12 Gays of Christmas

3 of 13


This movie makes the list despite potentially being considered a fringe Christmas movie. It happens to be set on Christmas Eve, but that doesn’t mean it’s a totally a Christmas movie. Specifically, I would not necessarily recommend popping this in while you trim the tree with the fam.

Throughout the course of one night, we follow transgender sex workers, Sin-Dee and Alexandra, as they navigate through the messy streets of Hollywood. We watch as their friendships are tested, their relationships are questioned, their careers (aspiring and otherwise) fluctuate and, perhaps most interestingly, how they function within their world.

This movie feels revolutionary in several ways, the first being that it was shot completely on iPhones, which makes it more aesthetically accessible and real. Additionally, the portrayal of these transgender women as our heroes who are not struggling with their sexual or gender identities or working toward changing themselves, but simply ARE feels radical. We almost never get to see the type of representation where trans folks are simply existing in their bodies and living their lives without the dramatic narrative of social and cultural acceptance.

And for what it’s worth, these women are funny. They’re interesting. They’re endearing, sometimes heartbreaking, but mostly, exciting. We watch them without judgment, knowing full well the way the rest of the world could and often does look at sex workers, but still never feel the need to judge them in the context of their narrative. Tangerine is definitely worth a watch, and whether you’re an LGBTQ+ person, or just a human interested in the human experiences of other humans, you’ll likely get more out of it than you’d ever expected.