Celebrating LGBTQIA+ Book to Screen Adaptations
By Becca Binnie, Carly Bennett and Lauren Dooley
We thought June would be the perfect time to highlight some must-see LGBTQIA+ films and TV shows that have been adapted from books. Remembering why Pride is so important, the list below is a small collection of some of our favourites, each celebrating many different identities. The list is comprised of both current and future releases. So grab some popcorn, and mark your calendars.
It is important to note that whilst we rightly celebrate the existing LGBTQIA+ adaptations, there is still a long way to go in regard to inclusivity and positive representation. Think of all those amazing LGBTQIA+ inclusive novels that would make for an amazing film or TV series!
Season one of Netflix’s Heartstopper, an adaptation of Alice Oseman’s acclaimed graphic novel series (2018), was released in April 2022. It was viewed for over twenty-three million hours in the week commencing its release and rose to number five on Netflix’s global top ten TV series. This is a story of love, hope and friendship following kind-hearted Charlie, who meets popular rugby star Nick. Joe Locke and Kit Connor bring these two characters to life. The series highlights heart-warming, tear-jerking gay, lesbian and trans representation for audiences of all ages! And good news, Netflix has just renewed the series for two more seasons.
The Handmaid’s Tale
A more poignant, and all too relevant adaptation is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), which highlights the suppression of reproductive rights and policing of sexuality in a white supremacist society. The LGBTQIA+ characters in this story face prejudice and loss, something too common in the past of this beautiful community. Despite this, they remain true to themselves and try to fight an oppressive system.
This rom-com is an adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s 2015 YA book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. The story follows Simon, played by Nick Robinson, as he struggles with being a closeted gay man in school and begins to fall in love with an anonymous person in his class while online. This is a beautiful coming-of-age story that will resonate with many viewers.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
The 2018 film adaptation of Emily M. Danforth’s 2012 novel debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and scooped the festival’s highest honour: the Grand Jury Prize for US Drama. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane and Forrest Goodluck, The Miseducation of Cameron Post features an adapted version of the novel’s plot but still holds the book’s tenets of self-acceptance and the bonds of chosen family close to its heart.
The Imitation Game
This Oscar-winning historical drama (2014) is based on Andrew Hodges’ book Alan Turing: The Enigma (2000). The story follows the father of modern-day computers Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), as he attempts to decrypt the German’s intelligence communication system, the Enigma machine, during WWI. While trying to save millions of lives, Turing’s life is torn apart by bigots trying to expose his homosexuality, which at the time was a crime. The story celebrates the genius and tragic life of one of the world's most intelligent minds.
The Danish Girl
Based on David Ebershoff’s novel of the same name (2000), The Danish Girl loosely depicts the life of Lili Elbe who was one of the early recipients of sex reassignment surgery, and how she chose to live her true self as a transgender woman. This 2015 adaptation sees Eddie Redmayne tell the beautiful and inspiring story of Lili as she tries to come to terms with her identity in a less than understanding world. This emotional movie garnered four Academy Award nominations.
Look for the rainbow:
With the rise of societal acceptance and protection of the LGBTQIA+ community, more fantastic books are being brought to the screen for audiences. Here are some exciting movies and TV shows to look out for:
Red, White and Royal Blue
Casey McQuiston’s YA queer romance book (2019) took TikTok by storm and is being adapted into a movie. The movie will be produced by Greg Berlanti, who directed the 2018 Love, Simon. The release date is unknown.
This adaptation of Bethan Robert’s book of the same name (2012) is expected to hit cinemas late-2022. Set in Brighton in the 50s, this romantic drama follows a gay policeman (Harry Styles) as he marries a woman and has a love affair with a man.
The Girls I’ve Been
Netflix will also be bringing us this movie adaptation of Tessa Sharpe’s The Girls I’ve Been (2021) later in 2022. This YA thriller will star Milly Bobby Brown as Nora O’Malley, a girl with many faces and secrets.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Written by Taylor Jenkins Reid in 2017, this fictional tale will also hit Netflix as a TV show. This story follows a Hollywood icon revealing the secrets of her life. A release date is not yet known.