Top 15 Must See LGBT Docs

The Times of Harvey Milk – 1984


By Sue-Ann Cole

The Times of Harvey Milk – 1984
Directed by Rob Epstein

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be an elected official in US history. He served for 11 months on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors before himself and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, a fellow supervisor and opponent on gay-rights issues. In this moving documentary, newsreel footage and personal interviews give us a look into Milk’s life, his assassination, and the aftermath of it all.


Where to watch: Buy on Amazon, Youtube

Stonewall Uprising – 2010

Stonewall Uprising – 2010
Directed by Kate Davis, David Heilbroner

June 28, 1969. The Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, NYC. Police raid a Mafia-run gay bar, and start a 3-day riot, that eventually starts the Gay Rights Movement. For the first time patrons of the bar refused to be arrested, one man calls it, “the Rosa Parks moment.” Through patrons of the Inn, reporters of the event, and the cop who led the raid, a story of oppression, strength and bravery is told.


Where to watch: Buy on Amazon

After Stonewall – 1999

After Stonewall – 1999
Directed by John Scagliotti

In this follow up of Scagliotti’s Before Stonewall, we take a look at the aftermath of the uprising, the struggle in the 30 years since, and the ever expanding gay-rights movement.


Where to watch: Youtube

We Were Here – 2011

We Were Here – 2011
Directed by David Weissman, Bill Weber

We Were Here tells us of the “Gay Plague” in the early 1980s. In this documentary we learn of the issues raised within the community, as well as the social and political turmoil that arose from the AIDS epidemic. It gives us a look into what happened all those years ago, when the generation on the front lines fought for the healthcare they deserved.


Where to watch: Rent from Vimeo, Buy on Amazon, Youtube

Gay Positive – 2014

Gay Positive – 2014
Directed by A.J. Mattioli (as Jana Mattioli)

In the US, if you are a man who has had sex with another man since 1977, you are banned for life from donating blood. Gay Positive aims to bring public attention to this outdated ban, by taking to the streets to speak with and get opinions on the matter from members of the public. The makers of this documentary hope to raise the public awareness of this ban, and the benefits of having it lifted.


Where to watch: Buy on Amazon

Stained Glass Rainbows – 2015

Stained Glass Rainbows – 2015
Directed by Kent C. Williamson

Can gays be Christian? Is being gay a choice? Is homosexuality a sin? In Stained Glass Rainbows, a straight man travels across the US to speak with a variety of people – gay, straight, religious, and ex-gays, to try and bridge the gap between the church and the LGBT community.

Where to watch: Buy on DVD, Amazon, Google Play, Vimeo on Demand, Vudu

Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride – 2009

Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride – 2009
Directed by Bob Christie

In this documentary we follow Bob Christie across the world to see what gay pride is like in other countries- countries where coming out gets you thrown in a cell. Speaking with Ken Coolen, the President of Vancouver’s Pride Society, we get a new perspective on the progress that’s been made, and the progress that will come in the future.


Where to watch: iTunes, buy from Amazon

Do I Sound Gay? – 2014

Do I Sound Gay? – 2014
Directed by David Thorpe

In Do I Sound Gay? David Thorpe confronts his anxieties of “sounding gay,” by enlisting the help of linguists, acting coaches, friends, family, and even celebrities. Throughout this doc he discovers a lot of cultural baggage relating to sexuality, identity and self-esteem.


Where to watch: Youtube, iTunes, Google Play, Sony PlayStation, Netflix

Out Late – 2008

Out Late – 2008
Directed by Beatrice Alda, Jennifer Brooke

Many people would wonder why one would wait until they are over the age of 55 to come out – and that is exactly what this documentary covers. Speaking with 5 individuals from Canada and the US, we find out why they finally made the choice to come out, and why it took them so long.


Where to watch: Buy on Amazon

Pageant – 2008

Pageant – 2008
Directed by Ron Davis, Stewart Halpern-Fingerhut (as Stewart Halpern)

Miss Gay America. A pageant unknown to the masses, is where 52 men will compete against each other for the crown, representing who did the best drag. We follow the experiences of the top 5 contenders, listening to their motivations as we watch all the work that goes into making them a Queen.


Where to watch: Buy on Amazon, Netflix

The Brandon Teena Story – 1998

The Brandon Teena Story – 1998
Directed by Susan Muska, Gréta Olafsdóttir (as Greta Olafsdottir)

This is the story of Brandon Teena (born Teena Brandon), a trans man who was raped and beat on Christmas Eve, and was found dead on New Year’s Eve, along with two other victims in Nebraska. With short reenactments, and interviews with Brandon’s family, friends, and killers, Susan and Greta tell the story of Brandon.


The Brandon Teena Story from Bless Bless Productions on Vimeo.


Where to watch: iTunes, Netflix, buy on Amazon

Paris is Burning – 1990

Paris is Burning – 1990
Directed by Jennie Livingston

Shot between 1985 and 1989, Paris is Burning looks at New York’s underclass drag scene through interviews with the Queens as they prepare for the “ball,” where they compete in dancing and dressing competitions.


Where to watch: Buy on Amazon, Youtube

Beautiful Darling – 2010

Beautiful Darling – 2010
Directed by James Rasin

In the 60s, Candy Darling was a prominent figure in Andy Warhol’s circle, and an influence to legends like Madonna and David Bowie. In Beautiful Darling, through interviews, archival footage, and photographs, we learn of Candy’s rise to stardom and her too-brief life and career – cut short by lymphoma at age 29. This documentary focuses on Candy’s commitment and determination to become her true self.


Where to watch: Buy on Amazon, Youtube

Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives – 1992

Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives – 1992
Directed by Lynne Fernie, Aerlyn Weissman

In Forbidden Love, nine women who lived through the heyday of Lesbian-oriented pulp fiction (the 1950s) talk about their loves, lives, and the comfort they gained from the fictitious stories.


Where to watch: Rent, Download or Buy from https://www.nfb.ca/film/forbidden_love/

My Prairie Home – 2013

My Prairie Home – 2013
Directed by Chelsea McMullan

Rae Spoon, a Canadian indie-folk musician is followed on their tour via greyhound bus. Throughout My Prairie Home we listen as Rae Spoon recounts her musical and personal evolution, how she discovered the truth about herself, and the courage it takes to live with that truth.


Where to watch: iTunes, Rent or Download from https://www.nfb.ca/film/my_prairie_home/