The art of LGBTQ documentary filmmaking has a long and vibrant history that has been instrumental in our understanding of pop culture today. RuPaul’s Drag Race might not exist without Jennie Livingston’s 1990 film ‘Paris is Burning’ shining a light on the queer ballroom scene. ‘How to Survive a Plague’ honoured the activists who fought tirelessly for people living with HIV/AIDS in the 1980s.
If you can’t take to the streets for London Pride (and with those crowds, understandable tbh), staying in to celebrate the queer community on film is an excellent alternative. Here’s a collection of the best LGBTQ documentaries made by VICE, available to stream now.
Alternatively, tune in to VICE on TV (Sky 183 // Virgin 219 // BT 338 // TalkTalk 338) for a full weekend of LGBTQ programming to see the highlights.
‘Paris is Burning’ took voguing and queer ballroom into the mainstream in the early nineties, but what does the scene look like today? In this ten part documentary series, we follow the lives of four fabulous voguers and one incredible commentator as they prepare to compete, face personal challenges and strive to take their lives to the next level. Stream the box set free on All 4.
The Complete Elimination of HIV
A drug called Truvada is the first FDA-approved means of preventing HIV infection. If an HIV-negative person takes the pill every day, he or she is nearly 99 percent protected from contracting the virus. Controversy continues to surround the broad uptake of Truvada, but the landscape of safer sex and HIV prevention changes fundamentally from this point forward—particularly within the gay male community, the population hit hardest by HIV in America. In this episode of VICE Reports, VICE explores the future of the Truvada and its revolutionary impact on ending HIV/AIDS.
America’s Last Lesbian Bars
San Francisco, New York, Washington DC, and New Orleans are four of the biggest gay party meccas in America, yet the cities' lesbian bars keep shutting down. Why are lesbian bars dying while gay male clubs continue to thrive? Is it because of rising rent prices, the stereotype of lesbians moving in after the first date, the rise of the trans rights movement, or something more complex? Le Tigre’s JD Samson travels across America to find the answer in this Broadly by VICE special.
Inside China's Thriving Drag Queen Culture
Growing up in a small, rural city in northeast China, Neil was obsessed with dressing himself in bed sheets and playing with dolls. It wasn’t until he got older that he embraced his sexuality, taking his hobby for designing glamorous, handmade outfits from his home out onto the streets of China. Now he's linked up with the country’s thriving drag scene, finding solidarity among a group of queens embracing their creativity by designing and performing in lavish outfits. VICE met up with Neil and his friend Kris as they geared up for a major drag competition in Shanghai, following along before they hit the stage for a wild night out with dozens of other queens.
Girls Just Wanna Have Girls: A Weekend At The Biggest Lesbian Party in the World
Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs is the iconic lesbian "Spring Break" that serves as a right of passage for queer women everywhere. With so many lesbian bars closing, what’s keeping this event going? And why are there so many people wearing bikini tops and board shorts?
Joined by her friend Ian Daniel, Ellen Page meets with LGBTQ communities around the world to understand their marginalisation, and see how they fight back with kindness and solidarity. Watch the full series free on All 4 here.
The Gay Professional Skateboarder
The skateboarding community worships Brian Anderson as a god, but for many years he kept his sexuality a secret from nearly everyone in his life. VICE sat down with Brian and some of his closest friends to talk about being gay in the professional skateboarding industry, and why he chose now to come out.
America’s Transgender Asylum Seekers
When you're transgender and latin-x, life as a double minority often means living with a target on your back. For many facing extreme violence and discrimination in their home countries, migration to the United States represents a chance to redeem their identity and live life free from persecution. But upon arriving in the US, instead, trans migrants often find a dangerous life plagued by the threat of detention and continued discrimination. VICE goes to Arizona and Los Angeles to meet one of the most vulnerable populations in America, and the trans women already living in the US working hard to create a sanctuary for them.