Happy Bisexual Awareness Week! In this time of love and acceptance we want to highlight some LGBTQ+ narrative films that focus on more than just a singular queer identity. To kick off this celebration of queerness, here is a list of 9 intersectional queer films that aren’t just another Love, Simon.

Written by: Reb Czukoski – September 16th 2021 10:11 pm pst

The Half Of It

Intersexual Queer Films to watch

Credit: Netflix

The Half Of It is an American coming of age film that follows an intelligent introvert, Ellie Chu, who in need of money, has a small business writing papers for her classmates. She gets a request out of her wheelhouse by a jock who wants to sound more intelligent in a love letter he sends to his crush. Throughout the film, Ellie and the jock become fast friends, and she realizes that after writing these love letters, she also has feelings for the same girl.

This film is a tremendous light-hearted portrayal of sexuality struggles with an Asian-American lead and generally happy ending and acceptance for Ellie’s identity. It received the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film festival and is currently streaming on Netflix for you to watch.

Pariah

Credit: Hulu

Pariah is an American drama that shows the life of a black teenager, Alike, as she comes into her sexuality as a lesbian in a house with unsupportive parents. Forced to fit into the feminine beauty standard by her mother, Alike’s best friend Laura is her biggest support system as Alike works towards becoming more comfortable in herself while dealing with queer struggles.

This film is excellent because it was written and directed by a queer person of color and portrays a queer person of color. It received an award at Sundance Film Festival upon its premiere for Excellence in Cinematography, making it a worthwhile watch that can be found on Hulu or Amazon Prime. 

Rafiki

Credit: Hulu

Rafiki is a Kenyan drama about a budding romance between two women, Kena and Ziki, who have to deal with the pressures of societal backlash from the political nature and familial issues. After being caught together by Ziki’s mom, the women must flee to avoid the impending problems that will arise because of the legalities of homosexuality in Kenya.

Being the first-ever Kenyan film screened at the Cannes Film Festival, and received a standing ovation. As of now, it is banned in the director’s home country of Kenya due to controversial themes, but it is a beautiful feature that streams on Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Tangerine

Credit: Amazon Prime

Tangerine is an American dramedy centering around the life of a transgender sex worker, Sin-Dee Rella, who was just released from prison. She finds out from her other trans sex worker friend that her pimp boyfriend, Chester, has been cheating on her. Upon the news, she plans to find Chester and the woman he had been cheating on her with. 

Uniquely shot on three different iPhone 5s smartphones, this movie is one of few with more positive transgender representation by transgender individuals. It can be seen on Magnolia Pictures’ streaming website or Amazon Prime.

XXY

Credit: Amazon Prime

XXY is an Argentinian drama about an intersex person, Alex, that has recently stopped taking medication to suppress her male characteristics. She has to deal with coming into her own gender identity while having it questioned by those around her who don’t understand her non-conformity to society’s gendered standards.

Nominated for a plethora of awards and winning the Critics’ Week grand prize in 2007 at the Cannes film festival, this is a story not often represented in the media and unfamiliar to most viewers. It is definitely worth a watch on YouTube or Amazon Prime.

Moonlight

Credit: Amazon Prime

Moonlight is an American coming-of-age drama that goes through three time periods of Chiron, the main character, as he grows up. Pressing themes are about sexuality, economic struggles, and abuse. The audience gets to watch and empathize with Chiron as we’re taken through the display of his life and rooting for his happiness.

While being a more well-known flick and the first with an all-black cast and LGBTQ+ main character to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, we recommend that anyone who hasn’t seen the film watch it now on Amazon Prime. 

The Handmaiden

Credit: Amazon Prime

The Handmaiden is a South Korean psychological thriller depicting the relationship between a Japanese woman who is being conned by a man who wants to steal her inheritance and put her in an insane asylum and the handmaiden hired to serve her while secretly helping the con man. 

This period piece is more than just the caucasian age-gap lesbian drama we see all too often. With three main parts of the film and an unforeseen twist, the erotic thriller is available on Magnolia Pictures’ streaming platform or Amazon Prime.

What Keeps You Alive

Credit: Netflix

What Keeps You Alive is a Canadian psychological horror about two married women celebrating their first anniversary on a secluded lake near the mountains. Wife, Jules, learns about the sociological behavior of her partner Jackie and must fight for her life as Jackie shows her true colors.

Horror films are genres that account for the least amount of LGBTQ+ characters, and those with canonical queer characters are often villainized. Since this movie follows a queer protagonist and an antagonist, it doesn’t contribute to the negative representation of queer characters in the film as some others might. You can watch this chilling and enticing movie on Netflix.

Drunktown’s Finest

Credit: Amazon Prime

Drunktown’s Finest is an American drama directed by a transgender Navajo filmmaker about three young Native Americans who hope to escape their hard lives dealing with their identities on an Indian reservation. The characters followed are an adopted Christian girl, a father-to-be, and a trans woman with a goal to be a model. 

Films with Native American characters are already sparse, so that paired with representation of a trans woman makes this a hidden gem. Although nowhere watchable for free, you can rent it on Amazon Prime, YouTube, or Apple TV.

None of these films represent the familiar tropes of queer characters depicted on screen, which makes them all valuable to watch. Whether you’re looking to expand your range of representative LGBTQ+ films or just here for Bisexual Awareness Week, we hope some of these films give more perspective on intersectional identities within the queer community and are as entertaining as we found them!

About The Author:

Reb Czukoski is an intern with AfterBuzz TV and a senior at Emerson College studying visual media arts with a focus in animation and minoring in peace and social justice. They are currently pursuing a career in animation and graphic design, with an interest in movies, music, and social media.

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