Thursday 4th February 2021
At Teenage Cancer Trust, we know how important it is for young people to be able to be their most authentic selves, especially when they’re facing something tough.
We first shared these resources as part of LGBTQ+ History Month in 2021, and now we’re giving them a permanent place on our site. It’s always time to be seen and heard, and to educate ourselves on being an active ally to support LGBTQ+ people.
This selection is just a starting point, and we hope it inspires you to keep exploring and learning.
We also have a section on anti-racism resources. It’s important to know that both these sections will have cross-over. There will be experiences of people who are both LGBTQ+ and people of colour that are important to acknowledge and champion. This concept is called ‘intersectionality’ and you can find out more about it in Kimberlé Crenshaw’s TED talk.
Some of these resources or accounts might not be suitable for everyone, especially those who have lived experience of LGBTQ+ discrimination, and those under the age of 18. Always check the age and content guidance and look to see what subjects they contain.
Some of the resources we share may contain strong language, offensive language, discriminatory treatment and language, nudity, scenes of a sexual nature, themes of death and dying, and/or violence. We don’t hold any responsibility for the content on other sites or accounts.
TV, films and documentaries
Online streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer and All 4 have a range of thought-provoking programmes to add to your list which deal with issues of LGBTQ+ rights, gender identity, gender expression, gay liberation, the progress we’ve made and the progress we still need to make.
Check out this list to learn more about the history of the LGBTQ+ community.
This iconic Netflix drama series shines a light on the New York City ballroom scene in the 1980s. It shows the diverse experiences of the LGBTQ+ youth at that time (in particular trans people of colour), the chosen families they built within this community, the challenges and discrimination they faced, as well as their triumphs and joy.
It’s A Sin
Channel 4’s drama series It’s A Sin shows the lives of five LGBTQ+ friends in a house share in 1980s London, just as the threat of HIV and AIDs was becoming clearer. We learn a lot about the reality of the virus back then, the real people it affected, the lives it ended far too soon, and the huge progress we’ve made in treating the disease since then.
The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson
Discover the amazing story and achievements of Marsha P Johnson, the gay and trans-rights activist who fought for equality in New York City at the Stonewall uprising, as well as many other protests and events before her untimely and unsolved death in 1992.
This Netflix documentary features famous trans and non-binary actors, directors, writers and producers, telling the story of how trans and non-binary people have been portrayed in the media in the past, the progress that’s been made, and the work that’s still to be done to make sure all gender identities are better represented.
The BBC produced this series of shows and radio programmes in 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 in the UK, which partially decriminalised gay sex.
Moonlight is a drama based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. It looks at the stages of life of the main character, a young black boy, exploring the difficulties he faces with his sexuality and identity.
Rafiki is Swahili for ‘friend’ and is a Kenyan drama about a romance that grows between two young women, Kena and Ziki, amidst family and political pressures around LGBTQ+ rights in Kenya.
There are loads of books to choose from when it comes to learning more about the history of the LGBTQ+ community. Your local bookshop might have a dedicated section. But to start with, you can check these out.
The Stonewall Reader
Read first-hand accounts from the LGBTQ+ people who were involved in the Stonewall riots in 1969, widely considered to be the most significant event in the gay liberation movement, and the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the years leading up to it.
Good As You, by Paul Flynn
A look back at the last 30 years in Britain, from gay liberation to gay marriage. This book also explores the cultural importance of music, nightlife and TV shows in the progress that’s been made for the community.
We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation, by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown
A photographic journey throughout LGBTQ+ activism and liberation. This book is made by the creators of popular Instagram account @lgbt_history.
The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, by Helena Whitbread
The personal testimonies of Anne Lister, also known as Gentleman Jack and the ‘first modern lesbian’.
How to Survive a Plague: The story of how activists and scientists tamed AIDS, by David France
This book tells the story of how grassroots organisations harnessed scientific research to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS and to ultimately save lives, when there was widespread indifference from wider society and governments at the time.
Accounts to follow
Instagram and other social media can be a great place to learn more about the history of the LGBTQ+ community. Here’s a selection. There might be accounts based on the history of your local area, too, which can be a great way to learn more about the history of LGBTQ+ rights around you.
- @lgbt_history documents the real people behind LGBTQ+ history and champions their often unheard stories.
- @lesbianherstoryarchives is an Instagram version of the real-life collection of items, letters and literature held in New York, in memory of the voices the community has lost.
- @queerbible was set up by London-based model and presenter Jack Guinness and acts as a database of people who have changed the LGBTQ+ community through activism, art and performance.