Films & Movies

The following films & movies are by, for, or about queer people of color. This is not a full and complete listing.

Almost Myself (T Joe Murray Videos, 2006)
Director: Tom Murray.

After finding a most unusual web site that was seeking funds to help reverse a sex change, filmmaker Tom Murray set out on a fascinating cross country journey to explore just a small part of the vastly diverse transgender community.

And the March Continues! (Frameline, 1997)
Director: Guadalupe San Miguel.

And the March Continues combines documentary and narrative forms to present a history of the lesbian movement in Mexico from its origins to the present. Testimonies from Mexican lesbians and movement leaders give impressions of daily life in their country.

B.D. Women (Women Make Movies, 1994)
Director: Campbell X. B.D.

Women is a wonderful celebration of the history and culture of Black lesbians. Lively interviews feature Black women talking candidly about their sexual and racial identities. These contemporary views are cleverly interwoven with a dramatized love story, set in the 1920s, in which a sultry romance develops between a gorgeous jazz singer and her stylish butch lover.

Be Like Others (Wolf Video, 2008)
Director: Tanaz Eshaghian.

Attracted to members of the same sex, yet forced to live in the shadows for fear of retribution, some young Iranian men and women are taking the only course legally open to them. Desiring what one man calls “a decent life,” they pursue the drastic measure of having gender reassignment surgery, obtaining the psychiatric note of permission a doctor needs to proceed.

Black is...Black Ain’t (California Newsreel, 1994)
Director: Marlon Riggs.

The film traverses the country interviewing African Americans young and old, rich and poor, Northern and Southern, rural and urban, gay and straight, as they discuss the numerous, often contested definitions of Blackness.

Black/Womyn: Conversations with Lesbians of African Descent (Harriet’s Gun Media, 2011)
Director: Toina M.

Black./womyn.:conversations… features interviews with close to 50 out, Black lesbians including Poet/Author Cheryl Clarke, Filmmaker/Activist Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Poet/Author Staceyann Chin, Filmmaker Michelle Parkerson, Artist Hanifah Walidah, Hip-Hop Duo KIN, and Author Fiona Zedde.

Boys from Brazil (ITC Entertainment, 1993)
Director: John Paul Davidson.

The film follows a group of Brazilian prostitutes over two years as they work not only the streets of Rio, but those of Paris, Rome and Milan.” The twist is that these prostitutes are gay, transsexual and transvestite [sic].

Brincando el Charco (Women Make Movies, 1996)
Director: Frances Negron-Muntaner.

In a wonderful mix of fiction, archival footage, processed interviews and soap opera drama, “Brincando el Charco” tells the story of Claudia Marin, a middle-class, light-skinned Puerto Rican photographer/videographer who is attempting to construct a sense of community in the US.

Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (PBS, 2003)
Directors: Nancy D. Kates and Bennett Singer.

This feature-length portrait unfolds both chronologically and thematically, using interviews and traditional documentary techniques, as well as experimental approaches.

Brother to Brother (Wolfe Releasing, 2004)
Director: Rodney Evans.

Brother to Brother is the story of Perry a young black artist kicked out of his family home for being gay. Trapped between the worlds of the black community and the gay community, Perry searches for a connection in the real world.

China Dolls (Lindfield, N.S.W. Film Australia, 1997)
Director: Tony Ayres.

China Dolls probes the uncomfortable reality of racial stereotyping and discrimination in the gay world through interviews with Asian men who talk frankly, and often humorously, of their experiences of living within a “double minority.”

Coming Out Coming Home (Asian & Pacifc Islander Family Pride, 1996)
Asian & Pacific Islander Family Stories, a 44-minute color video (DVD) featuring interviews of one Filipino and three Chinese families and a dialogue among parents of these gay children. Speaking in English, the families talk about shame, grief, love, growth, the importance of family and how they handled their conflicts around homosexuality.

Cruel and Unusual (Outcast Films, 2006)
Director: Dan Hunt.

This documentary focuses on five trans women, three incarcerated and two recently released from prison. According to the film, transgender people are more likely than average to be imprisoned, and when in prison often face sexual violence from other prisoners.

Fire (Zeitgeist Films, 1996)
Director: Deepa Mehta.

With both husbands ignoring their spouses’ emotional and sexual needs (albeit with reasons that are totally opposite from each other), it is only a matter of time before Radha and Sita look to one another for comfort and to satisfy their own passions.

For Straights Only (NA, 2001)
Director: Vismita Gupta-Smith.

When her brother comes out to her as a homosexual, the filmmaker is motivated to survey the conditions and attitudes encountered by gays and lesbians in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the rest of Southern Asia.

Gulabi Aaina (The Pink Mirror) (Solaris, 2003)
Director: Sridhar Rangayan.

Said to be the first Indian film to focus on Indian transsexuals, the story revolves around two transsexuals and a gay teenager’s attempts to seduce a man. The film explores the taboo subject of transsexuals in India.

Honored by the Moon (Women Make Movies,1990)
Director: Mona Smith.

