Like many lately, I have been shaken by the recent senseless and violent attacks at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. As a member of the LGBT*Q community, it feels particularly personal and close to my heart.
In some small way, I wanted to produce something that may help the community through this heartbreaking time, so I would like to remind you all of 10 uplifting, positive LGBT*Q movies that will remind you what a strong, loving, resilient and united community we are.
1. Pride (2014)
This film, set in England in the 1980s, follows the true story of small band of gay and lesbian activists who managed two unite two very different communities with one single goal: To raise money for the families of those effected by the 1984 miners' strike. The film is overwhelmingly heartwarming and celebrates the strength of the LGBT community during a difficult period of British history.
2. The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert (1994)
The story follows Sydney drag queen Mitzi Del Bra as she travels cross country to Lasseter's Hotel Casino Resort in Alice Springs. The film explores issues of homophobia and gender politics set against a backdrop of glittering ball downs and scorching desert. The film is a staple of LGBT movie history.
3. Carol (2015)
Released last year to phenomenal success, Todd Haynes's Carol is the movie remake of Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt, and tells the story of Therese Belivet, who falls in love with divorced housewife Carol during the winter of 1952. Without giving too much away if you haven't seen it, Carol is a film that will warm your soul and leave you with a big smile on your face, plus the acting of both Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara is superb.
4. Hedwig & The Angry Inch (2001)
This powerful musical stars our hero, Hedwig, a former East Berlin citizen who escapes to the United States after a botched surgery. This story of love, passion and overcoming has an amazing soundtrack, and is a must-see for all fans of fabulous queers and fierce queens.
5. But I'm A Cheerleader (2000)
This cult classic stars Natasha Leone, Clea Duvall and an out-of-drag RuPaul Charles, and follows the story of a gay-to-straight conversion camp (called True Directions), which shows — in the most tongue-in-cheek way — how utterly ridiculous these kinds of institutions are. Heartwarming, hilarious and downright brilliant.
6. Boy Meets Girl (2014)
This little indie gem follows Ricky, a 21-year-old transgendered women who is looking for love in small town Kentucky. The film is beautifully honest, full of emotion, laughs and heartache as Ricky explores her attraction to both men and women, while ultimately getting the happy ending she deserves.
7. Weekend (2011)
Weekend is one of those films that is just full of love without even trying. Weekend is the story of the men who meet in a club, go home, have sex and develop a beautiful relationship over the course of one weekend, a week before one of them plans to leave the country. This critically acclaimed indie explores gay culture in an honest, unfiltered and completely unsensationalized way.
8. Show Me Love (1998)
Show Me Love (or Fucking Åmal in Swedish) is a 1998 coming of age movie following teenager Agnes, who has a serious crush on her popular classmate Elin. Both girls are frustrated with their lives in the small Swedish town of Åmal, and find they have more in common than they ever realized.
9. Milk (2008)
Milk is not entirely hopeful, but its message of unity, of community, strength and queer power means that it deserves to be on this list. Following California's first openly gay person being elected to public office, the story of Harvey Milk is well known throughout the world, and the film documents his rise from activist to politician, played powerfully and sensitively by Sean Penn.
10. Paris Is Burning (1991)
This is a documentary that everyone should see at least once in their lives. The iconic Paris Is Burning is the story of the New York underground Ball culture of the 1980s. A story of drag queens and "house" culture, the film has inspired artists, movie makers and musicians ever since. It focuses on poor, black and latino LGBT people who were shunned from society, and so came together to perform in these balls as a way to feel beautiful, accepted and fabulous. The film will leave you with a sense of strength, but also acts as a reminder of how perhaps things have changed little since then.