It’s not just fast-food chains and furniture stores that go big on queer content in June. To celebrate Pride Month, streaming services have scheduled a slate of some of the summer’s biggest releases — from the highly anticipated destination rom-com “Fire Island” to a reboot of the cultural touchstone “Queer as Folk.” Apart from the commercial possibilities, there’s also a move to feature storytelling that’s more representative of the community, with transgender voices being brought front and center in series like “The Umbrella Academy,” and to take a closer look at the impact of queer figures throughout history.
In addition to these film and television releases, you can watch this month’s biggest Pride parades on Hulu. The service will air coverage of the Los Angeles Pride Parade on June 12 and the New York Pride March on June 26.
‘The Book of Queer’
To mark Pride Month, Discovery+ is introducing a new hub for LGBTQ content, called Always Proud, which will launch with three series, released the first three days of June. On June 1, the service drops all six episodes of the Tyra Banks-produced “Generation Drag,” a documentary series centering on Dragutante, the first drag ball for minors. And on June 3, it premieres “Trixie Motel,” a reality series that follows “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Trixie Mattel and her partner, David Silver, as they renovate a Palm Springs motel. Sandwiched between the two is “The Book of Queer,” a docuseries-meets-variety show that spans centuries of queer characters and features a lineup of some of the biggest names in entertainment (queer or otherwise). In “The Book of Queer,” an ensemble cast of all-LGBTQ actors will portray 200 historical figures, from the ancient Greek poet Sappho to Joan of Arc, Alan Turing and Josephine Baker. Voices like Margaret Cho and Ross Matthews will narrate the special event series’ five episodes — each of which will end with an original song performance by, you guessed it, an iconic queer musician.
“The Book of Queer” premieres on Discovery+ June 2.
In his first feature since “A Quiet Passion” — starring Cynthia Nixon in a critically acclaimed performance as Emily Dickinson — filmmaker Terrence Davies delivers existential suffering with a portrayal of the British war poet Siegfried Sassoon. Sassoon, played on two timelines by Jack Lowden (“Dunkirk”) and Peter Capaldi (“Doctor Who”), was famous for his poetry about serving in World War I, which he would later formally protest. The film begins with Sassoon being sent to a psychiatric hospital for his anti-war stance and unfolds through his various relationships with men and reels of archival images from the war, accompanied by readings of Sassoon’s poetry. Although “Benediction” is a biographical drama, Davies uses a combination of surrealism and realism to paint a picture of a life stunted by war and closeted love affairs.
“Benediction” opens in U.S. theaters June 3.
‘Crimes of the Future’
Although auteur David Cronenberg (“The Fly,” “Crash”) wrote the screenplay for his early Oscar contender, “Crimes of the Future,” 20 years ago, it took the pandemic for the director to turn it into a feature film. The body horror sci-fi epic stars Léa Seydoux opposite Viggo Mortensen, as well as Kristen Stewart in her first role since her Oscar-nominated turn in “Spencer.” Mortensen — who has starred in four Cronenberg films, including “A History of Violence” — plays a celebrity performance artist who exhibits the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde showcases with his partner, Caprice (Seydoux). These performances attract the attention of a National Organ Registry investigator, Timlin (Stewart), who becomes increasingly obsessed with the high-profile couple.
“Crimes of the Future” opens in U.S. theaters June 3.
Since the release date was set for “Fire Island” earlier this year, it’s been the most anticipated film of Pride Month, if not the summer in general. Taking a page from iconic ‘90s rom-coms, it’s a modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” set against the backdrop of the storied gay beach haven on New York’s Long Island. Joel Kim Booster wrote the unapologetically upbeat film, inspired by a trip to Fire Island with “Saturday Night Live” star Bowen Yang and Austen’s novel. It’s about two best friends, Noah (Booster) and Howie (Yang), who make their annual summer pilgrimage to The Pines, the hamlet that’s become a destination-within-a-destination over the decades. There they fall in with wealthy vacationers, Will (Conrad Ricamora) and Charlie (James Scully), and spend joyous nights with a host of other characters, played by a who’s who of queer actors.
“Fire Island” is available in the U.S. on Hulu and in the U.K. on Disney+ June 3.
With its first season, “P-Valley” shone a neon spotlight on the so-called Dirty South and its eccentric, seductive personalities. The series, created by Katori Hall, centers on a Mississippi strip club called the Pynk and the wheelings and dealings that keep it operating, despite pressure from local authorities, corrupt politicians and proselytizing family members. While the Pynk would be nothing without its captivating, enterprising women — like all star dancer Mercedes (Brandee Evans), mysterious out-of-towner Autumn Night (Elarica Johnson) and the talented but troubled Keyshawn (Shannon Thorton) — the club’s heart and soul is Uncle Clifford (Nicco Annan). Somewhere between a paternal figure and ruthless madame, Uncle Clifford brings to life a unique Delta queerness that is both unapologetically masculine and feminine. In Season Two, the Pynk is under new ownership, struggling to recover from the pandemic and bring in a new clientele. Mercedes gets caught in a potentially disastrous love triangle; Uncle Clifford’s beau, the closeted rapper Lil Murda (J. Alphonse Nicolson), gets an extended storyline; and trailblazing bounce musician Big Freedia makes recurring guest appearances.
