Viewing Guide: Thanksgiving Edition

by HRC staff

As we approach the winter holidays, we at HRC are grateful for many things: our friends and family, important electoral wins in Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and more, carbohydrates, LGBTQ+ advocates like those in our ELEVATE, ACTIVATE, and GENERATE programs, Lady Gaga.

But we are also super grateful that this holiday weekend, there is a bevy of amazing LGBTQ+ stories to watch as we snuggle on the couch once the tryptophan kicks in. Check out our viewing guide below, and also don’t miss out on tomorrow’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, featuring amazing performances by the cast of “Shucked”, “& Juliet”, and more!

The Dads (Netflix)

Thumbnail courtesy of Netflix

FATHERS BOND OVER THEIR UNCONDITIONAL LOVE FOR THEIR TRANS CHILDREN:
Dennis Shepard, the father of Matthew Shepard, joins five fathers of trans children, including members of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council, for a fishing trip where they find common ground across racial, geographical and generational lines. The short film The Dads, directed by Luchina Fisher, casts a light on the struggles trans youth and their families face, opens the door for honest conversations about fatherhood, and illustrates what unconditional parental love and acceptance looks like.

Rustin (Netflix)

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GAY, BLACK HERO OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT GETS HIS FLOWERS:
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Bayard Rustin dared to be his authentic self as he organized and mobilized communities against segregation and racist hate in America. He was among the architects of the Freedom Rides, stood face to face with President Roosevelt to demand desegregation, and was the lead organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. In George C. Wolfe’s Rustin, the world gets a deeper look into the boldly LGBTQ+ man at the heart of the civil rights movement. This is a must-see. Go give that man his flowers.

Monica (AMC+, or rent on Apple TV, Google Play, and more)

Poster courtesy of “Monica”

AN INTIMATE AND AUTHENTIC LOOK AT A TRANSGENDER WOMAN FINDING HER WAY HOME:
Estranged from her family for years, a woman returns to the Midwest to visit her dying mother. After realizing her mother doesn’t recognize her, Monica settles into the role of caregiver, understanding this is as close as they may come to reconciliation. In a time of rampant anti-transgender legislation and hateful rhetoric, this heartfelt story takes viewers into the personal and doesn’t stoop to traumatic storylines. If you’re looking for a film with an Oscar-buzzy performance from Trace Lysette and a soft touch that speaks to family, gentleness, and healing, this one's for you!

Pacemaker (Watch Online)

Poster courtesy of “Pacemaker”

A MESSAGE OF LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE WHEN WE FOLLOW OUR HEARTS:
This heartwarming short film is about a lonely widower awaiting a pacemaker to save his life, who gets his real second chance at true love by opening his heart and accepting his grandson's identity. This animated musical features Alex Newell, the Tony Award winner non-binary actor and singer, and Phillip Lawerence, a multi-Grammy Award-winning singer. Christopher Lennertz, who wrote the screenplay and composed the original song ‘Rhythm of My Heart’, based the film on his own experience, inspired by his trans son.

Aikāne (Watch Online)

Thumbnail courtesy of "Aikāne"

A MYTHICAL TALE OF LOVE AND ADVENTURE:
A valiant island warrior, wounded in battle against foreign invaders, falls into a mysterious underwater world. When the octopus who rescued him transforms into a handsome young man, they become Aikāne — intimate friends bound by love and trust — and an epic adventure begins.

Fellow Travelers (Showtime)

Thumbnail courtesy of Kurt Iswarienko, SHOWTIME

A 30-YEAR ROMANCE SET AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF THE LAVENDER SCARE, WAR, AND PROTESTS OF THE 20TH CENTURY:
Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, Fellow Travelers follows two men who meet in a DC bar during the height of McCarthyism, and begin a secret relationship that spans decades. With a principal cast composed of all LGBTQ+ characters (including HRC National Dinner honoree Matt Bomer), this historical romance is the perfect queer political thriller to watch this holiday!

Nyad (Netflix)

Thumbnail courtesy of Netflix

FRIENDSHIP, TRIUMPH, AND QUEER RESILIENCY… JUST ADD WATER:
The Herculean real-life chronicles of Diana Nyad tell the story of overcoming adversity with the empowering forces of hard-edged perseverance and self-discipline, accompanied by the softness and humor that comes with queer friendship. In 2013, at age 64, Nyad completed a more than 100 mile swim from Cuba to the U.S. under the coaching and support of her best friend, Bonnie Stoll. The film Nyad, from Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, takes a wholehearted, sincere look at the decades-long journey of a human spirit