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LGBTQ Culture and Media Starter Pack

An LGBTQ Culture and Media Starter Pack

Therapy in Barcelona’s office is in the heart of Esquerra Eixample in Barcelona, which is also famous for being Gaixample, the gay hub in Barcelona. We also have a team of LGBTQ affirming therapists, who offer assistance to LGBTQ identifying individuals or couples, or Rainbow families! If you need support, get in touch with us here

What could be more appropriate than a repost of an amazing resource from Reddit User u/HonestMission? Enjoy!

Hi! I’ve recently noticed that there has been several posts from gaybros who seem to feel really disconnected from and disengaged with the LGBTQ community. That’s understandable, especially when these uncertain times mean that most people aren’t in a good frame of mind or at their best.

Seeing that we’re all socially distancing, and perhaps still under some form of lockdown, I thought that it would be a good idea to post a (warning: LONG) reading/watching/listening list, given that some of us have plenty of spare time on our hands. I hope that you enjoy discovering something new!

I love many items, and care a lot less for others, but I’ve tried to approach this objectively. Some music suggestions, btw, aren’t by LGBTQ artists, but all of them have appealed varyingly to our community. I’ve also omitted the really obvious stuff, such as Brokeback Mountain, Madonna and Will & Grace etc.

Books

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin (1956) – intelligent and thoughtful novel from a black gay writer, whose seminal work is currently more important than ever

Quatrefoil: A Modern Novel by James Barr/James Fugaté (1950) – ground-breaking romance novel about two men who ultimately reach of point of self-confidence and acceptance

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (2006) – lesbian-themed graphic memoir

Senses series by Andrew Grey (2012-2016) – frothy and sentimental yet endearing and engaging romance novels about disabled gay men

Outskirts: Living Life On The Edge by John Grindrod (2017) – part history of the green belt and part memoir of growing up in the British countryside as a gay youngster

Maurice by EM Forster (1971) – posthumously published novel, from the author of Howard’s End, which was originally written between 1913 and 1914

The Swimming Pool Library (1988), The Spell (1998) and The Line Of Beauty (2004) by Alan Hollingworth – accomplished and boundary-pushing novelist who explores British gay socio-culture

Tigers & Devils series by Sean Kennedy (2009-2019) – idealistic yet thoroughly likeable romance novels about a charmingly misanthropic movie festival director and a kind yet closeted Australian footballer

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (1926) – accidentally queer novel that concerns toxic masculinity; this Literary Hub article provides an excellent introduction to the unintentional queerness of Hemingway’s work

Trans: A Memoir by Juliet Jacques (2015) – a British memoir about gender transition, with some thoughtful reflections on trans politics

Insignificant Others by Stephen McCauley (2010) – fun and smart “slice of life” novel about a 50-something gay man

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (2019) – playful teen romcom about a bisexual First Son who develops feelings for an English prince

The Last Romeo by Justin Myers (2018) – 30-something Bridget Jones-esque comedy of errors romance about a gay British web journalist who starts a dating blog

The Charioteer by Mary Renault (1953) – cerebral, moving and ultimately positive historical novel, set in a military hospital during World War II, which has prominent themes of repression and self-discovery

A Natural by Ross Raisin (2017) – subtle British novel about a closeted and introverted soccer player

Coming Out To Play by Robbie Rogers with Eric Marcus (2014) – if you love soccer and prefer non-fiction, however, then you might like this memoir from the first openly gay MLS player

Naked by David Sedaris (1997) – a collection of 40-something autobiographical essays from a gay humourist

Real Life by Brandon Taylor (2020) – gay-themed campus novel where a black doctoral student comes of age in a midwestern town

Out Of The Woods by Luke Turner (2019) – frank, intimate and sexually explicit British memoir that deals with bisexuality, religion, sexual abuse, outdoor sex, internalised homophobia and binary labels

Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu (2013-2020) – hilarious webcomic about an adorkable gay figure skater, who loves baking and joins his college’s ice hockey team-cum-fraternity

Upside Down by NR Walker (2019) – Australian comedy romance involving two homoromantic asexuals

The Less Than Epic Adventures Of TJ & Amal by EK Weaver (2009-2014) – webcomic where a gay slacker comes out and goes on a road trip