“P-Valley” Season Two premieres on Starz June 3.
‘Queer as Folk’
It’s been over 20 years since the abbreviated British series “Queer as Folk” launched a hugely popular American spinoff that changed LGBTQ viewing content forever. Now, the cultural touchstone is being remade for a new generation. Following the logic of the previous versions, Peacock’s “Queer as Folk” is about a dysfunctional love triangle between three impossibly good-looking people — a high-school student, a man about town and the person they’re both hung up on — and the traumatic event that binds them. In this case, that event is a Pulse-like shooting that takes place at a gay bar in New Orleans, where the series is set. The cast is littered with up-and-coming queer actors, including stars Fin Argus and Devin Way, joined by veterans Kim Cattrall and Juliette Lewis. And its subject matter has been updated to match the sensibilities of its contemporary audience, touching on topics from living with HIV to being a disabled member of the queer community.
“Queer as Folk” Season One premieres on Peacock June 9.
The new YA series “First Kill” offers a a fresh-faced take on the lesbian vampire subgenre. Based on the books by Victoria Schwab — who is also a writer and executive producer on the show — “First Kill” stars newcomers Sarah Catherine Hook and Imani Lewis as Juliette and Calliope, star-crossed lovers from rival supernatural families. The two young teens meet under rather fraught circumstances: vampire Juliette has picked Calliope as her first victim, not knowing that she’s a member of a legendary vampire slayer dynasty. Despite the odds, their families’ obvious objections and a seemingly endless stream of monsters that want them both dead, the two remain intent on protecting their burgeoning romance.
“First Kill” Season One premieres on Netflix June 10.
With just three seasons, the beloved YA series “Love, Victor” — set in the world of the equally beloved film “Love, Simon” — is coming to a close. Going out on a high note, the anticipated third season follows two chapters that have been highly praised for realistic storytelling around issues like coming out, dating in the era of hookup apps and STDs. After last year’s cliffhanger involving Victor (Michael Cimino) and love interests Benji (George Sear) or Rahim (Anthony Keyvan), the final chapter begins on a potentially fraught note. But there’s also a lot of promise, with Victor having begun to discover the power of finding one’s tribe. Whatever other twists the farewell season takes, what’s certain is that the cast’s natural chemistry will make for at least a few more steamy love scenes before the journey is over.
“Love, Victor” Season Three premieres in the U.K. and U.S. on Hulu and Disney+ June 15.
‘Dead End: Paranormal Park’
On the heels of its Oscar-nominated animated feature “The Mitchells vs. the Machines,” Netflix offers a groundbreaking show about a transgender teen, Barney, who runs away from home and finds a job at a haunted theme park. When he begins secretly living at the park, Barney (voiced by Zach Barack) gets into a series of misadventures with his new co-workers and supernatural housemates. That chosen family includes his talking dog Pugsley (Alex Brightman), best friend Norma (Kody Kavitha), a homesick demon named Courtney (Emily Osment) and a new crush. Based on creator Hamish Steele’s horror-comedy graphic novel series “DeadEndia,” the charming show “Dead End” is thought-provoking fun for the whole family.
“Dead End: Paranormal Park” Season One premieres on Netflix June 16.
‘My Fake Boyfriend’
“My Fake Boyfriend” is part of a growing collection of lighthearted films that feature queer characters getting into romantic predicaments — that have nothing to do with coming out. In the social media-era rom-com, the unlucky protagonist, Andrew, played by Keiynan Lonsdale (“Love, Simon”), risks missing out on real love when he fakes a boyfriend to make his chiseled ex jealous. This notoriously terrible idea is cooked up and executed by Andrew’s best friend, Jake (Dylan Sprouse of Disney fame), who further complicates things when he becomes addicted to the fake persona’s instant social media fame.
“My Fake Boyfriend” premieres on Amazon Prime Video June 17.
‘The Umbrella Academy’
Although “The Umbrella Academy“ has never been in want of a fan base, or award nominations, star Elliot Page generated new enthusiasm around the action series when they tweeted in March about their character’s Season Three coming out. Teasing a first-look photo, Page announced that their character, Vanya, would come out as Viktor, in a storyline collaboratively crafted by the actor, showrunner Steve Blackman and writer Thomas Page McBee, who is transgender and has written for recent big name reboots of “Tales of the City” and “The L Word.” The new season will pick up with the Hargreeves — a dysfunctional family of adopted superhero siblings — returning to the modern day after having saved the world from a 1963 doomsday, which incidentally they also caused.
“The Umbrella Academy” Season Three premieres on Netflix June 22.