36 thoughts on “Top Five Queer Historical People Who Need Movies Made About Them

  1. 💖 Yes. Yes! And YES!!!! 💖

    I’d also like LQBTQ historical characters not have that aspect ‘airbrushed’ out of their stories. And that’s the current way we frame their stories…. 😠

    We have plenty of people that were, very interesting people, only to have every interesting and/or controversial part glossed over in order to make them more “palpable” to the general public. People then and now, are complex and intricate, by airbrushing and creating simplistic caracatures, we do them and history, a great injustice. We also do ourselves a disservice because we need to see human beings a fully developed human beings, else we fall in the same bad habits storytellers do. 😕

    I’d like to add that a great many historical people had a much more diverse relationship history than most know about. Many people in the British aristocracy are, and were, polyamorous. This included men and women. And it isn’t just limited to the British aristocracy either.

    In general, the Puritanical straight jackets (laced with an extra emphasis on SHAME) need to come off. History, unlike what most people think, is interesting as hell but we’ve been viewing it through a very, very, very restrictive and conservative lense (damn you Prince Albert! Lol).


  2. I would like to see a movie about Archibald Butt, a military aid to Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, and his relationship with Francis Millet who shared a house together in D.C. They were also passengers on Titanic, where they both drowned. Millet also had a wife.
    P.s. Documentary evidence suggests that Millet had at least one homosexual affair with Charles Warren Stoddard in Venice! Those two stories right there would make damn good Frock Flicks, add Archibald trying to hide his gayness from both presidents and you’re golden!

  3. It’s now working. Loved the selections.

    I would add Alexander of Macedon and Hephaestion

    1. The 2004 Oliver Stone movie about Alexander tried to go there about Alexander and Hephaestion’s amours but instead Roxanne got to be the main love interest instead. Besides that movie was shit so as far as im concerned it doesn’t count. :p

      1. I didn’t mention it for same reason. I remember reading Colin Farrell who played Alexander May have made anti-gay comments and was lambasted for being tentative in his portrayal.

  4. I vote for James VI & I (son of Mary Queen of Scots & Lord Darnley and the King James of King James Bible fame). I know he often makes cameo roles in movies and TV shows about Elizabeth I, or about his mother, or the gunpowder plot, and even comes up animated in Pochahontas II. However, more often than not he’s usually the punchline of some joke about his physical appearance/disabilities (Ableism, Grrr!), or his sexuality. It’s a pity as James was a very successful king, especially compared to his mother (please don’t hurt me Trystan), or for that matter his son Charles I, whose heavy handed, bellicose, and overtly macho approach to being king was in many ways a homophobic backlash against his father. A pacifist and a eucumenist in a time period obsessed with war and sectarian violence, and one of the finest intellectual minds of his time (belief in witches not withstanding). I will be the first to acknowelgde that James’s judgement in personal matters often left a lot to be desired, but I want to see the issues his queerness posed explored in a sympathetic and non-judgemental way as a lot of the issues are still relevant to the modern day regarding sexuality, public figures and masculinity.

    Here’s a book to help any would be screenwriter get started:


    1. True, true! He doesn’t get a fair portrayal (we shall not even speak of Gunpowder, Treason, & Plot — yes, we’ve snarked it A LOT, & it makes my teeth itch, it’s SO bad). Either as a monarch or his personal life, James tends to be a sad caricature on screen.

      1. The same about the degrotory queer coding and ableism goes for Charles I as well, I’ve never seen a good version of him on screen where he isn’t a effete stammering moron. Oh and he might count as a famous queer of history as well – ironically he may have been having a sexual relationship with one of James’s favourites depending on who you ask. So I’d like to nominate him as well. This is why the Stuart’s are way more fun than the Tudors – lotsa gay.

        1. And let us not forget William III who may have been bisexual as he had both male and female ‘favourites’. And finally Queen Anne and Sarah Marlborough. The Duchess when she and the queen fell out accused Anne of being gay. Sarah’s replacement was Abigail Masham.

            1. Christopher Marlowe wrote a play about Edward II that’s been filmed, & then there was a 1991 film that uses the play as a starting point (it’s kind of a modern-medieval mix).