Movies & TV

Banana Fish (2018) – anime TV series, based on a magna from the ’80s, with a gay male co-protagonist

Beautiful Thing (1996) – idealistic yet 100% charming and pandemic-friendly coming out teen romance, which oozes summery cinematography in one of London’s brutalist council estates; Jonathan Harvey later wrote the BBC sitcoms Gimme Gimme Gimme (1999-2001) and Beautiful People (2008-2009)

BPM (2017) – charismatic and moving French drama about HIV-AIDS activism in the early ’90s

Bob & Rose (2001) – acclaimed yet short-lived British comedy-drama series, from the creator of Queer As Folk, about an openly gay male school teacher who starts a relationship with a woman

Boy Meets Girl (2015-2016) – realistic enough yet very slight BBC sitcom about a 26-year-old man who falls in love with a 40-year-old trans woman

The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy (2000) – likeable, peppy, relatable, upbeat and generally unproblematic “slice of life” movie, about a gay friendship group, from the director of the problematic and overrated Love, Simon; co-stars John Mahoney, Dean Cain and a young Zach Braff

Dead Poets Society (1989) and School Ties (1992) – deeply homoerotic prep school movies

Edge Of Seventeen (1998) – arguably the most realistic coming out movie ever made, although the emphasis is firmly on the “coming of age” side of things

End Of The Century (2019) – 30-something Argentine holiday romance, which is heavily inspired by Before Sunrise and set in Barcelona

Happy Endings (2011-2013) – underrated 20-something American sitcom, with a loveable co-protagonist that’s undoubtedly a bear/cub

Gaycation (2016-2017) – global travel documentary series, co-presented by Ellen Page, which has an LGBTQ slant

Grandma’s House (2010-2012) – naturalistic BBC sitcom about a gay son and his Jewish family

Jeffrey (1995) – subversive AIDS-themed romantic comedy which, despite an outstanding supporting performance from Patrick Stewart that really should have garnered an Oscar nomination, is flawed and an acquired taste

Latter Days (2003) and The Falls (2012) – ultra low-budget romantic dramas about gay Mormons, but ultimately more pandemic-friendly than the conversion therapy drama Boy Erased (2018)

Longtime Companion (1989) and The Normal Heart (2014) – emotional and touching dramas about the HIV-AIDS crisis in NYC; Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons’ performances in the latter merit special praise

Love Is Strange (2014) – 60-something romantic drama about discrimination and family, starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina

Love, Valour, Compassion (1997) – melodramatic comedy-drama about a 40-something gay friendship group, although this one is a bitchier and snarkier watch than The Broken Hearts Club; features a star turn from Jason Alexander as a dying HIV-AIDS patient

Maurice (1987) – excellent period drama adaptation of EM Forster’s novel; co-stars a young Hugh Grant

A Moment In The Reeds (2017) – romantic drama where a Finnish man bonds with a Syrian asylum seeker at a lakehouse

My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) – pioneering British comedy-drama that critiques racism and Thatcherism, among other things, with a prominent gay subplot; co-stars a young Daniel Day-Lewis

My Own Private Idaho (1991) – surreal road trip drama, partially based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V, about street hustlers; directed by Gus Van Sant, and starring Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix

Mysterious Skin (2004) – dark, difficult and uncompromising independent drama about the effect of historic sexual abuse on a gay teenage hustler; stars a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt

1985 (2018) – excellent monochrome drama about a closeted and dying man with HIV-AIDS, who is trying to come out to his conservative and suburban family at Christmas

Ocean Waves (1993) – underrated and accidentally queer TV movie from Studio Ghibli; if you don’t mind spoilers, then this YouTube video comprehensively explains why Ocean Waves is accidentally queer

Open To Question: Justin Fashanu (1992) – Justin Fashanu, the first openly gay professional soccer player and first black player to command a £1m transfer fee, is interviewed on a Q&A programme for young people; it has been archived online by the BBC as an important historical document

Outland (2012) and Please Like Me (2013-2016) – two Australian comedy series; the former is about five members of an LGBTQ sci-fi club and the latter is about a newly out millennial slacker (which co-stars Pippa from Home & Away!)

