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Top 10 closet cases in cinema

Ahoy! Pride Month 2012 is upon us (already??) and to that end, we are rolling out some notable films that feature the sometimes painful journey toward a proud, authentic existence – a journey that often involves years in the closet. In a time when “it gets better”, when coming out may feel like a redundant, strategic or long-overdue (ahem, Anderson Cooper) tactic, it’s important to remember that on the individual level, this is still a huge milestone in a queer person’s life, a brutally honest moment when each person claims a little more of his or her true self.

We owe a lot to the following narratives and their characters – the ones who make the brave decision to come out and even the ones who never get to be that bold – since they serve as a boon for those who struggle today, and remind others of the formative and common experience of what it means to come out. If only some of these folks could’ve attended a pride parade.

10. Megan (and everyone else) in BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER

This quirky and clever satire on the ex-gay movement puts a charmingly clueless Natasha Lyonne in the middle of a group of sorely misguided folks as they ostensibly do whatever it takes to remain in the closet, in spite of comically burgeoning libidos. The fun of CHEERLEADER is that it manages to strike a near-perfect balance between outrageous camp (Cathy Moriarty and RuPaul as ex-gay “educators”, need we say more?), sneaky dark comedy and even some heartfelt moments: Lyonne’s love scene with Clea Duvall remains one of the most beautiful—and surprising.

Check out cinema’s Top 10 closet cases.

Watch Sundance Channel’s Films to Go Gay For. Fridays at 8P all month long.