Queer films to watch on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall

With the 2015 film 'Stonewall' proving to be problematic in its depiction of the uprising, here are some films that capture the true spirit behind that momentous event.

Scene from a 50th anniversary of Stonewall documentary featuring people marching holding a 'gay liberation front' sign

With Pride fever sweeping the country, and today being the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rising, here are a selection of queer movies to watch in commemoration of the birth of the modern day LGBT+ movement.

Stonewall Uprising

With the big screen Hollywood version of Stonewall being nothing short of a travesty, (attributing as it does the beginnings of the uprising to handsome gay white boy) here’s an essential documentary which tells the story behind the momentous occurrence. Consisting of archive footage from the riots, dramatic re-enactments, eyewitness testimony and animation, it’s an essential piece of historical filmmaking.

The Death And Life Of Marsha P Johnson + Pay It No Mind: Marsha P Johnson

No mention of Stonewall can be made without including Marsha P Johnson. An absolutely central figure, Marsha was an advocate for queer rights and these films show the real person behind the legend. Pay It No Mind features interviews with Johnson who speaks to an undying commitment to marching for rights “for all gay people”.

The Death And Life is a more tragic tale, wherein the filmmakers re-examine Marsha’s 1992 death. While it was originally ruled Marsha had died by suicide, many in the community believe she was murdered.

Sylvia Rivera: A Tribute

No discussion of that eventful night is complete without Sylvia Rivera. The queer liberation and transgender rights activist, along with Johnson, will be honoured by New York City with a statue to represent influential women in history.

This short documentary, shown in its completion in the link above, was created by Sylvia’s friends using footage collected over the years.

Before Stonewall + After Stonewall

A perfect companion piece with each other, these essential films look at the situation for the LGBT+ community in the years both before and after. The former depicts the oppression our community was subjected to, leading to the moment when we refused to take any more. And for those who believed things improved rapidly following that explosion of revolutionary fury, the latter film shows how the fight was far from over.

Stonewall Forever: The Past, Present And Future Of Pride

Created by New York’s LGBT+ Community Centre in time for the 50th anniversary, this short documentary brings together voices from over 50 years of the LGBT+ rights movement to explore queer activism before, during and after the Stonewall Riots.

So whatever you watch tonight or however you plan to spend Pride, take a moment to remember the people and the events that started the movement which got us to where we are today.

Happy Pride.

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