Pain & Glory (2019) – Pedro Almodóvar’s most recent and arguably most accomplished movie

Paris Is Burning (1990) – important long-form BIPOC/BAME documentary about NYC ballroom culture

Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert (1994) – inspired road trip comedy about three Australian drag queens

Queer Britain (2017) – excellent BBC youth documentary series about LGBTQ issues in Britain, with episodes dedicated to religion, body image, homelessness, racism, porn, and queer identity

Self-Portrait in 23 Rounds: A Chapter In David Wojnarowicz’s Life, 1989-1991 (2018) and Keith Haring: Street Art Boy (2020) – long-form documentaries about two iconic gay artists, who died from HIV

Shelter (2007) – cute yet slight low-budget drama about gay self-discovery in the American suburbs

Sum Of Us (1994) – thoroughly affable Australian comedy-drama about a gay son and his accepting father; co-stars a young and pre-fame Russell Crowe

Tales Of The City series (1993, 1998, 2001, 2019) – TV adaptation of seminal gay novel and its sequels

A Taste of Honey (1961) – monochrome kitchen sink dramedy, with a gay male supporting character, which is set in Manchester

Tofu (2015) – short-form web documentary series, from the creator of Queer As Folk, which explores modern attitudes towards sex, with a heavy emphasis on the LGBTQ side of it

Trick (1999) – please take this idealistic overnight romance with a pinch of salt – even if it realistically tackles internalised homophobia in a way that Love, Simon never managed to do – but this superb dramedy is still one of the best and most pandemic-friendly gay movies

The Outs (2012-2013, 2016) – largely realistic and utterly charming web drama about gay adulting in NYC, with a peerless soundtrack; I low-key stan the loveable Jack and Scruffy

Verbotene Liebe (2007-2013) – surprisingly good supercouple plot from a German soap opera, involving a bisexual amateur boxer turned horse trainer, Christian, and his boyfriend/husband, Oliver

The Way He Looks (2014) – cute Brazilian teen romance about blindness and self-discovery

The Wedding Banquet (1993) – Oscar-nominated romantic comedy from China, directed by Ang Lee

Weekend (2011) – minimalist and naturalistic weekend romance, set in the outskirts of Nottingham

Wild Reeds (1994) – Cannes-nominated sexual awakening teen drama, set in early ’60s France

Music

Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos (1992) – a very strong introduction to eccentric yet loveable piano-led college pop-rock

Northern Star by Melanie C (1999) – British equivalent of Madonna’s seminal Ray Of Light (1998)

Blue Bell Knoll (1988) and Heaven Or Las Vegas (1990) by Cocteau Twins – pioneering ambient dream-pop, which are perhaps the ideal albums for jerk-off sessions and physical intimacy

Doppelgänger by Curve (1992) – a gothic, melodramatic and moody fusion of shoegaze and industrial electronica; fans of Garbage will LOVE this album

No Angel by Dido (1999) – another album that’s ideal for masturbation and sex

Disgraceful by Dubstar (1995) – slightly out of time, albeit still excellent, synth-pop from the mid ’90s

Chorus by Erasure (1991) – analogue-based synth-pop; will interest those into video game soundtracks, given that it practically sounds like music from Amiga titles at various points

Amplified Heart by Everything But The Girl (1994) – eloquent fusion of acoustic folk-pop and electronica; Tracey Thorn’s Record (2018) further consolidated her appeal to the LGBTQ community

Sue (1989) and Ray (1991) by Frazier Chorus – arty and gentle woodwind-based synth-pop that also has the bitchiest and most subversive lyrics imaginable

Chemistry by Girls Aloud (2005) and Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen (2015) – bubblegum pop artists that throw curveballs by unexpectedly moving into indie-baiting dance-pop territory

Black Cherry by Goldfrapp (2003), State Of Mind by Holly Valance (2003), Come & Get It by Rachel Stevens (2005) and Trip The Light Fantastic by Sophie Ellis-Bextor (2007) – highly regarded electropop albums from the mid-2000s

Françoise Hardy Sings In English by Françoise Hardy (1966), Infamous Angel by Iris DeMent (1992), Whatever by Aimee Mann (1993) and Out Of Range by Ani DiFranco (1994) – refined and superior singer-songwriter material

Paradise AKA Big Fun by Inner City (1989), Adeva by Adeva (1989), And Still I Rise by Alison Limerick (1992) and Everybody’s Free by Rozalla (1992) – underrated diva house albums from the late ’80s and early ’90s