          1. There is supposedly a movie titled ‘The Favourite’ about Queen Anne, Sarah Duchess of Marlborough, & Abigail Masham in production with Sandy Powell doing the costumes. It’s on our upcoming movies list but I haven’t found any more details.

  5. Ooh – I vote for Frederick Park and Earnest Boulton – the late 1860s and early ’70s (essentially) drag queens (known as Fanny and Stella) who were at the center of a sensational and ridiculous trial in which they were eventually acquitted. It could be a fairly unflinching look at what being gay was like in the mid-nineteenth century, but with a somewhat positive ending. Their subsequent appearance in Sins of the Cities of the Plain could be made into an interesting LGBTQ-geared mini-series, set in the 1870s, which would fulfill a lifelong wish of mine: FIRST BUSTLE PERIOD DRAG! Tiny parasols! Tiny bonnets! Giant hair! Giant poofy bustles! Dolman sleeves!

  6. Tristan, thanks for info on ‘The Favourite’ and with Sandy Powell doing costumes. Wow! I loved her Orlando and all of her other films. I’m putting this here as the comments area on the original Peacolour & mine is too small to read.

  7. Tristan, I goggled movie and Oscar winner Rachael Weisz is playing Sarah. Wonder how they will do hair Ashe was a light redhead. Emma Stone is cast as Abigail and Olivia Coleman’s Anne. Marlborough hasn’t been cast or actor wasn’t listed.

    1. I really hope this one gets made & Powell is still the costume designer bec. at least it would look good then. But the casting has changed a few times & the dates are sketchy still.

      1. I don’t have much hope for that film. On top of the cast and script issues you’ve mentioned, Queen Anne is a hard sell as most people these days haven’t heard of her and films and tv shows about the Stuart’s are never given as much care and attetion as Tudor ones. Frankly I get the feeling it’s going to be in soap opera/soft core territory given the casting and probably fall into ‘restoration romp’ territory – despite the fact that Anne’s reign is Augustan era, which is near totally different.

        Sandy Powell’s costumes should be nice though – far nicer than the fugly Jacobean costumes for the James VI&I miniseries in my head that will never happen 😉

  8. Not one specific person, but a period piece on Boston Marriages would be sweet.

  9. I’d love to see a biopic of Radcylffe Hall, or an adaptation of one of her novels. The Unlit Lamp is my fave, but how can you not love The Well Of Loneliness?

  10. Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake! My favorite post-colonial lesbians. I’m reading Rachel Hope Cleves’s biography of them now; it turns out their only extant correspondence is in a museum in my state!

  11. Love this list. I can think of so many I’d love to add! Here are a few of my favorites that I’d love to see on screen:

    Ladies of Llangollen
    Michael Field
    Herman Melville (not 100% confirmed as queer, but extremely likely)
    Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (same, she wrote very romantic/erotic poetry/letters to a woman)
    Aphra Behn (same)
    Algernon Charles Swinburne
    Chevalier d’eon
    Lord Byron (okay, he’s had some films made about him but not enough and not enough that focus on his bisexuality)

    And there are many others!

    1. I’ve mentioned Aphra Behn before on the site, & I think we’ve mentioned Chevalier d’eon, both as good biopic candidates (& Behn’s literature as great source material for film/TV in general!). There’s a recent Netflix Spanish-language series available about Juana Inés but it has such shitty costumes & a cheesy plot that I haven’t been able to make it past the 1st two episodes.

  12. I’d love to see movies about historical trans people, portrayed by trans actors!
    Dr. James Barry is the first one that comes to mind. There’s a fair amount of information to base a movie on, and it’d be fascinating.

      1. I second the suggestion for James Barry! We don’t know much about his personal life, but it’s believed he was bisexual, and he contributed a lot to the field of medicine, especially childbirth.

  13. I’d like a biopic of Ella Maillart’s. She was an adventurer, an athlete, a travel writer, a beautiful woman whose spark for life never waned, even as she aged. And boy, did she age well. She was a friend of Anne-Marie Schwarzenbach’s, that angelic beauty who deserves a film of her own, too, but Maillart’s life did not end with suicide and I need that story more. Obviously I will always like another film about Vita…But that’s just because I’m obsessed with her and because I don’t enjoy the look of the actress in the latest one. What a waste of an opportunity. Find a dyke to play a dyke. Please.

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