Full stop: You can’t talk about the history of queer cinema without also talking about the history of ‘all-male’ cinema. In an era where the best representation Hollywood could muster often amounted to little more than “nelly queen”, “closet case” or “self-hating murderer”, it was up to gay filmmakers to make gay movies for gay audiences. And that they did—in my estimation, roughly 1,000 gay adult feature films were made and released theatrically in the eighteen-year span from 1968 to 1986.
These are films that use just about every conceivable genre—documentary, comedy, drama, romance, western, sci-fi, horror and so on—to explore themes and issues that we’re still dealing with today. Coming out. Gay marriage. The struggle between monogamy and promiscuity. Gender performance. Gay capitalism. Nothing is new, even if the budgets have since gotten much bigger.