‘Rights are won only by those who make their voices heard.’ – Harvey Milk.
One of the strange things about the numinous idea of ‘human rights’ is that you can’t recognise one until you see that it has been violated. LGBT rights are, by definition, then, about protection from violence rather than prosecution, following that, they’re about acceptance, love, and the ubiquity of both.
Here at Peccadillo we’re very pleased to have released three documentaries about some of the great LGBT rights battles of our time. And, seeing as it’s LGBT History Month here in the UK, we thought we’d write a small piece about our three testaments to those battles:
- BEFORE STONEWALL (1984)
Last year this film celebrated its 30th anniversary, and its power remains unshaken. BEFORE STONEWALL exposes the fascinating and unforgettable decade-by-decade history of homosexuality in America, from 1920’s Harlem through to World War II and the witch hunt trials of the McCarthy era, before, of course, winding up at the Stonewall Inn one summer night… A truly brilliant, award-winning documentary that still packs a lot of punch.
- WE WERE HERE (2011)
Attitude magazine sort of summed this one up better than I could, writing that the film was ‘devastatingly, astonishingly powerful. This is a film that needs to be seen today more than ever.’ Exploring how San Francisco dealt with the AIDS epidemic, WE WERE HERE is an edifying must-see that received accolades at film festivals the world over. It’s a film Harvey Milk (quoted above), would be proud of – speaking to our capacity as individuals to rise to the occasion, and to the incredible power of a community coming together with love, compassion and determination.
- VITO: The Life of Gay Rights Activist VITO RUSSO
One of the ultimate gay activists, a man who changed the face of queer film theory forever, Vito Russo found his voice as a critic of LGBT representation in the media. This is a documentary as much about his life as an academic and cinephile as it is about his activism, but, if he’s unknown to you, you really must take the time to acquaint yourself with Vito – you won’t forget him.
So – if you’re feeling proud of who you are this month, whatever your sexual orientation – take a look at some of these documentaries about the brave pioneers who paved the way for so many of the freedoms we take for granted today!
- Pride and Protest
- REINVENTING MARVIN – The Origins
- Being DISCREET with director Travis Mathews
- MARIO a revealing look at homosexuality in The Beautiful Game.
- Tamara Shogaolu talks about HALF A LIFE from Boys on Film 18: Heroes
- All about “Buddy”, in Boys on Film 18: Heroes.
- The Wound – When Controversy Prompts Conversation
- It’s All About Frankie from BEACH RATS
- BEACH RATS – The Origin
- The Boys are Back for Christmas