Tag Archives: gay

8 of the best films to celebrate LGBT History Month

LGBT History Month is a very important time for our LGBT advocates, friends, heroes and brothers and sisters. In the UK it is celebrated in February to commemorate the abolition of the controversial Section 28 back in 2003, while in the US and Canada LGBT History Month takes place in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day on 11th October.

LGBT History Month

There are have been a number of great films and documentaries over the years which highlight the journey and fights that groups of or individual LGBT people in different corners of the globe have faced over the decades. We’ve rounded up our favourite LGBT history films for you here:

Before Stonewall (and After Stonewall)

There have been countless films and documentaries about the Stonewall riots, including the poorly received 2015 film, which the less said about the better. There was also a semi-fictionalised comedy-drama version in 1995 based on the riots. However, Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community, is an award-winning documentary released back in 1984 that is definitely a must-watch for those interested in the history of one of the most famous moments in LGBT history. After Stonewall, kind of like a sequel focusing on the 30 years of LGBT activism since the riots, was released in 1999.

Paris Is Burning

Filmed in the 80s, Paris Is Burning is a documentary about the “ball culture” of New York City and pays particular attention to the African-American, Latino and transgender communities living there during the time. It is still considered one of the best LGBT history films and documentaries of all time, so much so that in 2016 it was selected for “preservation” in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant”.


One of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/Aids, homosexuality and homophobia, Philadelphia stars Tom Hanks – who won the Oscar for Best Actor for his leading role – addresses issues of closeting one’s sexuality and hiding their HIV status. The film was a work a fiction but the events were based on the similar lives of Geoffrey Bowers and Clarence B. Cain.

Boys Don’t Cry

Based on the real-life story of trans man Brandon Teena, Boys Don’t Cry was one of the first Hollywood films to focus on transpeople and trans issues. Hilary Swank rightfully won the Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Brandon in what was a hauntingly frank but brilliant film.


Many films and documentaries have revolved around LGBT activist and politician Harvey Milk, but it wasn’t until 2008 that Milk’s life was given more of a global platform and recognition through this biopic. Nominated for 8 Oscars, winning 2, including one for lead actor Sean Penn, Milk was strategically released to tie in with Proposition 8 on gay marriage in 2008.


Starring an ensemble cast of great actors, Pride is probably the one and only or at least most notable British film that focuses on the plight of LGBT people in the UK. This historical drama highlights the events leading up to the UK’s first Pride event and the first time the British LGBT community really made a move for their voices to be heard in the country, making it a beautiful yet poignant LGBT history film. It is now reportedly being adapted into a stage musical.

The Imitation Game

Loosely based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma, The Imitation Game looks at the life of one of the UK’s most prolific LGBT heroes, Alan Turing. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, the film – although apparently not fully faithful to Turing’s life – is noted for bringing his legacy to a wider audience and was a great commercial success.

The Danish Girl

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne took on what was probably his toughest (and most controversial) role of his career so far as Lili Elbe, one of the world’s first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery. An emotional film that tries to portray the lives of trans people of that time period and helps us appreciate the progress of both trans rights and surgery has come so far.

What is your favourite LGBT history film from this list or are there any you think we’ve missed off? Let us know in the comments section below and on social media! And you can also find out more about LGBT History Month in the UK here.

Our 15 favourite adverts that have embraced the LGBT community

It appears that as the LGBT community in many countries across the world become more and more accepted by and integrated with the rest of society, the media and a lot of companies want to talk more about them and include them in their campaigns. Whether or not these companies are simply cashing in on the “Pink Pound/Dollar” or wanting to create buzz or even controversy for publicity is debatable, but many of them have proven themselves to be supporters of LGBT people and pro-diversity when it comes to their employees and their target audiences. Below are some of our favourite adverts from recent times that feature LGBT people:

15) Lush

Already a favourite company for many LGBT people to shop with, Lush showed they love their customers just as much with their gay and lesbian ads as part of their Valentine’s Day campaign.

Lush gay ad

14) Icelandair

Iceland were one of the first European countries to legalise same-sex marriage so it is natural that their national airline were one of the first to feature a gay couple in an ad.

13) Sainsbury’s

The odd chain store in the UK of this supermarket giant have come under fire over the years for some of their staff’s attitudes and actions towards same-sex couples but the company itself has shown they have nothing against us, which they reiterated with this much talked about Christmas ad that aimed to show how a diverse and modern Britain celebrates the biggest holiday of the year. That was the second Xmas ad in a row to include a gay couple.

