There are precious few movies about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people in which a character doesn’t die, kill somebody, commit a crime or remain closeted and self-loathing. Why is it so difficult for Hollywood to make a grand gay romance—or even a simple one? Be that as it may, in recent years the number and quality of LGBT films have increased, to the point where our lives are now a little more fully represented on screen. Along with this, an interesting phenomenon has emerged: pairs of movies with the same (or similar) story and setting, with one about lesbians and the other about gay men. Some of these films still involve people dying, committing crimes, etc., and very few reflect the daily lives and loves of ordinary gay people. But at least they have primary LGBT characters who often defy stereotypes, and the stories aren’t told through the eyes of straight people. In honor of LGBT Pride this month, here’s a sampling of such movie pairs:
In this British period drama with lavish sets and costumes, a same-sex affair develops between two individuals from different classes. Think Downton Abbey but with the gay relationship taking center stage.
For the guys: Maurice
For the gals: Affinity
Set in the world of cowboys/cowgirls, honky-tonks, and stunning Western scenery, a couple comes to terms with their homosexual attraction amid the repressive environment of the late 1950s–early 1960s.
For the guys: Brokeback Mountain
For the gals: Desert Hearts
French-language coming-of-age story about gender nonconformity, in which a child who identifies as transgender must face the harsh reaction of their peers and parents, ultimately finding acceptance and love.
For the guys: My Life in Pink
For the gals: Tomboy
Stylish neo-noir thriller about a studly ex-con with mafia ties and their gorgeous partner in crime and love, who commit a spectacular heist together.
For the guys: Burnt Money
For the gals: Bound
Documentary about a subculture within New York’s African-American LGBT community where individuals compete in jaw-dropping “drag balls” that challenge conventional ideas about gender.
For the guys: Paris Is Burning
For the gals: The Aggressives
For the guys: A Love to Hide
Heart-warming comedy about a young Chinese-American professional in New York whose gay relationship must be hidden while contending with parents’ traditional expectations.
For the guys: The Wedding Banquet
For the gals: Saving Face
In this Hebrew-language film, a strikingly good-looking pair (one a Yeshiva student) in Israel struggles to reconcile homosexual desires with their Orthodox Jewish faith.
For the guys: EyesWide Open
For the gals: The Secrets
Extraordinary documentary about a same-sex couple who’ve been together more than 30 years. Mixing personal photos and remembrances with archival footage, the film shows how their relationship endures over time as society’s attitudes toward homosexuality change around them.
For the guys: Chris & Don: A Love Story
For the gals: Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement