TV Networks Focus on LGBTQ+ History for Pride Month and Beyond

Discovery Plus The Book of Queer

Pride Month is here, and TV networks are celebrating the LGBTQ+ community with special programs, documentaries, and new shows that not only spotlight people who identify as LGBTQ+, but that explore how this community has been treated throughout history, in the media, and in today's culture. TV networks are offering curated programming, including AMC+'s "Stream with Pride," HBO Max's "LGBTQ+ voices" collection, and NBCUniversal's "Pride Is Universal: Better Together" campaign, that feature breakthrough shows for the LGBTQ+ community over the last couple of decades. And one programming event to look out for in particular is Discovery+'s five-part documentary series, "The Book of Queer," which kicks off today, June 2. 

"The Book of Queer" looks at historical moments that focus around the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and important figures who have moved the needle for this community. Queer historians are showcased throughout the docuseries to help tell 15 individual stories that are featured in a celebratory and joyful tone. The docuseries is narrated by Margaret Cho, a well-known comedian and actress who has campaigned for LGBTQ+ rights and for the right to same-sex marriage. 

"In the last 50 years, it's just sort of starting to become this thing where we're legal, we're here, we're allowed to get married, we're allowed to have families, we're allowed to be visible in a society that accepts us and is starting to celebrate us and celebrate the diversity of society," said Cho at the Television Critics Association press tour earlier this year. "So this is really a look back, but also a look back with a new point of view."  

Executive Producer Eric Cervini followed up by commenting, "I think what the show tries to point out is that despite that prejudice, despite that adversity, as Margaret put it, we've been here and queer since the dawn of humanity ... So rather than focusing on the persecution, the suffering, the death, we really focus on queer joy, and we think it's something that all viewers will be able to enjoy for themselves."

Executive Producer Colin Hargraves added that the "The Book of Queer" is the "book" that should have existed a long time ago for queer teens who were trying to look to history to find themselves, and found nothing: "Not just looking and seeing themselves in contemporary media, but seeing themselves throughout history and realizing that they've always been here, and they've always been queer and not all of history's timelines happen to be straight."

Another unique docuseries to look out for later this year, with a premiere date still TBA, is "Queer for Fear" from AMC+, which centers on the history of queer people in the thriller and horror genre. "Queer for Fear," which will be released on Shudder, will reexamine classic horror stories through a new lens and the queer themes that run through many of them, including, "Hannibal" and "Frankenstein."

"I think there's something really interesting about the survival narratives of a lot of these horror movies and the reason that we're drawn to them, whether we feel ostracized like the monster, or we feel like if we can survive an abusive parent like Danny Torrance in 'The Shining,' then there's hope for us ... all you need is one example of survival to know it's possible for you, and I think that really resonates with a lot of queer audiences who are drawn to horror stories," said Executive Producer Bryan Fuller at the TCA press tour.

As Pride Month unfolds, expect more programming and special TV events to be announced that honor and lift the voices of the LGBTQ+ community as networks continue to find ways to tell their stories and to ensure diverse representation, on screen and behind the scenes.