In this upbeat and empowering videotape, Native American lesbians and gay men speak of their unique historical and spiritual role. Within the Native American community, homosexuality was traditionally associated with the power to bridge worlds. Interviews with leading activists and personal testimony attest to the positive and painful experiences of being Native and gay.

I Exist (Arab Film, 2003)
Directors: Peter Barbosa and Garrett Lenoir.

Gay and Lesbian Middle Easterners who live in the United States must frequently combat the negative stereotypes revolving around both their sexuality and their race. This award-winning film features interviews with a variety of young men, women and their family members who share with viewers some of the experiences, joys and sorrows of this diverse community.

James Baldwin (PBS, 1989)
Director: Karen Thorsen.

The life, works and beliefs of the late writer and civil rights activist are recounted: what it is to be born black, impoverished, gifted, and gay in a world that has yet to understand that “all men are brothers.” James Baldwin tells his own story in this emotional portrait. Using rarely-seen archival footage from nine different countries.

A Jihad for Love (First Run Films, 2007)
Director: Parvez Sharma.

Parvez Sharma’s A Jihad for Love marks one of the very first documentaries to examine the occasional overlaps between Islam and homosexuality. Evincing great sensitivity to both the subject matter and the interviewees, Sharma hones in on a transcontinental group of homosexual individuals who attempt to reconcile their faith in the Koran with their non-heterosexual identities.

Juchitan, Queer Paradise (NA, 2002)
Director: Patricio Enriquez.

The extraordinary real-life story of Juchitan, a town in southern Mexico where homosexuality is completely accepted as a third gender. Though located in the land of machismo, the town of Juchitan in southern Mexico is a haven for gay men and transsexuals. The film profiles three very different gay men.

Khush (Women Make Movies,1991)
Director: Pratibha Paramar.

Khush, taken from the Urdu meaning “ecstatic pleasure,” deals with the lives of South Asian lesbians and gay men as they negotiate their existences in Britain, North America, and India. In their interviews, men and women explore what it means to be queer and of color in their particular locale. What emerges from the interviews is a sense of a commonly held identity, across geographical boundaries, based in their collective experiences of isolation and difference.

Latino Beginnings (Logo TV, 2005)
Distributor: Logo TV.

Find out what it’s like to be a minority within a minority. This documentary takes an indepth look into the lives of gay Hispanics, a culture ingrained in religion and machismo.

Looking for Langston (Sankofa Film & Video Productions,1989)
Director: Isaac Julien.

In this lyrical and poetic consideration of the life of revered Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes, award-winning British filmmaker Isaac Julien invokes Hughes as a black gay cultural icon, against an impressionistic, atmospheric setting that parallels a Harlem speakeasy of the 1920s with an 80s London nightclub

Madame Satã (Wellsping Media, 2002)
Director: Karim Ainouz.

Loose portrait of João Francisco dos Santos, also known as Madame Satã, a sometime chef, transvestite, lover, father, hero and convict from Rio de Janeiro.

Milind Soman Made Me Gay (Tilotama Productions, 2007)
Director: Harjant Gill.

“Milind Soman Made Me Gay” is a conceptual documentary about desire and notions of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’. The film employs a unique mix of visual elements along with voice over narration to juxtapose memories of the filmmaker’s past against stories of three gay South Asian men living in the diaspora.

Mosquita y Mari (Wolfe Releasing, 2012)
Director: Aurora Guerrero.

Mosquita y Mari is a coming of age story that focuses on a tender friendship between two young Chicanas. Lost in their private world of unspoken affection, lingering gazes, and heart-felt confessions of uncertain futures, Yolanda’s grades begin to slip while Mari’s focus drifts away from her duties at a new job.

Noahs Arc: Jumping the Broom (LOGO Films, 2008)
Director: Patrik-Ian Polk.

As Noah and Wade prepare to marry in Martha’s Vineyard, the personal problems of their friends - and the unexpected arrival of rapper Baby Gat - threatens to permanently end their relationship.

Paradise Bent: Boys will be Girls in Samoa (Re Angle Pictures, 1999)
Director: Heather Croall.

This is one of the first explorations of the Samoan fa’afafines, boys who are raised as girls, fulfilling a traditional role in Samoan culture. The film shows how in the large Samoan family there may be one or two fa’afafines who are not only accepted, but appreciated.

Pariah (Focus Features, 2011)
Director: Dee Rees.

Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. With the sometimes boisterous support of her best friend, out lesbian Laura, Alike is especially eager to find a girlfriend. At home, her parents’ marriage is strained and there is further tension in the household whenever Alike’s development becomes a topic of discussion.

Paris is Burning (Miramax Films, 1990)
Director: Jennie Livingston.

Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it. Many members of the ball culture community consider “Paris Is Burning” to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the “Golden Age” of New York City drag balls.

Pecah Lobang (NA, 2008)
Director: Poh Si Teng.

Pecah Lobang explores what it’s like to be a Muslim transsexual sex worker in Malaysia. The documentary revolves around Natasha, a Muslim Mak Nyah, who refuses to live life as a man. Unable to secure employment because of discrimination, Natasha turns to sex work and lives in constant fear of the police and religious authorities.

