Despite the fact that this year’s Pride celebrations will not be held in person, we can still reflect on the history of the gay rights movement and how far we’ve come as a society. It’s also a good moment to look at how social change can be influenced in the United States, given the current focus on justice and equality in the country.
I learned a great deal about the history of the gay rights movement and the ongoing struggle of LGBTQ people through these epic dramas and historical documentaries. To celebrate Pride Month, we’ve rounded up five movies you can watch on Netflix now.
1. American Experience: “Stonewall Uprising”
The modern homosexual rights movement’s watershed moment was commemorated last summer on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. Personal interviews with those who were present at Stonewall provide background for the events depicted in this American Experience documentary. In the 1960s, medical professionals and the general public still saw homosexuality as a mental disease. Despite being shunned by the general population, the LGBT community discovered a way to protect themselves. Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn was the other. The mafia-owned club was one of the few venues where gay individuals could express their emotions and dance together publicly. There were frequent clashes with the police as they attempted to raid the bar and arrest patrons for allegedly breaking societal norms.
It was June 1969, when police officers stormed into the tavern and turned the lights off while they demanded IDs. People gathered on Christopher Street and, fed up with police abuse, they took a stand and fought back when the police refused to disperse them. Because they didn’t expect it, the cops couldn’t return. One protester said, “We discovered a power we didn’t even know we possessed.” The first ever gay pride parade in New York City was launched as a result of the rebellion, as well as a generation of societal development. Reliving this moment in time, when a minority community rose out against police brutality, is particularly moving at this point. As a result of this night’s violence, we now see it as a catalyst for social reform. Stream Now.
2. FRONTLINE: “Growing Up Trans”
There’s nothing more powerful than letting transgender children speak their own tales in FRONTLINE’s documentary on the subject. Transgender children, ages 9 to 13, share their experiences growing up in a body that doesn’t fit their identities in their own words. It is now possible for children to begin the process of becoming a different gender far earlier than in the past. Parents, grandparents, and other schoolmates all play a role in the children’s narratives as they guide them through their sometimes perplexing trip.
Many obstacles lie ahead for transgender people in this new frontier in their rights. There are still many unanswered questions when it comes to medicinal interventions, according to doctors and psychologists. These transgender children are grappling with the weighty issues of fertility and the prospect of having biological children at a young age. “We’re putting a lot of pressure on you,” says one doctor. Despite the challenges they face, these young people are knowledgeable, confident, and self-aware. When asked why fathers have a harder time embracing a transgender child than mothers, one trans youngster responds, “Guys aren’t really permitted to play with their gender.” The future of these children is uncertain, but we can be confident that these pioneers are laying the groundwork for racial equity and inclusion. Stream Now.
3. Reel South: “Alabama Bound”
States are today at the forefront of societal development. State legislatures, rather than the federal government, are where the majority of the struggles for LGBT rights are waged. Reel South focuses on one state to evaluate how LGBT rights are changing in the United States. Politics and religion are inextricably intertwined in Alabama, one of the most conservative states in the country. There are currently 26 states where members of same-sex families are not legally protected from discrimination by business owners, employers, and judges; advocates continue to push for further safeguards.
They are a group of three lesbian couples who are fighting against discriminatory laws in their home states. Even if her son is living with an abusive stepmother, one lady loses custody of him because of her sexual orientation. Another couple is fighting for equal adoption rights after their newborn baby’s illness was discriminated against at a hospital. There are cameras rolling when they learn of a 2015 Supreme Court judgment that made marriage equality the rule of the land thanks to that couple’s struggle against Alabama’s state prohibition on same-sex marriage. Patricia Todd, the first openly gay state lawmaker in Alabama, says, “I thought marriage would be the biggest obstacle to overcome, but it’s now the first huge triumph.” It’s going to take a while before we’re finished. “The next frontier is non-discrimination.” Stream Now.
4. We’ll Meet Again: “Coming Out”
As a child, I knew I couldn’t tell my conservative parents I was gay, and I was devastated when I found out I was. Homosexuality was still viewed as a mental disease and a criminal in the 1960s. As a result, he confided in his buddy Marla, who was delighted to have him. They became estranged over time. Student body president at University of New Hampshire Paul Tosi was also in charge. With Wayne April’s help, he was able to start the first gay-friendly club on campus. The governor tried to put a stop to it, and the press derided them for it, but in 1975, they took the matter all the way to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, where they prevailed in their fight for equal rights. For decades, this case has been regarded as one of the most significant cases in American LGBT rights history. Tosi came to terms with the fact that he, too, was gay as a result of the case and became an outspoken supporter for LGBT rights.
A 40-year-old reconnection between these two guys is featured in this episode of We’ll Meet Again. Tom and Paul had the opportunity to express their gratitude to Marla and Wayne for giving them the confidence to accept and embrace who they are. They are heartwarming tales of reuniting with old friends and making new ones. There has never been a more important time to tell the people in your present or in your past how much they mean to you than right now, when we are all looking for human connection. You’re not obligated to wait that long. Stream Now.
5. MASTERPIECE: “Man in an Orange Shirt”
For the 50th anniversary of decriminalization of homosexuality in England, MASTERPIECE’s stunning Man in an Orange Shirt aired on the BBC. Before that legislation, LGBT people like Thomas, who we see in the first half of this film, were subjected to violent treatment and put to prison. Michael Berryman, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, is an artist who has a secret love affair with James McArdle, who portrays him in the film. While serving in the military, they become acquainted and begin a passionate love affair that continues long after the war has ended.
The plot jumps forward 60 years to modern-day London, where we meet Julian Morris’ character, a gay man struggling with his own acceptance and identity, as well as Vanessa Redgrave’s character, his grandmother. In the end, the story does come full circle, but not in the way you might have anticipated. These multi-generational stories are beautifully tied together in the script penned by novelist Patrick Gale. Extinction and shame can be passed along from generation to generation, making it clear that prejudice is alive and well today. A painful and emotionally charged trip, I expect this narrative and its characters will remain with me for a long time..