12 Important Lesbian Documentaries

Have you heard the story of the lesbian couple who spent five years fighting for their right to raise a family? What about the case of the lesbian detective who just wanted to ensure that her partner received the appropriate pension benefits after her death? Or how four Latina lesbians spent 15 years in jail on false child abuse charges? These are just three of the many documentaries about lesbians that you should be watching.

Whether you’re spending this weekend vegging out on the couch, or you only have an hour or two spare, here are 12 of my must-watch documentaries starring lesbian or bisexual women.

Relationships and Family


Freeheld (2007)


Still from Freeheld Trailer

When Detective Laurel Hester is diagnosed with terminal cancer, all she wants to do is ensure that her partner Stacie will be financially provided for but the Freeholder Board in Ocean County, New Jersey, refuses to allow Laurel’s pension benefits to be passed on to Stacie; despite being legally allowed to.

As a result, Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s LGBTQ+ advocacy group, organizes hundreds of people to speak at each Freeholder meeting and for then-Governor Jon Corzine to call the Board about the issue until they finally relent. Their decision was made only a short time before Laurel’s death, meaning they’d made a dying woman fight until her last breath for this small bit of equality.


Mommy Mommy (2007)


Still from Mommy Mommy Trailer


Linda Ludwick and Mona Laviolette spent five long years trying to start a family in Quebec, but they ran into many problems.

After trying unsuccessfully to conceive naturally using a sperm donor, they approached their local fertility clinic only to learn that their services were not available to lesbians. Even after the homophobic policy was overturned- thanks to an official complaint filed by another couple and the Quebec Human Rights Commission- Linda and Mona were still unable to conceive.

They turned to adoption and, after learning that the wait for local adoptions could be as much as 10 years, attempted to adopt from the US. Problem? The only US adoption agency approved by Quebec was a Christian one that wouldn’t place children with same-sex couples.

Thankfully, they do manage to adopt two Canadian children, but it’s heartbreaking that two loving parents were prevented from stopping a family because of homophobia on two occasions.


A Union in Wait (2001)


Wendy Scott (left) and Susan Parker (right) in front of Wake Forest University’s Wait Chapel via Wikipedia


In 1997, long-time partners and Baptist Church members Susan Parker and Wendy Scott wanted to have a union ceremony in Wake Forest University’s Wait Chapel, but their request was denied by the traditional Baptist University.

However, Susan and Wendy- with the backing of their church, gay rights activists, and sympathetic members of the community- were prepared for a fight that made national headlines and divided the residents of North Carolina.