Bonito Generation by Kero Kero Bonito (2016) – day-glo dance-pop that’s heavily influenced by The B-52s, J-pop, video game soundtracks, dancehall culture and mid-’90s Eurodance

The Death Of Cool by Kitchens Of Distinction (1992), Copper Blue by Sugar (1992), The Sound Of McAlmont & Butler by McAlmont & Butler (1995), D-D-Don’t Stop The Beat by Junior Senior (2002), The Smell Of Our Own by The Hidden Cameras (2003), i by The Magnetic Fields (2004) and Silent Alarm by Bloc Party (2005) – indie bands that are fronted/co-fronted by openly gay men

Thinking It Over by Liberty X (2002) – surprisingly good R&B-led pop from talent show runner-ups

Crooked Mile by Microdisney (1987) – includes Rack, one of the most articulate songs ever written about AIDS; the same applies to It Couldn’t Happen Here from Actually by Pet Shop Boys (1987)

Light Years by Kylie Minogue (2000) – perhaps the most cohesive introduction to the Australian queen

Loveless by My Bloody Valentine (1991) – Mysterious Skin undoubtedly proves that shoegaze has LGBTQ appeal, although this is challenging stuff and not for the faint-hearted

Passive Soul by Orlando (1997) – fragile and wallflowery pop that puts a heavy slant on the eclectic

Behaviour by Pet Shop Boys (1990), Echoes by Will Young (2011) and Choreography by Bright Light Bright Light (2016) – gay introspection from 30-something Brits

Very by Pet Shop Boys (1993) and The Tension & The Spark by Darren Hayes (2004) – 30-something coming out albums

Different Class by Pulp (1995) and Coming Up by Suede (1996) – camp and glamorous yet laddy and seedy Britpop, which is largely preoccupied with drugs and sex

A Secret Wish by Propaganda (1985) – gothic and literate synth-pop from Düsseldorf

Body Talk by Robyn (2010) – boundary-pushing dance-pop from the Swedish queen

Original Soundtrack by S-Express (1989) – one of the first UK house music albums to have originated from LGBTQ nightclubs

Foxbase Alpha (1991), So Tough (1993) and Tales From Turnpike House (2005) by Saint Etienne – summery indie-dance cultural love letters to London; Pedro Almodóvar is a big fan of them

Hormonally Yours by Shakespeares Sister (1992) – gothic, melodramatic, sassy and vampy glam pop-rock

We Are Shampoo by Shampoo (1994) and On The Loose by Deuce (1995) – unashamedly trashy bubblegum pop; the latter band was created by former Pet Shop Boys manager Tom Watkins

Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret by Soft Cell (1981) and Youthquake by Dead Or Alive (1985) – camp and melodramatic synth-pop from northern England

Illinois (2005) and Carrie & Lowell (2015) by Sufjan Stevens – if you’ve seen the movie Call Me By Your Name (2017), then you’ll know who this guy is

La Varieté by Weekend (1982), Life by The Cardigans (1995), The Sound Of Music by Pizzicato Five (1995) and Good Humor by Saint Etienne (1998) – fey, kitschy and peppy lounge indie-pop

Titanic Rising by Weyes Blood (2019), Saint Cloud by Waxahatchee (2020) and Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers (2020) – minimalist indie for hipsters

YouTubers

Sam Cushing – likeably grounded and motivated guy who plays the piano and loves his workouts

Riyadh Khalaf – the Iranian-Irish vlogger presenter of Queer Britain

Husband & Husband – nerdy married couple who write comic books and fantasy novels

LanceTheDriver – adorable mature student who loves cars and constantly strives to do good

Eric Mason – endearing and insightful lyrical breakdowns of songs by pop divas

Jacob Michael – cerebral and eloquent musings on the state of modern gay life

PK Creedon – good natured sporty couple who authentically fuse their femininity and masculinity

PJ & Thomas – lovely suburban couple who work in real estate and have adopted a trio of toddlers

Michael Rizzi and Dominick Whelton – sweet city boys who love their fashion and pop culture

Noah Roth and Christian Cook – wholesome college-aged couple who love painting and the outdoors

Stepsof2Foreigners – articulate and refined American-Brazilian couple who are into their travel

 
 

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