The 12 Best LGBT Documentaries Of 2015

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Larry Kramer in Love and Anger

From the onset of the AIDS epidemic, author Larry Kramer emerged as a fiery activist, an Old Testament-style prophet full of righteous fury who denounced both the willful inaction of the government and the refusal of the gay community to curb potentially risky behaviors. Co-founder of both the service organization Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the direct action protest group ACT UP, Kramer was vilified by some who saw his criticism to be an expression of self-hatred, while lionized by others who credit him with waking up the gay community – and, eventually, the government and medical establishment- to the devastation of the disease.

Tig

An unflinching documentary look at comedian Tig Notaro, who underwent a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, but has continued to tour rigorously while inspiring a new generation of survivors.

Best Of Enemies

In the summer of 1968, television news changed forever. Dead last in the ratings, ABC hired two towering public intellectuals to debate each other during the Democratic and Republican national conventions. William F. Buckley, Jr. was a leading light of the new conservative movement. A Democrat and cousin to Jackie Onassis, Gore Vidal was a leftist novelist and polemicist. Armed with deep-seated distrust and enmity, Vidal and Buckley believed each other’s political ideologies were dangerous for America. Like rounds in a heavyweight battle, they pummeled out policy and personal insult-cementing their opposing political positions. Their explosive exchanges devolved into vitriolic name-calling. It was unlike anything TV had ever broadcast, and all the more shocking because it was live and unscripted. Viewers were riveted. ABC News’ ratings skyrocketed. And a new era in public discourse was born – a highbrow blood sport that marked the dawn of pundit television as we know it today. (C) Magnolia

The Queen Of Ireland

PANDORA ‘PANTI’ BLISS is many things: part glamorous aunt, part Jessica Rabbit, she’s a wittily incisive performer with charisma to burn who is regarded as one of the best drag queens in the world.

Created by Rory O’Neill, Panti is also an accidental activist and in her own words ‘a court jester, whose role is to say the un- sayable’. Over the last few years Rory has become a figurehead for LGBT rights in Ireland and since the recent scandal around Pantigate, his fight for equality and against homophobia has become recognised across the world.

THE QUEEN OF IRELAND is a documentary film that follows Rory’s journey from the small Mayo town of Ballinrobe to striding the world stage. The film takes us behind the scenes with his alter ego Panti in the year she became the symbol of Ireland’s march towards marriage equality.

Tab Hunter Confidential

In the 1950s, Tab Hunter is America’s Boy Next Door. Nothing, it seems, can damage his skyrocketing career. Nothing, that is, except for the fact that Tab Hunter is secretly gay. Now, Tab Hunter’s secret is out. In this documentary we will meet, for the first time, the real Tab Hunter as he shares with us the whole story of a happy, healthy survivor of Hollywood’s roller coaster.

Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story

Seed Money is the story of Chuck Holmes, a San Francisco pornographer turned philanthropist. Holmes helped shaped and create gay identity in the years after Stonewall, and became a founder of gay advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the LGBT Victory Fund, only to find later in life that while his money was welcome in philanthropic circles, he wasn’t.

The Glamour & The Squalor

The Glamour & The Squalor is the story of Marco Collins, one of America’s last great rock radio DJs and a musical tastemaker that changed our culture. Before the Internet made sourcing new music and rising bands a simple matter of keystrokes and RSS feeds, there was the radio DJ. No one epitomized this role like Marco Collins. He was the on and off switch for an artist’s potential career and was the gatekeeper credited for helping break the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Beck, Weezer and countless others. Marco’s story is inspiring but universal. He turned his passion for music into a significant lifetime of work and battled some seriously determined demons along the way. And he’s still standing.

Do I Sound Gay?

After a break-up with his boyfriend, journalist David Thorpe embarks on a hilarious and touching journey of self-discovery, confronting his anxiety about “sounding gay.” Enlisting acting coaches, linguists, friends, family, total strangers, and celebrities, he quickly learns that many people – both gay and straight – often wish for a different voice. In Thorpe’s feature-length documentary debut DO I SOUND GAY?, what starts as a personal journey becomes a chance to unpack layers of cultural baggage concerning sexuality, identity, and self-esteem.

The Royal Road

A cinematic essay set against a contemplative backdrop of 16mm urban California landscapes, The Royal Road offers up intimate reflections on nostalgia, the pursuit of unavailable women, butch identity and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo alongside a primer on Junipero Serra’s Spanish colonization of California and the Mexican American War. Featuring a voiceover cameo by Tony Kushner.

Mala Mala

A documentary that tells the story of nine non-binary individuals living in Puerto Rico.

A Sinner in Mecca

Here, we enter the city of Mecca that has been forbidden to non-Muslims for 14 centuries. For gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma, filming in Saudi Arabia presents two serious challenges — filming is forbidden in the country and homosexuality is punishable by death. He ends up documenting his journey on nothing more than an iPhone and two smuggled, tiny cameras. On these never-before-filmed streets of ancient Mecca, he joins 4 million Muslims, from the majority, peace-loving pilgrims fulfilling a lifelong calling, to brutal jihadists for whom violence is a creed. They have all entered Mecca for the world’s largest pilgrimage: the Hajj. Sharma yearns to find his own place within an Islam he has always known, an Islam that bears no resemblance to the bastardized versions creating havoc around the Muslim world.

Dressed As A Girl

Filmed over six years and following six celebrated performers as they swim against the tide, the film follows the literal highs and graphic lows of this popular tribe, revealing the personal struggles of each heroine.

Read more about the film on the official Dressed as a Girl website, or watch the trailer below.