Ever heard of the trope “Bury Your Gays?” If not, you might have seen it anyway.
“Bury Your Gays” is in a lot of queer stories. In Vox’s definition, having this trope means “queer characters seems to never have happy endings.” This came from pulp novels in the ’50s. Back then, LGBTQ+ stories cannot have happy endings in their stories, or the “post office might seize it as obscene.” Queer writers are forced to comply in fear of their stories getting unpublished.
But that’s back then. Gone are the days where a bad ending is needed for queer stories to exist. So why is “Bury the Gays” still in contemporary classics like Brokeback Mountain? Or current transgender stories like The Danish Girl? Oh yeah, Autostraddle’s lesbian death list is still growing (we’re at 147 deaths, btw).
There are so many deaths surrounding LGBTQ+ films or TV. Unfortunately, most of these deaths are for shock factor (I see you, The 100). Or even when there is no physical death, the characters end up with the tragedy of leaving the love of their life because of society’s judgement. Well, we get it; despite of the growing awareness about the LGBTQ+ community, many still face discrimination and condemnation on the regular. Hello, not a lot of country protect gay rights!
It’s unfair for queer narratives to be synonymous with tragedy. So instead of queer films with somber endings, let’s celebrate the (sadly) rare LGBTQ+ films with happy endings.
In case you’re not familiar with any, here are 10 LGBTQ+ films with a satisfying, happy finish. Bye bye unnecessary shock factors. Hello, much-deserved happiness.
Based on the novel, The Price of Salt, this film follows two unlikely women who became fast friends. After “glove lunches” and sneaking glances at one another, their bond slowly turned into a romantic one. Carol is still a gem among lesbian stories. No one dies or no one “realizes” they’re straight. In the end, they are each other’s better half. It’s a universal happy ending we all aspire to have.
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)
Here’s a road trip movie about Manhattan drag queens played by the buff action stars of the ’90s. To Wong Foo might not tickle Rotten Tomatoes’ interest, but it did leave a legacy on queer and camp cinema. Wesley Snipes and Patrick Swayze as Manhattan drag queens? Oh, and they’re not making fun of drag culture? Sis, sign. us. up!
Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
This is a beautiful Christmas film. Although, it also contains an amazing portrayal of trans woman of color. Tokyo Godfathers follows the story of a transwoman, her partner, and a runaway kid bonding together to return a baby they found near the dumpster. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions (duh, Christmas movies). Still, it ends in a good, heartwarming note.
Weekend follows a semi-closeted lifeguard who meets an out-and-proud artist, for a one-night stand. Imagine the feels of Before Sunrise, but the characters’ chemistry is more deliberate.
Billie and Emma (2018)
Billie and Emma is set in an all-girls Catholic school during the mid-’90s, where the school’s star student named Emma, announces her pregnancy during the morning assembly. Life for her becomes more bearable when she found herself enamored with the new transfer student named Billie, a tough-as-nails/rockstar wannabe who softens up when their friendship blossomed into romance.
The Way He Looks (2014)
Leonardo is a blind teenager who wants to be independent. No special treatment. No aid from anybody, especially not his best friend Giovana. But that changed when he met Gabriel. He doesn’t treat Leonardo like an outsider. Sure, he treats him different from everybody. But it’s because of fondness. Never pity. From the day they met, Gabriel becomes a huge part of Leonardo’s coming-of-age. This is where we see him blossom.
Fourth Man Out (2016)
Does a progressive bro film exist? Well, 4th Man Out might answer that. In Adam’s 24th birthday, he decided to come out to everybody, including his ride or die dudebro squad. They slowly come to terms with Adam coming out. But what really bonded them? Helping their friend navigate his sexuality together. No matter how alarmingly straight they are.
This dramedy starring Eddie Garcia is a Cinemalaya classic. In Bwakaw, he plays a lonely gay man who’s turned cynical. He’s counting the days of his passing. A lot of people hate his pessimistic attitude. To be fair, he sort of hates them too. The only thing he doesn’t hate is his dog. It’s a comedy on fearing death, growing loneliness, and coming in terms with one’s sexuality. Safe to say—it’s pretty layered.
Yes or No (2009)
Pie shocked to learn that her roommate Kim is a tomboy. But that didn’t last long. Soon enough, they have that bond every roommate develop. But it’s not just any bond for Pie. As they spend more time together, she finds herself falling for Kim. It’s a miracle. Finally, we get the wholesome lesbian rom-com we deserve.
Read more: 8 underrated films made by female filmmakers
Boy Meets Girl (2014)
It’s a romantic comedy about a young trans woman named Ricky. She lives in a small town, dreaming to be a designer in New York. As her dreams in the Big Apple waits, she works as a barista in a local cafe. This is where she meets Francesca—someone who’ll change her life in huge ways.
Still from The Way He Looks