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Documentaries for Teens: LGBTQIA+ Issues

Documentaries are sometimes overlooked forms of media for both education and for entertainment. They cover all types of subject matter and can tell intimate, moving stories. This series focuses on documentaries that may appeal to teens, and each installment will focus on a particular theme. To honor LGBTQ history month, this installment spotlights documentaries that portray the LGBTQIA+ experience of today’s teens or historical queer communities.

I’m Just Anneke

This short documentary is the story of a gender-nonconforming teen and their supportive family. Libraries can purchase it through New Day films. Educators can also find a discussion guide.

Do I Sound Gay? 

This thought-provoking documentary explores the idea of a “gay voice” in popular culture, with commentary from George Takeii, Margaret Cho, David Sedaris, and more. It will be available on DVD (and Netflix) in November.

Growing Up Trans

This PBS Frontline documentary follows 9 individuals, ages 9 through 19, during their transition process.

Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History

This documentary is a bit didactic, but does have an important message about tolerance.

Paris is Burning

Although the focus of this film is the New York City drag ball culture of the late 80s, it’s a fascinating documentary that may capture the imagination of teens interested in how LGBTQ communities have evolved over the last 25 years.

Documentaries can offer new insight into the world, and more rich learning experience than text and photographs alone. Especially if these are not a part of your teen collection, they can be easily overlooked when recommending resources to teens, but they can be the most relevant information on a topic of particular interest or the format may have particular appeal for some teens. Incorporate them into displays, or readers’ advisory lists. Those available online can be shared in library blog posts, on social media, or in any way you curate content for teens.

Look for a new post each month highlighting documentaries on various topics that may be of interest to teens in our Documentaries for Teens series. We’d love if you’d share your favorites in the comments!

— Molly Wetta, currently reading Riders by Veronica Rossi

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Molly is the Senior Librarian for Youth Services, Programming, and Marketing at Santa Barbara (CA) Public Library. She is a former member manager of YALSA's The Hub.