As a lesbian, I’m constantly starved for representation in the media I consume.
I watch a lot of movies and shows and I find far too many of them, even the ones that boast of representation, to be lacking. Often, this happens because the writers are straight and a straight person can simply not write a queer character as anything but a stereotype in my experience.
I realise that I haven’t recommended any ‘Serious Movies’ and that’s a choice I made completely consciously. I feel that while those ‘Serious Movies’ are very important, our community also needs heartwarming, romantic comedies, and happy movies especially when a large number of us are living in homophobic situations.
So here is a list of movies and shows to watch for that sweet sweet lesbian representation!
Carol is a movie starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. The movie follows the soft love story of Therese, played by Mara and Carol, played by Blanchett. It’s set in New York and has some of the most stunning cinematography I have ever seen.
The way the movie has been filmed feels almost poetic and the ending leaves you wanting more. Personally, I would pay to watch more about these characters. Carol is based on a book called The Price Of Salt.
Carmilla was originally a novella written by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and was one of the earliest literary works to feature vampires, even before Stoker’s Dracula, which was published 26 years after Carmilla.
Carmilla was adapted into a Web series that is available on youtube for your bingeing necessities. It follows the story of the lesbian vampire Carmilla and her “I’ll save the world” roommate, Laura who is determined to get to the bottom of the missing girls’ situation at their college.
The show gives me life because it has two of my favourite things, lesbians and vampires. It also has nonbinary characters, played by actually nonbinary actors. Due to the success of the show, a movie was also made after the web series ended.
Gentleman Jack is an 8-episode series set in the 1800s. It follows the story of Anne Lister, who was a real person who lived in Victorian England. The series is based on the extensive diaries that Anne used to keep and shows how hard it was to be a lesbian at that time. While Anne Lister has political views that I don’t espouse, it feels really good to watch a show about lesbians who were alive a couple of centuries before me and led happy, fulfilling lives.
Saving Face is a very lovely movie set in a Chinese-American family in New York. Wil, our protagonist is a doctor whose widowed mother keeps trying to set her up with men in their community without understanding that her daughter is a lesbian. However, her mother has secrets of her own which soon begin to show. Pun intended.
Saving Face is a very heartwarming story about how families that do not accept us and very conservative can also have a change of heart.
Trigger warning: Conversion Therapy
But I’m a Cheerleader has Natasha Lyonne starring as the cheerleader, Megan whose friends and family feel that she’s a lesbian which is something she believes is not true, because she’s a cheerleader. Because of this, they send her to a residential conversion camp where she discovers herself.
While this movie had the opportunity to explore the extremely horrifying issue of conversion therapy that a lot of LGBT teens face, it chooses to be more lighthearted, fluffy film.
I watched this movie with apprehension as I feared what would happen to LGBT characters in the setting of a conversion camp but this movie exceeded all of my expectations.
One Day At A Time is a Netflix series that’s based on Norman Lear’s sitcom of the same title.
It follows a Cuban-American family living in Los Angeles with a single mother who is an army veteran, her religious and dramatic mother, her lesbian teenage daughter and her son. I feel that this a very important show as it addresses issues such as coming out and acceptance, PTSD, anxiety, addiction, immigration, homophobia, and more, all the while being a hilarious and heartwarming show. A personal recommendation, for sure.
None of the movies and shows in the above list have sad, tragic or unhappy endings, something which all of us desperately need. So, my fellow Queers, I hope you find these shows and movies as therapeutic as I did.