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Pride Month summer reading, watching, listening

ASU faculty give their media recommendations on stories that honor the LGBTQ+ community


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June 09, 2023

This Pride Month, professors in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University provide their recommendations for books, movies, podcasts and more that include stories and characters that have helped catalyze change in the LGBTQ+ community.

RELATED: Faculty at The College discuss LGBTQ+ barriers, opportunities in education

Books

"Gender Queer: A Memoir"

The award-winning book by Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, documents eir journey of self-identity, the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, how to come out to family and society, and other parts of Kobabe’s journey.

“Gender Queer: A Memoir” is “more than a personal story: It is a useful and touching guide on gender identity — what it means and how to think about it — for advocates, friends and humans everywhere,” according to the book’s abstract.

"Into the Light"

The New York Times bestselling LatinxA gender-neutral version of Latino/a. queer author Mark Oshiro wrote “Into the Light,” a young adult fiction and thriller book that Publishers Weekly described as a “breathtaking indictment of corrupted religion’s consequences” that “presents a standout, deeply felt portrait of a teenager’s longing for connection.”

"The Mother of a Movement: Jeanne Manford — Ally, Activist, and Founder of PFLAG"

This true story written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Sam Kalda shares the story of Jeanne Manford, the founder of Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

“When her son Morty was beaten by New York City officials for handing out pro-gay leaflets, Manford wrote a powerful letter to the New York Post to complain about how Morty was treated. In the letter, she came out as the mother of a gay son,” reads the book’s abstract.

Podcasts

"One Year: 1977 podcast" — Episode 1

Episode one of One Year: 1977 — titled "Anita Bryant’s War on Gay Rights," hosted by Slate’s national editor Josh Levin, tells a story about a local fight over gay rights in Miami, Florida. “And at the center of it all was a pop singer and orange juice spokesperson named Anita Bryant,” reads the episode description.

This story launches the history podcast’s first season, covering a year when “gay rights hung in the balance.”

"TransLash Podcast"

TransLash Podcast, hosted by award-winning journalist Imara Jones, tells stories of transgender lives. In this biweekly series launched in 2020, Jones has discussions with members and allies of the trans community.

Together they discuss “how to create a fairer world for all,” according to the podcast description.

Movies

"Little Richard: I Am Everything"

How to watch: AppleTV, Vudu, YouTube

The documentary explores the life of rock n’ roll “King and Queen” Richard Penniman, famously known as Little Richard.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the movie “tells the story of the Black queer origins of rock n’ roll, exploding the whitewashed canon of American pop music to reveal the innovator the originator Richard Penniman. Through a wealth of archive and performance that brings us into Richard’s complicated inner world, the film unspools the icon’s life story with all its switchbacks and contradictions.”

"Two Spirits: Sexuality, Gender, and the Murder of Fred Martinez"

How to watch: AppleTV, Vudu, YouTube

This documentary tells the tragic story of Fred Martinez. He was "a nádleehí," a male-bodied person with a feminine nature, a special gift according to his ancient Navajo culture.

“He was one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history when he was brutally murdered at 16. 'Two Spirits' explores the life and death of this boy who was also a girl, and the essentially spiritual nature of gender,” according to PBS.

TV

"Abbott Elementary"

How to watch: ABC

“Abbott Elementary” is a mockumentary that follows a group of elementary school teachers in an underfunded school. One of the characters in the ABC sitcom, history teacher Jacob (played by Chris Perfetti), is an openly queer character.

According to PinkNews, fans have praised the show’s “casual and refreshing” reveal of the character’s sexuality and avoiding big, stereotypical plot lines.

"A League of Their Own"

How to watch: Amazon Prime

The television version of the 1993 baseball film is based on the real-life story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during World War II. The new series, created by Will Graham and Abbi Jacobson, focuses on the voices of queer characters that the film did not.

The Guardian said, “The women’s baseball drama smashes it out of the park when it comes to representation.”

"Heartstopper"

How to watch: Netflix

A coming-of-age romantic comedy series adapted from the book of the same name, “Heartstopper” tells the story of Charlie Spring, a boy who falls in love with classmate Nick Nelson. 

Alice Oseman, the book’s author, told Vox, “I want ‘Heartstopper’ to inspire young people especially LGBTQ+ young people  to be whoever they want to be, and to believe that they can find happiness and find love and find friendship because it is a joyful story. … Everyone can get something out of it.”

"Severance"

How to watch: AppleTV+

This workplace drama stars Adam Scott, John Turturro and Christopher Walken. 

“In the series, Mark (Scott) leads a team of office workers whose memories have been surgically divided between their work and personal lives. When a mysterious colleague appears outside of work, it begins a journey to discover the truth about their jobs,” according to the show’s summary.

A subplot includes Burt (Walken) and Irving (Turturro) finding their way to each other despite the rules of interoffice romances.

Video series

Southern Arizona Gender Alliance video library

The Southern Arizona Gender Alliance is a nonprofit organization that supports, advocates and promotes justice for Southern Arizona’s transgender, nonbinary and gender-creative people. Their collection of videos shares several stories of real-life experiences, insights and journeys.

The StoryBank Project — GLSEN Arizona

This digital depository tells stories from people directly involved with the chapter’s work — educators, students, organizers and volunteers. Their story bank documents the chapter’s history, expands visibility and celebrates the strength of their community members.

Music

"UP" by David Archuleta

David Archuleta’s latest single, released June 2, captures his journey coming out and learning to love himself. 

“I hit rock bottom. I thought I wouldn’t get through it, but here I am. … You need to hold on to that glimmer of hope and say, I am going to turn any type of hate and negativity into positivity and love,” he shared in a recent Instagram post about the song.

"You and Me on the Rock" by Brandi Carlile ft. Catherine Carlile

The 2021 song by country artist Brandi Carlile is about her wife, Catherine, who is also a featured artist.

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