Documentaries for LGBT Pride Month
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We’ve got some thought-provoking documentaries on queer politics, gay visibility (and invisibility) in popular culture, and the intersection of gender, sexuality & sports. Check out a few of our favorites below.
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[Watch the trailer for Pride Denied]
Pride Denied tells the story of how corporate sponsors coopted the concept of LGBTQ pride, turning it into a feel-good brand and blunting its radical political edge. The film locates the origins of pride in sites of grassroots resistance and revolt, going back to the anti-police Stonewall uprising led by queer and trans people of color in 1969. It then traces how the deeply political roots of pride morphed into the depoliticized big-business PRIDE™ spectacles of today — multimillion-dollar events designed to project an image of tolerance and equality rather than calling attention to the relationship between normative identity, power, and sexual repression. The film also offers a stunning case study in the politics of “pinkwashing,” detailing how the government of Israel has used its purported tolerance of gay rights to deflect attention away from its systematic repression of Palestinian human rights. Drawing on the insights of activists, artists, and educators, Pride Denied makes a compelling case for returning to the progressive political activism and grassroots community support that characterized the early LGBT rights movement.
Featuring Jasbir Puar, Dean Spade, Christina Hanhardt, and others.
[Watch the trailer for Further Off the Straight & Narrow]
Against the backdrop of political and social issues affecting the LGBTQ community, such as gay marriage and AIDS, Further Off the Straight & Narrow takes a close look at sitcoms, reality shows, and premium cable programming as it explores how representations of GLBT characters have become more complex and varied in recent years.
The film acknowledges the expansion of LGBTQ representation on television and the resulting possibilities for inclusion and recognition opened up for today’s gay youth. However, the program also raises questions about how this queer presence on television is shaped by the imperatives of the commercial media system.
Further Off the Straight & Narrow argues that the evolution in LGBTQ representation, like many transformations in a commercially-driven media system, may be best explained less by a sudden commitment to social justice on the part of big media than by advertisers’ recognition of the potential of directly targeting LGBTQ consumers with programming specifically designed to attract their attention.
Featuring interviews with Howard Buford (Founder & CEO, Prime Access, Inc.), Joshua Gamson (University of San Francisco and author, Freaks Talk Back), Larry Gross (Director of Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern CA), Lisa Henderson (Professor of Communication, University of Massachusetts-Amherst), Katherine Sender (University of Pennsylvania), and Suzanna Walters (Indiana University).
[Watch the trailer for Playing Unfair]
It has been 30 years since Title IX legislation granted women equal playing time, but the male-dominated world of sports journalism has yet to catch up with the law. Coverage of women’s sport lags far behind men’s, and focuses on female athletes’ femininity and sexuality over their achievements on the court and field. While female athleticism challenges gender norms, women athletes continue to be depicted in traditional roles that reaffirm their femininity – as wives and mothers or sex objects. By comparison, male athletes are framed according to heroic masculine ideals that honor courage, strength, and endurance.
Playing Unfair is the first video to critically examine the post-Title IX media landscape in terms of the representation of female athletes.
Sports media scholars Mary Jo Kane (University of Minnesota), Pat Griffin (University of Massachusetts), and Michael Messner (University of Southern California) look at the persistence of heterosexism and homophobia in perpetuating gender stereotypes. They argue for new media images which fairly and accurately depict the strength and competence of female athletes. Using numerous media examples, Playing Unfair is sure to stimulate debate among women and men, athletes and non-athletes about the meaning of these images in world transformed by the presence of women in sport.
[Watch the trailer for Speak Up!]
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and their allies face unique challenges of violence and harassment in schools. SPEAK UP! explores what these students and their allies have done to transform their schools into safer and more welcoming environments. Interviews with students, parents, teachers, administrators and national activists highlight not only the need for transformation, but offer resources and advice for those actively working for change.
Featuring interviews with Judy Shepard, Danny and Julie from MTV’s Real World New Orleans and actor/musician Anthony Rapp, this innovative video offers a powerful look at the ways in which individuals are reclaiming their classrooms and hallways as spaces safe for LGBTQ students.
[Watch the trailer for Off the Straight & Narrow]
The precursor to Further Off the Straight & Narrow, Off the Straight & Narrow was the first in-depth documentary to cast a critical eye over the growth of gay images on TV. Leading media scholars provide the historical and cultural context for exploring the social implications of these new representations.
Off the Straight & Narrow challenges viewers to consider the value and limits of available gay images: who is represented, what they get to say, and how people respond to them. The video is an invaluable tool for all educators interested in introducing students to issues of representation and diversity in the media.
Featuring interviews with: Edward Alwood, Richard Dyer, John Erni, Larry Gross, Lisa Henderson, Marguerite Moritz, Charles Nero, and Sasha Torres.
[Watch the trailer for It Takes a Team!]
This educational “kit” — which includes a 15-minute video, an informational poster, and colorful “Safe Space” stickers — is intended to help coaches/teachers, parents, and school administrators educate students/athletes about the harmful effects of homophobia and asks the question, “How can we make sure that people in athletics are evaluated, not based on their sexual orientation or gender expression, but on their individual character and accomplishments?”