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8 Queer Stories We're Not Seeing Enough Of In Movies

"We're invisible until we demand to be seen."

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Founded by filmmaker Madeleine Lim in 2000, the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project runs free filmmaking bootcamps; the work is then screened at an annual film festival in San Francisco. This year's festival opened to a packed house at the Brava Theater Center on June 9. The shorts ranged in subject matter, from the humorous chronicle of "a woman's struggle to get out of the house" to "trauma and healing," as two directors put it.

Between bagels at a brunch for filmmakers hosted by author and artist Jewelle Gomez — who wrote the black lesbian vampire novel The Gilda Stories — and her feminist activist spouse, Diane Sabin, BuzzFeed News caught up with a film scholar and some of the writer-directors and asked:

1. Life after coming out.

Ariane Lange / BuzzFeed News

Mainstream films always seem to "stop at the coming-out part," said Tijanna O. Eaton. "The movie ends with the person coming out, and they show the big bright horizon of possibility or uncertainty. I need to see what happens next. ... You know what the gay agenda is? Laundry."

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2. Queer joy.

Ariane Lange / BuzzFeed News

"Queer stories are always riddled with tragedy," said Monica Ortiz. "Obviously tragedy happens in life, but not everything is just like, Oh, you're gonna die of overdosing. Something positive would be nice."

3. Women embracing their masculinity.

Ariane Lange / BuzzFeed News

"I'd like to see more butch women or masculine-of-center women or queer people featured in a normal situation," said Raquel López. "It's always femmes, and they're always really beautiful. ... I'd like to see queer people that look queer. We don't see ourselves in film."

4. Biopics of famous queer women.

Ariane Lange / BuzzFeed News

"I would like to know about some of the people that have inspired me, like Audre Lorde and Pat Parker," said Misia Denéa. "Billie Holiday was bisexual, and a lot of blues singers, like Big Mama Thornton. There's women that I know are queer, but I would love to see more of their stories. ... I'm thirsty to see more stories like that."

5. Queer people navigating faith.

Ariane Lange / BuzzFeed News

"It would be really cool to see something that talks about religion and the acceptance of different religions over the years, looking at the history and context of how different countries and religions deal with and relate to sexuality," Raquel S. said. "Nowadays, I know people that are part of their church, but they also identify as queer. I grew up in a really strict religion, and that was definitely a no-no. I'm actually very curious about that. ... It's something I've been thinking about a lot. I still talk to God. I am curious about the churches that show the flag and are very open."

6. Queer Latinx histories.

Ariane Lange / BuzzFeed News

María Cora explained, "I'm part of a group called La Colectiva, and since 1999, we've been curators of memorabilia and oral histories of Latino/Latina queer life in San Francisco. Part of why we started that years ago, as a scholarly pursuit, was that we didn't see ourselves reflected in any of the queer so-called histories. We were absent. You'd never know that in San Francisco, there's a very rich history of Latinas and Latinos, with our own movements and our bars and our bands. You would never know. For years, if you went into the historical society, it wasn't us. ... We're invisible until we demand to be seen."

7. Hard truths.

Ariane Lange / BuzzFeed News

B. Ruby Rich, an eminent queer film scholar, wants to see "the truth about the families that people come out of, what they've had to go through before the moment of emerging into public. The truth about relationships that people don't tell because they want us to look good."

8. Pretty much anything queer.

Ariane Lange / BuzzFeed News

"I think it's just a matter of getting people's stories out there," said Roberta Lee. "I think any stories out there that could make people more aware of the presence of queer people in this country and the struggles that they go through would be really great."

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