Big queer summer preview: Hot LGBTQ movies, shows, books and music for hot times

From Alex Strangelove to Janelle Monáe to David Sedaris, we got your next few months covered.

From Alex Strangelove to Janelle Monáe to David Sedaris, we got your next few months covered.

Clockwise from top left: Troye Sivan, Janelle Monae, Alex Strangelove, POSE, Whitney and The Miseducation of Cameron Post. (Sources)

Queeries is a weekly column by CBC Arts producer Peter Knegt that queries LGBTQ art, culture and/or identity through a personal lens.

​It's finally summer! And we here at CBC Arts want to ensure it's as queer a season as you want it to be, so we're offering up a little preview of LGBTQ movies, TV, books and music coming your way over the next few months. Obviously it's not an exhaustive list, so if there are things you'd like to add to everyone's radars, feel free to mention them in the comments. But before you do, take a gander at our little preview:


The summer movie season isn't exactly a hotbed of LGBTQ interest, at least not at the multiplexes (though Ocean's 8 and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again are clearly geared toward some queers). But if you're lucky enough to have an art house cinema in your vicinity, there's also plenty of queer options headed your way (and it shouldn't't take too much longer to find them on a streaming service).

There's a trio of documentaries that query LGBTQ folks in popular culture, including the tragic stories behind the iconic lives of fashion designer Alexander McQueen (in McQueen, out July 20) and Whitney Houston (whose bisexuality is among the many themes explored in Whitney, out July 13). And there's a look at unsung Hollywood legend Scotty Bowers, who in the 1950s was essentially a "sexual procurer to the stars" — gay and straight. Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, which premiered to raves at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, will give late summer a nice dose of scandal when its released July 27th.

As far as non-documentaries go, two highlights from this year's Sundance Film Festival (both of which just made their Canadian debuts at Toronto's Inside Out last week) make their way to cinemas this summer: In June, we get Brett Haley's Heart Beats Loud, which stars Nick Offerman as a father who starts a band with his queer teenage daughter (Kiersey Clemons), while in August, there's Desiree Akhavan's The Miseducation of Cameron Post, about the titular character (Chloë Grace Moretz) and her journey surviving "gay conversion" camp.

And while it's not technically a movie, folks in Toronto will have the entire month of June to take in the unique LGBTQ virtual reality experience Queerskins: a love story. Created by artists Illya Szilak and Cyril Tsiboulski, the multi-sensory, VR project revolves around "a complex relationship between a devoutly Catholic mother and her gay son who dies of AIDS, and explores the quintessential human desire to transcend ordinary reality through memory, belief and imagination."



Lines are blurring between movies, TV and streaming, and it's the latter that is bringing one of the year's most notable LGBTQ stories: which is really a movie. On June 8, Netflix will debut Alex Strangelove, from director Craig Johnson (who made the wonderful Bill Hader-Kristen Wiig sibling dramedy The Skeleton Twins a few years back). Not unlike this past spring's Love, Simon, it's a high school-set rom com featuring a male protagonist coming to terms with his queerness. Though early reviews suggest it's a little more radical than the somewhat safe-playing Simon.

Meanwhile on traditional TV screens, the summer's big LGBTQ event (arguably besides the last few episodes of the tenth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, which concludes June 28), is the latest from the unstoppable Ryan Murphy: F/X's Pose. Featuring the largest transgender cast ever assembled for scripted television (not to mention Kate Mara and James Van Der Beek), Pose is largely set within 1980s New York City ball culture, and judging from the first episode (it premiered June 3 and runs through the end of July), this is a Pose you will not want to strike from your summer TV viewing.


LGBTQ musical artists are having an unprecedented moment, which began earlier this year with Janelle Monáe's fantastic — and fantastically queer — Dirty Computer. This summer will see the likes of Troye Sivan, Years & Years (led by Olly Alexander) and The Internet (led by Syd) all release new albums, serving Pride parties with refreshingly literal queer soundtracks. And then of course there's Monáe's Dirty Computer tour, which heads to Vancouver (June 12), Toronto (July 16) and various American cities close enough to the border to make it worth a Dirty trip south.


From left: Casey Plett, Catherine Hernandez, Amber Dawn and Joshua Whitehead

Canada's own LGBTQ literature output pretty much already has your summer reads covered. If you haven't already enjoyed the likes of Casey Plett's Little Fish, Amber Dawn's Sodom Road Exit, Catherine Hernandez's Scarborough, Joshua Whitehead's Jonny Appleseed or Shawn Hitchins's A Brief History of Oversharing, fix that in the next few months during your trips to cottages, parks and/or beaches.

Beyond that mighty quartet, David Sedaris just released his first collection of essays in five years, Calypso, which is being touted as "the beach read for people who detest beaches." And when you beach-hating beach readers are done with that, July marks the release of comedian and writer Guy Branum's memoir My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir through (Un)Popular Culture, which — among other things — features a foreword by Mindy Kaling and promises to "recount the pitfalls of being typecast as the 'Sassy Gay Friend.'"

Both those will only be out in hardcover this summer (and e-book of course, though personally I can't imagine ever going over to that dark side, especially at the beach), so if it's paperback you're looking for, look no further than Less, Andrew Sean Greer's queer masterpiece — which just won a little something called the Pulitzer Prize and was just released in paperback.

About the Author

Peter Knegt has worked for CBC Arts since 2016, writing the LGBTQ-culture column Queeries (winner of the 2019 Digital Publishing Award for best digital column in Canada) and spearheading the launch and production of series Canada's a Drag and interactive project Superqueeroes, both of which won him 2020 Canadian Screen Awards. Beyond CBC, Knegt is also the filmmaker of numerous short films and the author of the book About Canada: Queer Rights. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter with the same obvious handle: @peterknegt.


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