Celebrate Pride Month With These Classic Sights & Sounds


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Monday, June 26, 2023
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As we approach the end of Pride Month, we want to once again express our deepest gratitude for all the LGBTQ+ members of our community. From students and staff to faculty and the community that surrounds Rio Salado College, each of you helps make us a more inclusive, vibrant, and vital space.

Pride may be ending on July 1st but that doesn’t mean you have to stop immersing yourself in the wonderful culture and history of the LGBTQ+ community! Cultural awareness is a year-long pursuit. There’s more than enough queer books, cinema, and other media to last you a lifetime. Before Pride Month folds up its rainbow flag for another year, here are some recommendations for LGBTQ+ films and literature to watch. If you want to see some of our recommendations from last year, check out this blog.

Pride Month Library Guide

The library staff at Rio Salado College put together an informative guide that includes information about the history of Pride Month, fun facts about LGBTQIA+ history, a primer on pronouns, and a selection of featured eBooks from the library. The Pride 2023 library guide also includes links to free documentaries and short videos about Pride Month and the accomplishments of the LGBTQIA + community.

Check out the library guide

LGBTQ+ Books Worth Checking Out

Interested in learning more about LGBTQ+ history? Here are a few titles (both fiction and non-fiction) to give you deeper insight and context into queer culture and history.

  • Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf. Lesbian desire and community has always been a part of Woolf’s work, but never were those themes as explicitly rendered as in this classic novel about a gender-switching immortal.

  • The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination by Sarah Schulman. An incisive exploration of the AIDS crisis, Schulman’s book shows how the activism and sacrifices of the queer community helped bring about lasting change in our culture, and also shares how our culture has started to forget about this important moment in history.

  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. Baldwin's controversial 1956 novel about an American expatriate dealing with his feelings about his relationship with another man remains a bold and insightful look at bisexuality, loneliness, sexual identity crisis, and masculinity.

  • The Cockettes: Acid Drag & Sexual Anarchy, 1969-1972 by Fayette Hauser. A history book about the life and times of The Cockettes performance art troupe, the scope expands to include a broad overview of 20th Century counterculture. Hauser's book shows the influence drag culture had on movements like the hippies, punk, disco, and even metal.

  • Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters. A critically lauded bestseller, this novel about womanhood, relationships, trans identity, and gender offers us wit, insight, and a profoundly moving look at subjects that were once deemed taboo.


Notable LGBTQ+ Films To Watch

There is a rich vein of queer themes, culture, and aesthetics that run through the history of film (going back as far as the silent era!). If you’re looking to watch some films that boldly and directly address queer characters and stories, check out a few of these movies:

  • All That Heaven Allows (1955): A classic melodrama by legendary director Douglas Sirk starring Rock Hudson in a career-defining role. While not overtly gay in its subject matter, its story of an older woman getting rejected by family and community for falling in love with a younger man has strong queer undertones and its bold imagery has served as an inspiration for countless camp classics.

  • Scorpio Rising (1964): One of the most influential short films in cinematic history, this story of gay bikers, violence, and muscle cars is celebrated by its bold use of popular music and haunting imagery (Martin Scorsese often cites it as a key influence on how he uses music in his films).

  • My Own Private Idaho (1991): A moving story about friendship and surviving in a world of drugs and hustling, this early Gus Van Sant features great performances by Keanu Reeves and the late River Phoenix.

  • Watermelon Woman (1996): A classic of African-American cinema, this movie by Cheryl Dunye is also an evocative portrayal of lesbian relationships and the community that supports them.

  • Better Than Chocolate (1999): A romantic comedy about two lesbians finding each other in a colorful neighborhood where their queer friends battle gentrifiers and homophobes. An earnest film that acts as a time capsule when queer culture was starting to become more mainstream but also shows how deep and hostile the backlash was to it as well.

  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001): A rollicking rock and roll musical about a trans woman coming to America and finding herself through art, failure, and heartbreak.

  • Tangerine (2015): Shot entirely on iPhones, this gritty yet heartwarming film follows a pair of transgender women trying to survive on the streets of Hollywood. Empathetic and honest about their struggles, it remains one of the most humane and heartfelt depictions of the tribulations trans people face in this country.

  • Knife + Heart (2019): This acclaimed French film puts a queer spin on the giallo genre of horror movies following a film director as she tries to solve the murders surrounding her latest production.

Show Your Pride

Save the date! The Phoenix Pride Festival will be happening this Fall. Beat the heat and show your pride in downtown Phoenix from October 21-22. More details can be found on the Pride Festival site.


Article by Austin Brietta


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