Icons, imagery, iterations: important gay movies

Why these iconic films are so important to the gay community.

Arts Arts and Culture Triston Brewer

This article was published on March 19th, 2018

The LGBT community has always had an uphill battle fighting against stereotypes, prejudice, misrepresentation, and a host of other problems over the years. Through the power of film, the LGBT has been exposed to the mainstream in touching pieces of art that not only capture a time in history, but relay messages that deal with all aspects of humanity. Gay life is human life, and everything that comes with it. The following are just a few of the touching and important gay movies over the years that have touched the world and become iconic works in the gay community and beyond.

Pricilla, Queen of the Desert

Rejects, queers, and drag queens all on a quest involving redirection, introspection, and self-reflection is the backdrop to this Australian camp classic. The story tells the tale of two men and a transwoman on an adventure through the desert on a journey towards redemption and transcendence. From the excessive, caked on makeup and sequins galore, to the 70s soundtrack and stellar acting, Priscilla doesn’t just celebrate ABBA, but life itself. The film is worth viewing for the first time or for a repeat to see how far gay culture has evolved since the 90s.

Pricilla, Queen of the Desert

To Wong Foo

Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo will forever be aligned to this trailblazing film that holds important life lessons, all gussied up under fabulous costumes and wit to boot. The comedic and dramatic aspects of the film still resonate more than twenty years later. What made this movie an instant classic was not only the chemistry of the three leads and supporting cast, but also the soundtrack that weaves through the film and moves it right along at a feverish pace. Ms. Veda and Noxzema will forever be linked to the Salt-N-Pepa classic, ‘I Am the Body Beautiful’. Through every transformation they make, viewers are taken on a ride that teaches the lesson of patience, listening, and accepting who you are.

To Wong Foo

The Bird Cage

Of course, you could easily view the original French version, but the Americanized version featuring the insanity that ensues with Robin Williams is the one that wowed audiences worldwide, telling the story of two lovebirds attempting to hide the true nature of their union from a more traditionally accepted family. By swapping roles (and genders), the right wing and the far left come together in a film that brings the laughs and the messages in abundance. This remake is one of the first mainstream comedies to feature a huge international cast in star-making turns, with Williams appearing in one of his signature roles.

The Bird Cage

Honorable Mentions

Other iconic films to add to this list include Mamma Mia, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Jeffery, and many more that capture the up and downs of living and loving within the LGBT community. These movies are classic films that are important to the gay community for their poignant portrayal in the face of adversity.

Mamma Mia

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