7 Biopics of LGBT Women: LGBT History Month

LGBT History Month, TV and Film
  1. The Danish Girl (2016)

The_Danish_Girl_(film)_posterBased on the life of: Lili Elbe

Directed by: Tom Hooper

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw, Sebastian Koch and Amber Heard

One of the most hotly anticipated films of 2016, Eddie Redmayne plays Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery.

This fictionalised account of Elbe’s life and transition somewhat differs from the true story (notably the reaction of Elbe’s wife, Gerda Wegener) and has faced criticism for casting a cisgender man in the role – but nevertheless has been well received by critics and nominated for several awards.


  1. I Shot Andy Warhol (1996)

ShotandywarholBased on the life of: Valerie Solanas

Directed by: Mary Harron

Starring: Lili Taylor, Jared Harris, Stephen Dorff and Martha Plimpton

A biopic of the radical feminist Valerie Solanas who became infamous for shooting Andy Warhol in 1968, this film tracks Solanas’ troubled life as she navigates 1960s New York as a down on her luck lesbian writer.

Lili Taylor won the Award for Best Actress at the both the Seattle and Stockholm Film Festivals, as well as achieving Special Recognition for her performance at the Sundance Film Festival.

  1. Frida (2002)

FridaposterBased on the life of: Frida Kahlo

Directed by: Julie Taymor

Starring: Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Valeria Golino, Mia Maestro, Roger Rees and Geoffrey Rush

This film depicts the professional and private life of the surrealist Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Though the main romantic focus of the movie is on Kahlo’s relationship with fellow artist Diego Rivera, the film does not shy away from her bisexuality and also addresses themes of gender identity.

The American Film Institute was included Frida in their Movies of the Year 2001 and Salma Hayek was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal.

  1. The Hours (2002)

The_Hours_posterBased on the life of: Virginia Woolf

Directed by: Stephen Daldry

Starring: Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, and Ed Harris.

This complex plot focuses on three women of different generations whose lives are interconnected by the novel Mrs Dalloway byVirginia Woolf. Themes of bisexuality run throughout each plotline, though the film does not mention Woolf’s documented relationship with Vita Sackville-West.

Nicole Kidman won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of the famous writer.

  1. Bessie (2015)

BessiePromotionalPosterBased on the life of: Bessie Smith

Directed by: Dee Rees

Starring: Queen Latifa, Mo’nique, Michael Kenneth Williams and Khandi Alexander

Queen Latifa portrays Bessie Smith, legendary blues performer, who rose to fame during the 1920s and ’30s. The film follows Smith from a sad abandoned childhood in Tennessee, to becoming known as ‘Empress of the Blues’.

Both Smith and Ma Rainey are depicted as having same-sex relationships throughout the film.

  1. The Christine Jorgensen Story (1970)

Christine_Jorgenson_Story_PosterBased on the life of: Christine Jorgensen

Directed by: Irving Rapper

Starring: John Hansen, Joan Tompkins and Quinn K. Redeker

This film was never going to win any awards for its acting – or even its accuracy, but as one of the first films to cover this topic it is a milestone.

Though her name is not as well known today, Jorgensen became a minor celebrity in the 1950s as one of the first widely known cases of sex reassignment surgery in the United States.

  1. Henry & June (1990)

Based on the life of: Anaïs Nin

Directed by: Philip Kaufman

Starring: Fred Ward, Maria de Medeiros and Uma Thurman

Based on the lives of renowned writers Anais Nin and Henry Miller and the complicated relationship Nin has with Miller and his wife, June.


Image credits:

The Danish Girl (film) poster” by Source.

Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Shotandywarhol” by Source.

Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Fridaposter” by Source.

Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

The Hours poster” by Source (WP:NFCC#4).

Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Christine Jorgenson Story Poster“.

Via Wikipedia

BessiePromotionalPoster” by Source (WP:NFCC#4).

Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Henry&June” by Source.

Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

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