June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. The holiday celebrates the events that took place in June 1969, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City stood up to police harassment. Stonewall remains known as the spot where the single most important event for gay rights took place, marking the first time gay and lesbians stood together in a group to protect their human rights.
Here is a look at some of the best films dealing with LGBT matters while celebrating the month-long holiday.
"Boys Don't Cry"
Hilary Swank stars in "Boys Don't Cry," a movie based on the true story of Brandon Teena, an individual born as a female but raised as a male who was beaten, raped, and murdered in 1993. The movie was very controversial upon its release, the harsh story about the life and death of a transgender causing it to initially receive an NC-17 rating. It was later awarded an R-rating in time for its release.
Swank won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Teena while Chloe Sevigny picked up a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role as a young woman who entered a relationship with him shortly before his death.
Arguably the most famous mainstream LGBT movie, "Brokeback Mountain" was directed by Ang Lee from a short story by Annie Proulx. The movie follows two cowboys, played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, who develop a sexual relationship while working as sheepherders. Gyllenhaal stars as Jack, who makes the initial contact, and Ledger stars as Ennis, a straight man who falls for Jack.
The movie shows the lifelong effects of their tryst; both men get married but continue to meet secretly and carry on their affair. The movie also spotlights the intolerance facing their relationship, especially with Jack's fears of violent retaliation against homosexuals. Ang Lee won an Oscar for his direction but the movie itself lost to "Crash" at the Academy Awards.
"Gods and Monsters"
One of the most underrated films dealing with LGBT issues is "Gods and Monsters," the semi-fictional story of the final days of "Frankenstein" director James Whale's (Ian McKellen) life. Whale's homosexuality is a central theme in the movie, as is his relationship with a young gardener (Brendan Fraser).
McKellen picked up an Oscar nomination for his role as Whale, while writer/director Bill Condon won Best Adapted Screenplay.
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- Brandon Teena