Gypsies, trans and documentaries…
Phew, gurl. 2016 has been a year, hasn’t it? In my opinion, 2017 can’t come fast enough. I don’t know what we did to make 2016 mad, but she came right out of the gate swinging … taking the lives of all manner of gay icons! There are only a few more weeks left in 2016, and I am still legitimately afraid for Cher (you in danger, gurl!). Who am I kidding? We all know from following her on Twitter that she is immortal. But I digress. Even in light of all the madness, inspiring and informative stories continue to come out of the woodwork to help try and make sense of this world. Documentaries that help break down barriers not just between LGBT people and the rest of the world, but also within the community itself. Here’s our list of 2016’s must-see LGBT documentaries.
Also, be sure to check out the rest of our Best of 2016 content!
“Suited” follows its subjects—clients seeking a personalized experience—into Bindle & Keep, a bespoke tailoring company based in Brooklyn that looks beyond the gender binary, creating custom-made suits for gender-nonconforming and transgender clients. The film takes a modern, evolved look at gender through the conduit of clothing and explains the private and emotional experience surrounding it. It documents a cultural shift that is creating a new demand—and response—for each person’s right to go out into the world with confidence.
Why You Should Watch: While on the surface this slick film may seem like a fashion piece, delve a little deeper and you will find it is actually a compassionate look into the workings of this “business of people” and its remarkable clientele.
“Oriented” is a feature documentary that follows the lives of three gay Palestinian friends confronting their national and sexual identities in Tel Aviv. Determined to “change their reality,” the three form a group called “Qambuta,” a nonviolent cultural resistance movement fighting for gender and national equality. Through their activism, they address what it means to grow up with the burden of a multifaceted identity.
Why You Should Watch: This film gives insight into a whole new world. It provides a fantastic opportunity to introduce yourself to a new Palestinian generation, and change your mind as to what it means to be a gay Palestinian or Arab.
After stumbling upon a bizarre “competitive endurance tickling” video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and tickled, reporter David Farrier reaches out to request a story from the company. But the reply he receives is shocking—the sender mocks Farrier’s sexual orientation and threatens extreme legal action should he dig any deeper. So, like any good journalist confronted by a bully, he does just the opposite and uncovers a vast empire known for harassing and harming the lives of those who protest their involvement in these films. The more he investigates, the stranger it gets, discovering secret identities and criminal activity.
Why You Should Watch: Competitive. Endurance. Tickling. Need I say more?
Acclaimed director and photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders shines a light on transgender Americans, several of whom share their insights on trans rights, the fight for equality, and their personal struggles and accomplishments. Featuring such outspoken subjects as Kylar Broadus, Nicole Maines, Shane Ortega, Caitlyn Jenner, and Laverne Cox.
Why You Should Watch: Informative, empowering and uplifting, “The Trans List” gives fantastic insight into the lives of 11 trans people with varying backgrounds through heartfelt and eye-opening interviews.
As a champion of recent legislative and social LGBT reforms, Mariela Castro travels the country with a message of diversity, including stories of love and hardship from a number of gay, lesbian and transgender Cubans.
Why You Should Watch: It’s fascinating to think what family get-togethers would be like given the awkward juxtaposition of Mariela and her uncle, former president Fidel Castro.
Did we leave something off the list? Comment below or take to social media with #XfinityLGBT to tell us your favorites.
On X1: Navigate to “Popular Destinations” > LGBTQ Film & TV
On Native: Go to “On Demand” > LGBTQ Film & TV