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San Diego State University

SafeZones Movie Recommendations


Aimee & Jaguar, Rated R 1999

Felice is a beautiful, smart courageous Jewish woman who falls for Lilly - a mother of three and a Nazi general’s wife. This forbidden love story tells a tale of love and sacrifice as the pair tackle the obstacles of prejudice in Berlin during the 1940s.

Boys Don’t Cry, Rated R 1999

Based on a true story, Brandon Teena is transgendered teenager from Nebraska. Born a woman, Brandon chooses to start a new life, in small town, as a male. Having escaped legal issues and life as a woman in his hometown, he begins to find refuge amongst a new set of peers. His reputation as a fun, kind, and sensitive man wins the affections of a beautiful woman in his social circle. Things start to fall apart in his new world, as his biological identity begins to unfold. Determined to invest in his new life and romance, he decides to endure a new set of troubles as his identity is revealed.

But I'm A Cheerleader, Rated NC-17 1999

Megan is an all-American girl. She's a cheerleader, she’s feminine, and she has a boyfriend she likes...or at least she thinks she does. Her parents and friends set up an intervention and conclude that she is gay. Sent off to a "sexual redirection" school, full of supposedly homosexual misfits, she is on a mission to learn to how to be straight. This independent comedy is ridiculously entertaining.

The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love, Rated R 1995

This warm romantic comedy is a gay coming-of-age story framed by Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Randy meets Evie and the two begin an adventurous love affair. Both women have different social, racial, and economic backgrounds. Their struggle to overcome prejudices in and outside of the classroom prove to be a story of courage and the idea that there’s a first time for everything.

It’s Elementary, Not Yet Rated 1996

This is the first film to educate the general public on practical ways to address LGBT issues with children. It highlights the ways in which children are capable of processing diversity, stereotypes and social justice. Filmed in six schools, both public and private, it serves as a model for how to prevent homophobia and anti-gay violence in the school system. The film is useful in providing students and educators with a framework for a healthy dialogue and a sense of community engagement.

Milk, Rated R 2008

Set against the tumultuous 1970s in San Francisco, this biographical film follows the story of businessman turned gay rights activist Harvey Milk, who became California's first openly gay elected official in 1977. Although Milk paid the ultimate price for his convictions, his life continues to inspire subsequent generations of LGBT activists.

Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink), Rated R 1997

Experience gender identity through the eyes of a child. Little Ludovic is a boy who is convinced he is a girl. He enjoys cross-dressing and pretending to marry his neighbor Jerome. His behavior strikes his family and neighbors as problematic as Ludovic sincerely wishes to live his life as a girl. All who encounter Ludovic are forced to confront their own insecurities about gender issues and effeminacy.

Nina's Heavenly Delights, Rated R 2006

When a feisty young woman returns to her home to attend her father’s funeral she is shocked to learn that her family has sold half of the shares in their Indian restaurant.  Inspired by her colorful friends and budding new romance with Lisa, who owns half the restaurant, the pair work together to best the competition and save the restaurant.

Noah’s Arc, Rated R 2008

Based on the popular television series, Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom is a feature film that continues the narrative thread of the second series, with all the luscious drama that one would expect. Noah is planning to wed his partner Wade in Martha’s Vineyard. The couple attempt to enjoy the planning preparations, amongst a small group of friends, but the wedding plans are threatened as issues arise. Secrets and romantic tensions begin to surface as the pair struggles to find trust, support, and acceptance within their family and social circle.

Paris is Burning, Not Yet Rated 1990

A documentary about the New York drag community, this is a powerful piece that explores gender performance. It chronicles the lives of numerous men who compete in elaborate competitions, where contestants are judged on beauty, dance, clothing, and a fierce runway walk. Depicting various forms of expression and gender identities the film exposes intimate details that occur behind the scenes. Contestants reveal their struggles with gender, race, class, health, and other complexities within the community.

Red Without Blue Not Yet, Rated 2007

This film is an artistically groundbreaking portrayal of gender, identity, and the unbreakable bond of twins despite transformation. The film portrays a family in turmoil, as one of the identical twins transitions from male to female. Captured over a period of three years, the film documents the twins and their parents’ struggle to redefine their family.

Saving Face, Rated R 2004

A romantic comedy about a Chinese-American lesbian and the complexities within the Asian- American family dynamic. Wil, a talented surgeon, struggles with cultural expectations when her widowed mother unexpectedly comes to visit her. While Wil grapples with her love for a talented female dancer and daughter of her boss, her mother searches for a way to save face for her unexpected pregnancy out of wedlock. The pair push social mores as Wil tries to find a bachelor to marry Ma.

Transamerica, Rated R 2005

Southern Californian Bree Osbourne, who was formerly Stanley Chupak, has finally received the news for which she has been waiting: she has been approved for male-to-female sexual reassignment surgery. But before Margaret, her therapist, will allow her to go through with the surgery scheduled in a week's time, Bree has to deal with an unresolved issue from her past. Unbeknown to Bree, she has a 17-year-old son in New York. The pair takes a road trip that changes their lives forever.