks, but the second gives more of a harsher reality of the discrimination. Being trans was really not the main focus in Freakboy, which was great, but in Crossing Lines the trans character and his identity played a big part of the story. At first I didn’t like this, but in end, I think it was a good way of opening people’s minds.

The Empress of the World by Sara Ryan

As a queer woman, this is one of my favorite LGBTQ+ fiction books. It is a story I can really relate to and while I didn’t think about it, I think there are mixed reviews on it’s representation of the bisexual community. I definitely recommend it!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

You may recognize John Green. He wrote the popular novels The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and Looking for Alaska, among others. This book is a funny one and written in a really unique way about two people named Will Grayson, one that is gay, by two separate authors.

Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden

While much older than the others, I think a lot of people seem to find this as a must-read because it’s such a cute story about two girls in love, with a happy ending. Published in 1982, this book was banned from libraries, but eventually led to a court ruling that said schools did not have the authority to remove books from libraries unless the book could be shown to be ‘educationally unsuitable’” (Westheimer).

For some more LGBTQ+ books, check out the links below

http://www.leewind.org/

https://www.goodreads.com/list/tag/queer

Musicians

I’m a pretty big music person and I think supporting queer musicians is a really cool thing to do. It’s awesome to see when openly LGBTQ+ musicians get popular and are not afraid to be out and proud in the spotlight. Here are some that I know of:

Cakes Da Killa

Cakes is from my home state of New Jersey. While I’m personally not a big fan of his, I think it’s cool to mention him. This article has some information on him and some other queer NJ musicians, written by a friend of mine.

LP

I recently discovered LP this summer and I love her music. Here’s an article I wrote about her newest album.

Broods

Banks

I’m a big fan of Spotify so in preparing this piece, I searched for LGBTQ+ musicians their and two of my favorite artists came up. Broods is a brother and sister duo, where I think one of them might be gay. While both Banks and Broods do not seem to be very open about their sexual orientations, they’re both all over LGBTQ+ sites so I think it’s been confirmed that some if not all three are part of the community.

PWR BTTM

I was in my local coffee shop recently and when I told the barista about Crossing Lines (the book I mentioned above) and she told me about this band. Both singers, this duo of queer musicians really seem to pull from life experiences in their music. Interestingly, their songs are mostly all just around two minutes, leaving you wanting more.

Films

Love and Suicide

While very sad, this film is based on true events and does an awesome job of representing intersecting struggles. Here’s a piece I wrote on it after interviewing the director.

Pride

Milk

Both of these are about activism for the LGBTQ+ Community, but in different ways. The cool thing is that they are both based on true stories. Pride is about a group called Lesbians and Gays Support the Minors (Louise). It’s a nice story of two totally groups supporting each other. Alternatively, Milk tells the story of “the nation’s first and openly gay elected official” (Simonelli). Both of these are more serious films, but great in showing historical events for the LGBTQ+ Community.

An Unexpected Love

If you’re a fan of Lifetime movies, here’s a pretty good one. While super dramatic and often unrealistic, many of the channel’s movies are not about the LGBTQ+ Community. This one is though, and it’s about a lesbian adult couple.

Boy Meets Girl

I can’t comment what I think about this film because I haven’t seen it yet, but it looks really great. It appears to bring visibility to the transgender community is a positive way through a love story. Another awesome thing about it is that the trans character is played by someone who is transgender.

Shorts

I’ve never been a binge watcher of multiple seasons of half hour of hour long shows, but I love web series. The fact that people can use film and short series to tell their stories off mainstream television is awesome! Here are some I’ve found:

That’s My DJ

This two season long show combines two totally different things: queer woman and teenagers with the rave/DJ scene. Like others, it’s all based on true events. I highly recommend it! Here’s an article I wrote about it and you can watch it here.

Starting From Now

Another one aimed at queer women, this web series just launched its series finale, with a happy ending. With queer love triangles, drama, and their Australian accents, it’s pretty addictive. Check it out! Here’s my review of it and you can watch it here.

Not Looking

Her Story

The Outs

I’ll admit, I haven’t seen these three web series, but a friend told me about Not Looking. While it’s not really my taste, it definitely caters to gay men, and it’s funny. Her Story is on my “to watch” list, that follows queer and trans women, and really seems to educate its audience in a casual way. And The Outs looks hilarious!

I Don’t Bi It

While not like the others, I Don’t Bi It, is a fun series that YouTuber Alayna Fender uses to help educate people on the LGBTQ+ Community. Check it out here.

It can be hard to find positive LGBTQ+ entertainment. I hope this gave you some ideas!

Sources

Greitz, A. “Queer New Jersey Musicians Representing.” Queer Voices, http://queer-voices.com/2016/05/queer-new-jersey-musicians-representing/

“Her Story Show.” YouTube, uploaded by Her Story Show. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw2Mg0PoxZkAHAzDiabWr9A

“I Don’t Bi It.” YouTube, uploaded by MissFender. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3XNHndL8cauRhmPHBohBmYaX5BZDzIkC

Jason Looney, YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/user/JasonLooneyTube/featured

Mahmoud, J. “Love & Suicide, The Movie.” Curve Magazine, http://www.curvemag.com/Reviews/Love-Suicide-1367/

Louise, J. (2015, June 8). PRIDE AND JOY MINERS STRIKE MOVIE WINS AWARD AS GAY RIGHTS GROUP WHO INSPIRED IT REFORMS. Evening Standard. p. 7.

Mahmoud, J. “Starting From Now Final Season Coming Soon.” Curve Magazine, http://www.curvemag.com/Reviews/Starting-From-Now-Final-Season-Coming-Soon-1253/

Mahmoud, J. “That’s My DJ.” Curve Magazine, http://www.curvemag.com/Reviews/Thats-My-DJ-1353/

Mahmoud, J. “The Enigmatic, Androgynous LP Is Back!” Curve Magazine, http://www.curvemag.com/Reviews/The-Enigmatic-Androgynous-LP-Is-Back-1280/

Queer Book Lists. Goodreads. https://www.goodreads.com/list/tag/queer

Simonelli, F. J. (2010). Harvey Milk. American National Biography (From Oxford University Press).

“Starting From Now.” YouTube, uploaded by Starting From Now. https://www.youtube.com/user/startingfromnowtv1/featured

“That’s My DJ” http://www.thatsmydjseries.com/

“The Outs.” http://www.theouts.com/9

Westheimer, K. “Nancy Gardner on My Mind: A Tribute for Banned Book Week” (2014). Human Rights Campaign, http://www.hrc.org/blog/nancy-garden-on-my-mind-a-tribute-for-banned-book-week

Wind, L. I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?, Blogspot. http://www.leewind.org/

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