12) Luvs Diapers

If there’s one kind of ad that gets people gushing over the most it has to be with babies in them. Luvs Diapers, owned by giant company Procter & Gamble released this adorable ad earlier this year. Procter & Gamble’s other offspring brands have also featured same-sex couples, families and even trans people (in India).

11) Volvo

Homophobic and sexist bigot Jeremy Clarkson and his former similar Top Gear presenters would surely hate that the once-manly hobby and love of cars (back in their earliest days, anyway) are now being advertised to a wider, diverse audience than just straight men. Many car adverts now star women but more and more are beginning to include gay people too. Volvo are one company that featured a gay couple earlier this year in this cute ad. Ford in Australia and Nissan in Israel have also begun to target a larger audience with LGBT people in their ads too.

10) Thomas Cook

As we at Gay Homestays know so well, the LGBT travel market is one of the largest growing niches in the world so it is only natural that many of travel companies want to embrace us. Their Christmas ad last year was short but sweet as it included at least two same-sex couples to reflect a “modern population”.

9) Kellogg’s

Kellogg’s, one of the world’s largest cereal companies, released 8 new ads at the beginning of this year. One of them was of a real-life gay couple being interviewed about how they like their perfect bowl of cereal to be. Kellogg’s have also been named one of the best companies for LGBT employees to work.

8) Magnum

Magnum are usually known for the very sexually suggestive videos of hot women enjoying their ice cream and sometimes the odd hot man too. But in their “Pleasure Is Diverse” campaign from earlier this year they went full-out pro-LGBT and same-sex marriage, which featured a lesbian couple’s wedding as the setting.

7) The Bank of Australia and New Zealand

Although same-sex marriage is still not allowed in Australia, that does not stop a number of companies there proudly and unashamedly showing their support for it there. Thankfully it is legal in New Zealand. The Bank of Australia and New Zealand’s heartwarming new ad encourages gay couples to keep holding hands in defiance of the ignorance they still face.

6) Nike

The world of sports has always been a tough one when it comes to supporting LGBT rights and tackling homophobia but Nike and other companies like Adidas have stood with us even if some of the sports they sponsor are not so open or friendly towards LGBT people or players. Although Nike’s latest ad in celebration of Pride Month doesn’t focus on any particular sport per se, it does acknowledge “vogueing” as a sport and features one of New York City’s most prolific “vogue” dancers to make for a very mesmerising and different advert. You can watch here.

5) Lenovo

Earlier in August, computer company Lenovo released their inspiring and also rather logical advert which *appeared* to be “getting rid of the backspace key as it shows people putting various stickers over it and crossing it out on their keyboard. Their tagline “Progress spelled backwards is ssergorp. Just one of many reasons going backwards makes no sense” also makes perfect sense.

Lenovo gay ad

4) Diesel

Fashion is practically a part of the LGBT community and vice versa so it surely doesn’t need to be elaborated on on why LGBT people should be included in more brand’s advertising. Unfortunately, many still don’t and many also still separate their clothes by gender. But Diesel’s most recent ad “Make Love Not Walls” made a step in the right direction with the inclusion of a gay couple. It was also a very clever political stance against a certain U.S. president.

3) Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola got a lot of people talking over their last ad and for all the right reasons – unlike their main competitor Pepsi’s last one. The cute and hilarious ad stars two siblings vying for the same sexy pool boy – only to be beaten to him by their own mother. We think it’d have been even better if it was their father though…

2) Uber

Unfortunately Uber have been consistently bombarded with complaints that many of their drivers have exhibited homophobic attitudes towards them. But the taxi giants insist they are gay-friendly. And in the Philippines they even released an ad based on a true story of a gay guy and his crush, which was extremely cute. Now we’re just waiting on similar ads here in the western world…

1) Absolut

Absolut Vodka have been pioneering the marketing strategy of supporting and appealing to the LGBT community – because alcohol brings everyone together right? For more than 30 years their ads have included LGBT people and targeted them as a key audience and 2017 was no different. This year’s campaign showed different same-sex couples from different countries to help remind us that it is still illegal to be gay or be married if you’re in a same-sex relationship in 72 countries around the world. With just one poignant ad they went all-out, politically and globally.

Absolut gay ad

Which ads from our list are your favourites? Or let us know if there are any we missed that you would have included in the comments section below!

City Spotlight: New York

The Big Apple. The City That Never Sleeps. The Empire City. The City of Skyscrapers; just some of the nicknames given to New York, one of the most well-known global holiday hotspots and is also very popular with LGBT travellers, constantly topping or being in lists of best gay travel destinations. And it’s not hard to see why.