Pick Up the Mic (Rhino Films, 2005)
Director: Alex Hinton.

A Queer Hip-Hop fast-paced documentary on the world of queer rappers. Featuring searing public performances and raw, revealing interviews, the film captures an unapologetic underground music movement just as it explodes into the mainstream - defying the music industry’s homophobia in the process.

Rites of Passage (Part 1)(NA, 2011)
Director: Jeff Roy.

Filmed in Bangkok, Rites of Passage (Part 1) documents the story of Maya (Mohammad) Jafer, a 42-year old Indo-Muslim transsexual female, who underwent gender reassignment surgery in early 2011. This film follows her through the moments leading towards and during her surgery, capturing her in times of utmost vulnerability and ecstasy.

Shinjuku Boys (Women Make Movies, 1995)
Director: Kim Longinotto.

Shinjuku Boys introduces three onnabes who work as hosts at the New Marilyn Club in Tokyo. Onnabes are women who live as men and have girlfriends, although they don’t usually identify as lesbians. As the film follows them at home and on the job, all three talk frankly to the camera about their gender-bending lives, revealing their views about women, sex, transvestitism and lesbianism.

Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen (K.R. Zeigler, 2008)
Director: Dr. Kortney Ryan Zeigler.

“STILL BLACK: A Portrait of Black Transmen is brought to life by the stories of six thoughtful, eloquent and diverse transmen. Preachers, teachers, students and activists educate us simply by making their presence known. Each man brings a colorful and complex richness as he describes his relationship to himself, as well as others in his life.

Strange Frame: Love and Sax (Wolfe, 2012)
Director: Geoffrey Blair Hajim.

At the end of the 26th century, the price of a ticket off a decimated poisoned Earth was a debt that was supposed to last for a couple of generations. Broken promises and predatory lenders turned that price into perpetual debt slavery. Spin forward two hundred years to the beginning of the 29th century.

Stud Life (Wolfe Video, 2012)
Director: Campbell X.

Stud Life takes the viewer into a slice of life of an urban gay scene where casual sex, and drug taking is not treated as deviant behaviour. Where gender is up for grabs but desire follows very strict rules. JJ and Seb inhabit a world where white queers are familiar with Black street culture and reject the mainstream “G.A.Y” world. This is Stud Life.

Tal Como Somos/ As We Are (Juneteenth Productions, 2007)
Director: Judith McCray.

Tal Como Somos (Just as we are) examines the impact of stigma on gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals trying to live and identify differently than others in a traditional culture that values religion, machismo, and family.

The Aggressives (Image Entertainment, 2005)
Director: Daniel Peddle.

Logo explores the lives of six New York City women who assume the category of “aggressive” through masculine roles, behavior, and dress. Each woman defines their gender roles in unique and profound ways through footage that includes intimate interviews and clips from talk shows and drag balls.

The Body of a Poet (Women Make Movies, 1995)
Director: Sonali Fernando.

An imaginary biopic, The Body of a Poet centers on the efforts of a group of young lesbians of color to devise a fitting tribute to one of this century’s great visionaries. Its genre-bending celebration of the life and work of Audre Lorde, black lesbian poet and political activist, daringly meshes diverse media conventions and techniques as it explores Lorde’s trajectory from birth to death.

The Hunting Season (GLBO, 1989)
Director: Rita Moreira.

Brazil’s gay and lesbian population are being slaughtered in a ghastly series of hate crimes. Intercutting scenes from Hollywood movies (The Deer Hunter and Cruising), director Moreira stops people on the streets of Sao Paolo for a quick health check on the state of the nation. “They should be killed,” is the most common reply.

The Salt Mines (Frameline, 1990)
Director: Susana Akin.

The Salt Mines explores the lives of Sara, Gigi and Giovanna, three Latino transwomen who for years have lived on the streets of Manhattan supporting their drug addictions through prostitution. They made their temporary home inside broken garbage trucks that the Sanitation Department keeps next to the salt deposits used in the winter to melt the snow. The three friends share the place known as “The Salt Mines” with a varied community of homeless people.

Tongues Untied (California Newsreel, 1989)
Director: Marlon T. Riggs.

Marlon Riggs’s Tongues Untied rises above the ‘deeply personal’ — far above it — in exploring what it means to be black and gay. Angry, funny, erotic and poetic by turns ( and sometimes all at once), it jumps from interview to confession, music video to documentary to poem.

Transgression (A10 Films, 2011)
Directors: TJ Barber, Toni Marzal, Morgan Hargrave and Daniel Rotman.

Transgression focuses on transgender immigrants to the United States and their experiences in the American immigration detention system.

Two Spirits (Riding the Tiger Productions, 2011)
Director: Lydia Nibley.

“Two Spirits” interweaves the tragic story of a mother’s loss of her son with a revealing look at a time when the world wasn’t simply divided into male and female and many Native American cultures held places of honor for people of integrated genders.

U People (U People LLC, 2009)
Director: Hanifah Walidah.

What do you get when over the course of 2 days in an unassuming brownstone in Brooklyn with 30 women across sexualities and transfolk of color? History.

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