Now, more than ever, I need to revel in stories centered on LGBTQ people. I need to explore love, loss and life through that lens. I need the balm of our art. I need to see men kissing men and women kissing women, because that's what people do when they are drawn to the magic of another, and because it's every-day true and radical at the same time. I need to understand more about what is universal about families, love affairs, politics and people, and I need to understand more about what is particularly challenging about living queer lives in hetero-normative, oppressive cultures. I simply need, like medicine or air, the genius wit, elegance, humor, pathos and creative fire of LGBTQ people writ on large and small screens, and I need it now.
Image: Tangerine via Magnolia Pictures
Right now I'm re-watching Transparent on Amazon Originals, which only gets better with subsequent viewings. Creator Jill Soloway is very interested in the safe places we try to create in LGBTQ communities, with pivotal developments happening at the conferences, community centers and clubs Maura visits and at the women's camp she attends with her daughters (and in the European salon that is featured in flashbacks.) It's an amazing, nuanced exploration of the necessity of safe space and in the inherent, inevitable barriers to true yet inclusive safety.
Television also has two gifts ahead. The new season ofThe Fosters begins Monday, exploring family as the ultimate creation of personal safe space. Before that, the new season of Orange is the New Black drops on Friday. Set in the opposite of a safe environment, OITNB shows an array of queer stories against the backdrop of a world that considers "lesbian request denied" as the bottom line. Interestingly, though, the beautiful final scene of the most recent season showed a sort of women's safe utopia that was created in a momentary, rebellious reprieve in the lake. I plan to revisit that episode before diving into the new.
Good movies abound. New cinema might even be showing in your town as many cities have Pride-centrentic showings of LGBTQ-related films or even multi-day festivals. If not or if you are craving cocoon time, you can easily create your own as all of the online sources for streaming have rich LGBTQ tagged categories. Autostraddle, The Advocate and Out have lists to help guide you.
For inspiration, consider this gorgeous compilation from Fandor. Creator Candice Drouet said:
Everything I see, I see in terms of movies. When I think of the LGBTQ experience, I think about great LGBTQ films like Blue Is the Warmest Color, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Before Night Falls and so many others. I also think of the rainbow flag and how each color stands for a value in the LGBTQ experience. Red is Life; Orange is Healing; Yellow is Sunlight; Green is Nature; Blue is Serenity; Violet is Spirit. As I thought about how each of these values can be found in LGBTQ movies, this video formed in my head. I put together these images representing these values, which are values we can all relate to.
Create your own LGBTQ media festival of true and beauty, protest and wonder, and radical love in times of culture war. Queer communities are the living embodiment of life as art and art as life, and our television and film can be a life-saving balm in times of need.
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