New York offers something for everyone to do 24/7, 365 days a year – it’s rich with culture (art galleries and museums galore) and history (including LGBT history in the form of the famous Stonewall Inn, where the Stonewall Riots of 1969 began), has a vibrant nightlife, great shopping being one of the main fashion capitals of the world and some amazing sights to see, including the fountain where the Twin Towers used to stand, the Empire State building, Times Square, Central Park, the One World Trade Centre and of course, the Statue of Liberty to name just a few. It may be a buzzing metropolitan city, but New York’s parks and rivers also offer some quieter solace from the hubbub of the streets and breathing space from the countless high skyscrapers.

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

New York’s gay scene is thriving and is spread all across the its five boroughs – Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx and Staten Island, although its main areas are situated in Chelsea (lower Manhattan), East Side and East Village, Hell’s Kitchen in Queens and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, where are there a whole host of different kinds of bars, clubs, restaurants and other gay-run establishments that cater to or are aimed at different members of the diverse LGBT community.

via Twitter

via Twitter

New York City Pride is one of the world’s largest, attracting an estimated more than 1 million people. The Parade is a spectacular sight to behold as it snakes across the city southward down the famous Fifth Avenue and fittingly ends at Greenwich Village and Christopher Street, right by the Stonewall Inn – where the LGBT rights movement first began. Pride week usually takes places towards the end of June (17-25th this year). Confirmed acts that will be performing include Tegan and Sara, Years & Years, Roisin Murphy, Deborah Cox, Patti Labelle, LeAnn Rimes and Nelly Furtado. Other events that will take place include a Youth Pride, Family Movie Night, OutCinema, The Rally and the Village Voice Pride Awards.

via Facebook

via Facebook

Gay Homestays has more than 30 places to book in New York, from spare rooms in flats and houses or whole properties and B&Bs and guesthouses, with some being gay-owned or gay-friendly. While New York is certainly not short of hotels, including gay-run ones, the opportunity to stay with a local and see and experience the city firsthand through them should not be passed up.

Spotlight On: The Gay Agenda

Not many small time radio shows have achieved more than they dreamt possible from their humble beginnings and reached out beyond their country of origin but The Gay Agenda, on Fab Radio International, is currently Europe’s number one online radio show, with listeners in 46 countries across the globe. Since its launch in 2014, The Gay Agenda, which actually started out as a little challenge and a jest amongst a group of friends, has grown from strength to strength to get where it is today. Gay Homestays spoke to creator and host, Rylan Cavell about the show:


GH: Hi Rylan, can you tell us a bit more about the beginnings of The Gay Agenda?

RC: The Gay Agenda began life as a jest. I was discussing the launch of a new online radio station with the chaps putting it together. After a few pints they jokingly suggested that I should do a show and call it ‘the gay agenda’. Never one to back down from a challenge, I agreed. And so the show was born. I found a few friend who equally had a passion for equality and media, and launched as one of the original shows in November 2014 at the same time as Fab Radio International. The Gay Agenda is actually one of only a small number of original shows that is still on the station.

GH: And what kind of topics on the “agenda” of The Gay Agenda?

RC: Being in a privileged position has enabled me, via the show, to shine a light on issues faced by many in the queer community who are often marginalised and ignored by mainstream media. Ignored often even by mainstream LGBT media.

Recent topics have included Transgender discrimination, the destructive nature of ‘masculinity’, LGBT University Societies, Asylum Seekers, Sexual Health and much much more! The show is light-hearted, but covers important topics. We hope that we are an entertaining platform where sometimes inaccessible and hard-to-understand topics and issues are opened up for debate in an interesting and amusing way.

GH: How does it feel to know you’ve got listeners in so many countries worldwide?

RC: Being on a station that reaches 46 countries around the world, and that is the number 1 online radio station in Europe shows that Fab Radio is doing something right! The station’s tag line is ‘Embrace The Alternative’, and the figures demonstrate that the grass-roots nature of station and the shows is what people want! It is flattering and humbling to know that so many people are listening, and I hope what we do spreads a little more awareness and understanding of the LGBT people of the worlds.

GH: And finally, are there any celebrities you would love to feature on your show?

RC: I would love to be able to get Sir Ian McKellan and Sandi Toksvig on the show, to name just two.

Sandi Toksvig

The Gay Agenda will be taking its show on the road on Sunday 26th February when Ryan hosts a frank and open discussion on modern queer life at the renowned Frog & Bucket Comedy Club in Manchester. He will be joined by drag king comedian Lydia Bernsmeier-Rullow, trans activist, broadcaster and musician Ashleigh Talbot and campaigner Junior Maxwell. Also featuring are compere Laini Johnson and guest speakers Steph Pike and Sali Owen.

