Biopics have always been a very popular film genre, but their popularity has exploded in recent years, with the current biopic boom leading to the creation of blockbuster films such as Me Tonya, Rocketman, Elvis, and the next Blond. Famous musicians, actors, athletes and celebrities of all shapes and sizes are immortalized through biopics, helping to solidify their legacy and contributions to their respective fields as important figures in history.
That being said, there will be still to be people who deserve their own biopics. The real lives of LGBTQ+ people and the meaningful strides they have made in art, music, politics, resistance, and equality must be showcased on the big screen; queer excellence needs a bigger spotlight in Hollywood, ASAP!
Considered by many to be one of, if not the greatest essayists and writers in American history, the legendary James Baldwin has made significant contributions to the world of literature, activism and social commentary, whose writing and life were dissected in the documentary I’m not your nigga, as well as the production of the novel If Beale Street could talk, which was later adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 2016.
But James was so much more than his writing; he lived an extraordinary life and fought against the injustices of systemic discrimination, and was an outspoken civil rights leader who spoke out about struggles for self-acceptance, homophobia and the gay experience long before the gay liberation movement. James hung out with people like Nina Simone, Marlon Brando, Huey P. Newton, Maya Angelouand Martin Luther King Jr.so a depiction of the writer’s influence on other 20th century legends via biopic is desperately needed.
Marsha P Johnson
Considered by many to be the ancestor of the gay liberation movement, Marsha “Don’t Care” Johnson has only begun to gain recognition for her pioneering activism in recent years, despite her prominent involvement in the Stonewall Riots which have since become a watershed moment in LGBTQ+ history.
There have been a few documentaries and films depicting the pioneer of gay liberation, such as Happy birthday, Marsha! and The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnsonbut a major film project that chronicles his upbringing, life, and eternal legacy is the only surefire way to capture his greatness and significance to the LGBTQ+ community.
A former US Army soldier who leaked nearly 750,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning is an incredibly brave whistleblower. She spoke out against war crimes and the killing of civilians committed by the US military.
She is a recipient of American Peace Prize and EFF Pioneers Award for her courage and has been a strong advocate for transgender rights since transitioning in 2013, and has also ventured into politics, writing, public speaking and even DJing.
Her name being literally synonymous with lesbian love, Sappho of Lesbos is best known for her lyric poetry, which was so renowned and beloved that she was known as “the tenth muse” and was considered one of the greatest poetesses of her time. She was an ancient Greek woman whose legacy and talent were nearly lost in the murky waters of history, with a single poem, “Ode to Aphrodite”, being her only surviving work.
Little is known of her actual life, but her transcendent poetry about shared love between women hailed her as a permanent and prominent figure in lesbian history and culture and a sort of patron saint of lesbians. Sappho needs a biopic, with the dreamlike aesthetic of ancient Greek island life and the costumes hopefully more than enough to make it a reality.
Harris Glen Milsteadbest known for his larger than life drag persona Divine, was a singer and character actor closely associated with the legendary filmmaker John Waters and became a permanent pop culture icon of film history due to their involvement and performances in numerous John Waters films, including Female trouble, hair spray, and of course, Pink flamingos.
Described as “the goddess of the rude”, Divine was a performer who helped push the boundaries of queer self-expression and was one of the very first drag queens to achieve worldwide fame. Her iconic image of bleached blonde hair and giant eye makeup even inspired the creation of Ursula the Sea Witch from by DisneyThe little Mermaid, so it’s time for cinema to give Divine the proper star who most deserves one of the most influential people to ever film.
Sylvia Rivera was an American activist who was an early leader and advocate of gay liberation, co-founding the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) alongside Marsha P. Johnson.
Sylvia has spent most of her life on the harsh streets of New York City and has never forgotten where she came from, culminating in a lifelong dedication to community causes and raising the voices of poor and deprived LGBTQ+ people. shelter for the rest of his life. His contributions and activism have been commemorated in murals and statues (often with Marsha by his side), but a biopic showing his immense activism needs its big screen debut.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Before Bob Dylan, Johnny CashWhere Elvis arrived on the rock’n’roll scene, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, known as the Godmother of Rock, was responsible for inspiring and influencing some of the biggest and most successful rockstars, though she is rarely recognized for it. She was a pioneer of the electric guitar, which is now a staple of rock music, and wasn’t shy about her gay dates which included Mary Knighthis longtime creative collaborator, lover and friend.
The rock music world owes much to Rosetta, who died without the fame or fortune that was instead attributed to her successors and was first buried in an unmarked grave. Rosetta didn’t receive her well-deserved recognition during her lifetime, so a biopic might be a good place to start acknowledging her undeniable contributions to modern music.
KEEP READING: Why John Waters’ ‘Flamingos’ Continue to Shock and Delight