Bored of Netflix? Thought so. With the UK enduring a chilly winter, and in a coronavirus lockdown once again, we sensed a growing feeling that people had exhausted their lists of films to watch, TV series to binge and books to read. So, last month, we took on the challenge of creating a lockdown library with a difference – a collection of recommendations to mark
LGBT+ History Month, which is celebrated each February across the UK.

At BOOST&Co, we care about diversity, but we want to represent it in an authentic way. That’s why, as one of Stonewall’s Bisexual Role Models, I’ve committed to talking about LGBT+ issues in the workplace, to ensure that our community is visible and to help others to understand and celebrate who we are.

This year, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to introduce my colleagues to some of the culture I love – and, even better, they contributed a vast range of ideas for the lockdown library we built to celebrate LGBT+ culture (and to keep everyone sane).

We explored a different area each week, starting with film and TV, before moving on to theatre and books, then music and finally art. If you’re looking for something different to bust the boredom, or to provide some creative inspiration, then look no further than the gems we’ve put together here.

Week 1: film and TV

Russell T. Davies

Queer As Folk | trailer | Seminal depiction of gay men living and loving on Canal Street

It’s a Sin | on demand | Acclaimed portrayal of friends growing up in the shadow of Aids

Dr Who | montage | The scriptwriter’s reinvention of a children’s classic for the modern age

Years and Years | trailer | Epic family drama, with a star turn from Emma Thompson

Reality TV

RuPaul’s Drag Race | YouTube channel | The drag queen searches for the next superstar

Strictly Come Dancing | musicals | Last year’s series featured the first same-sex couple

The Graham Norton Show | funniest clips | Essential Friday night viewing, in its 13th year

Based on real life

Dallas Buyers Club | trailer | Matthew McConaughey as an Aids patient smuggling drugs

Milk | trailer | Sean Penn’s Oscar-winning turn as San Francisco gay politician Harvey Milk

Pride | trailer | Feelgood British film about LGBT+ activists’ support for the miners’ strike

Documentaries

Disclosure | trailer | Subtitled Trans Lives on Screen, this looks at negative portrayals

How to Survive a Plague | trailer | Activists fight preconceptions of Aids in 1980s New York

Fictional tales

Some Like It Hot | trailer | Because no one needs an excuse to watch a Marilyn Monroe film

The History Boys | trailer | Alan Bennett’s gay-themed play, starring James Corden

It Couldn’t Happen Here | trailer | Surreal caper starring the peerless Pet Shop Boys

Music

Bohemian Rhapsody | trailer | Oscar-winner Rami Malek as Queen singer Freddie Mercury

Rocketman | trailer | Taron Egerton stars in Dexter Fletcher’s glitzy biopic of Elton John

Musicals

The Sound of Music | trailer | Watch it in tribute to Christopher Plummer, who recently died

The Wizard of Oz | trailer | “Friend of Dorothy”, that rainbow… the ultimate gay musical?

The Prom | trailer | Meryl Streep helps to tackle homophobia in small-town Indiana

Week 2: theatre and books

Classic literature

Christopher Isherwood: Goodbye to Berlin | The classic that gave us Liza Minnelli in Cabaret

E.M. Forster: Maurice | Don’t miss the Merchant Ivory melodrama with a young Hugh Grant

Evelyn Waugh: Brideshead Revisited | Love, life, Catholicism – and teddy bears – at Oxford

Contemporary literature

Angela Carter: The Passion of New Eve | Dark satire about civil war in a dystopian US

Bret Easton Ellis: American Psycho | Peerless satire of Wall Street, but beware the gore

Sarah Waters: The Paying Guests | Tense, prize-winning crime novel set in 1920s London

Theatre

Noël Coward: Private Lives | Risqué comedy of manners, recently starring Kim Cattrall

Lillian Hellman: The Children’s Hour | Little-known 1930s gem, filmed with Audrey Hepburn

Tony Kushner: Angels in America | Towering drama exploring the Aids epidemic in New York

Joe Orton: Entertaining Mr Sloane | Black comedy about the sexual liaisons of a psychopath

Oscar Wilde: Lady Windermere’s Fan | Finding fun in infidelity, in Wilde’s inimitable style

Non-fiction

Harriet Dyer: The Queeriodic Table | Attractive bite-sized guide to queer history

Paul Flynn: Good as You | Culture-based look at being gay in the UK in the past 30 years

Merle Miller: On Being Different | Landmark 1970s coming-out essay, from the New Yorker

Memoirs

Stephen Fry: The Fry Chronicles | Particularly good on the polymath’s acting career