The show will start at 4.30pm and tickets are currently available on The Gay Agenda website.

In the meantime, you can tune into The Gay Agenda every Friday evening from 7-9pm and also catch Rylan hosting That’s Pride TV channel every Monday evening from 7.30pm.


Top 10 Campest Christmas Flicks

Now we know it’s not even December yet but we can all agree that we are within a reasonable distance to talk about it at least? Well, (Not to sound like a snooty neighbour) we here have already planned our Christmas Day viewing to avoid the inevitable 6 O’clock slump between turkey and twilight. So take a pick from some of these classics and put together your own boredom-banishing, camp Christmas movie marathon.

Ernest Saves Christmas (1998, 95 min):

Santa travels to Orlando to pick his successor before his magic runs out. When he arrives, he just happens to meet Ernest, a bumbling taxi driver who is filled with holiday joy. Ernest drops Santa off so he can meet with the next Santa, Joe Carruthers but forgets Santa’s magic bag in the trunk. This very silly comedy is a great way to just laugh that excessive Christmas Day dinner off.

A Very Murray Christmas (2015):

This one is on the list without us even seeing it just because well, Bill Murray & Miley. Premiering on the 4th December as a Netflix exclusive, this is going straight in our basket. Bill Murray worries no one will show up to his T.V. show due to a terrible snow-storm in New York City.

Scrooge & Marley (2012, 91 min.):

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is an all-too-familiar story that has had its fair share of Hollywood adaptations. With Scrooge & Marley, debut directors Richard Knight Jr. and Peter Neville attempt to modernize the well-worn holiday tale by putting a gay spin on it.

Make the Yuletide Gay (2009, 89 min.):

Gunn is totally at ease with his sexuality when it comes to everyday life. But going home to spend the holidays with his well-meaning Midwestern parents — who have no idea he’s gay — is a little different. Of course, his closeted charade seems to be working fine until his mom and dad try to set him up with an old flame (Hallee Hirsh) — and his current boyfriend (Adamo Ruggiero) shows up unannounced.

Holiday in Handcuffs (2007, 86 min.):

You all remember Slater from Saved by the Bell? Hunk. Despite it being a trashy Christmas flick it still makes the list. During Christmas dinner, the holiday comes to an abrupt end when aspiring painter Trudie’s (Melissa Joan Hart) parents begin to fight, her brother announces that he is gay, and her sister says that she has quit Law School and bought a Pilates studio with her parents’ tuition money.

C.R.A.Z.Y. (2006, 129 min.):

This one doesn’t scream Christmas, but the holidays play a special role in this story about a gay teen trying to come to terms with his sexuality in a family of macho brothers and a bullheaded dad. Instead of yuletide tunes, you’ll be regaled with a great soundtrack of sounds from the ’60s and ’70s, like Pink Floyd, David Bowie and even Miss Patsy Cline.

The Family Stone (2005, 106 min.):

A family gathers for their annual holiday celebration at the home of their liberal, New England parents. One of the guests is Meredith, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, which is almost gay enough, but those looking for the extra dose of homodays will enjoy the side story about gay son and his partner who announce to their family that they’re ready to adopt.

Miss Richfield: Fall on Your Knees Christmas Extravaganza (2005, 60 min):

Holiday comedy show from Minnesota’s Mistress of Mayhem! This camp production showcases a spectacle of variety, live on stage from her sold out show, and comes with music. Includes Miss Richfield’s candid interaction with audience members at a pre-show celebration.

Too Cool for Christmas (2004, 96 min.):

Sixteen-year-old Lindsay Dearborn (Brooke Nevin) is “too cool for Christmas,” and wants no part of the family celebration being planned by her two male homosexual parents (Adam Harrington and Barclay Hope) and her kid sister Alexa (Jodelle Ferland).

Too Cool for Christmas (2004, 96 min.):

Sixteen-year-old Lindsay Dearborn (Brooke Nevin) is “too cool for Christmas,” and wants no part of the family celebration being planned by her two male homosexual parents (Adam Harrington and Barclay Hope) and her kid sister Alexa (Jodelle Ferland).

A Tuna Christmas (1989):

The second in a series of comedic plays … set in the fictional town of Tuna, Texas, the “third-smallest” town in the state. … The plays are at once an affectionate comment on small-town, Southern life and attitudes but also a withering satire of same. The plays are notable in that two men play the entire cast of over twenty eccentric characters of both genders and various ages.