Kate Millett: Flying | The groundbreaking feminist’s prose at its searing, soaring best

Jeanette Winterson: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? | Astute observations

Musicals

42nd Street | Classic backstage musical show, filmed by Hollywood in 1933

Sweeney Todd | Murder most foul on Fleet Street, recently featuring Emma Thompson

The Producers | Nathan Lane stars as one of two theatrical schemers trying to get rich

And a Brucie bonus…

Savage Love | If you love a gossipy sex column, Dan Savage is your man

Week 3: music

Classical

Alban Berg: Lulu | Murder, shrieking lesbians, Jack the Ripper… this 1930s opera has it all

Benjamin Britten: Death in Venice | His final opera, based on Thomas Mann’s novel

Francis Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites | Gay composer’s opera about persecuted nuns

Rock

David Bowie: Low | Masterpiece written in 1970s Berlin while off his face on cocaine

Morrissey: Piccadilly Palare | Song exploring the language used by gay people as code

Queen: Greatest Hits | Classic compilation of flamboyant rock by Freddie Mercury and co

Suede: Dog Man Star | Exhilarating, life-affirming album: the high point of 1990s rock

Rufus Wainwright: Unfollow the Rules | New record is up there with the singer’s best

Alternative

Lo-ghost: Ghost in a Blood Machine | Distinctive, award-winning South African singers

Pet Shop Boys

Discography: the Complete Singles Collection | Peerless, from West End Girls to It’s a Sin 

Behaviour | Begins with Being Boring, ends with Jealousy… albums don’t get much better

A Man from the Future | Pop oratorio about the Bletchley Park code-breaker Alan Turing

Pop

George Michael: Listen without Prejudice Vol. I | The late, great singer’s second solo LP

Take That: Greatest Hits | The ultimate boyband – Back for Good and Pray are the proof

Wham!: Make It Big | Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go is the definition of perfect pop

Synthpop

Culture Club: Colour by Numbers | Boy George, with the timeless Karma Chameleon

Erasure: The Innocents | Get your hands in the air for the duo’s 1980s hit A Little Respect

Soft Cell: Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret | Forget every cover of Tainted Love you’ve ever heard

And a Brucie bonus…

National Trust: Prejudice and Pride | Clare Balding explores LGBT+ spaces in this podcast

Week 4: art

Through the ages

Michelangelo | It was denied for centuries, but the great sculptor was definitely gay

Caravaggio | Masterful painter, murderer, bisexual… the Italian artist had quite a life

John Singer Sargent | Controversial portrait painter, great mates with Oscar Wilde

Tamara de Lempicka | Scandalous Art Deco bisexual whom Madonna adores

20th century

Francis Bacon | Created visceral works featuring crucifixions and screaming popes

David Hockney | Still experimenting with new technology (and smoking) in his 80s

In the shadow of Aids

Keith Haring | Praised for both his street art and Aids activism, promoting safe sex

Félix González-Torres | Paying homage to a lost lover with two everyday clocks

David Wojnarowicz | Fearless artist who documented his partner’s death from Aids

Photography

Robert Mapplethorpe | Known for his celebrity portraits as well as gay BDSM shots

Contemporary

Zanele Muholi | Non-binary South African activist, currently the toast of the art world

Grayson Perry | The award-winning transvestite ceramicist wants to see your work

Gilbert & George | Gay East End couple who have been collaborating for 40 years

Fashion

Cristobal Balenciaga | The couturier was inspired by the great Spanish painters

Alexander McQueen | He died tragically young, but his bumster trousers live on 

Design

Enid Marx | If you’ve sat on the Tube, you’ve seen more of her legacy than you think

And that’s not all… LGBT+ History Month is online each year

LGBT+ History Month, which has the motto “claiming our past, celebrating our present, creating our future”, was founded by a history teacher in Missouri, in 1994. The UK version followed in 2005, two years after Tony Blair’s Labour government abolished Section 28, a controversial law that banned teachers from “promoting” homosexuality in schools.

Since then, LGBT+ individuals and groups have staged events throughout February. These are open to everyone, whether you identify as LGBT+ or just want to be informed and entertained (this year’s sessions, held online, ranged from a Q&A with the groundbreaking cultural theorist Judith Butler to a children’s storytelling session hosted by drag queens).

So, what are you waiting for? The LGBT+ community has produced some of our finest culture, and our lockdown library provides just a snapshot of what you can find online. With many cultural venues still closed, what better time to fire up the laptop and dive right in?

Share

Back to list

e:
t: