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Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives

Directors Aerlyn Weissman, Lynne Fernie
Year 1992
Run Time 85min
Genre Documentary

This Canadian documentary chronicles the era of lesbian-themed pulp romance paperbacks of the 1950s, a time when titles such as “Odd Girl Out” spoke to the isolated and confused young lesbians of the era. Ten women (including one of the authors of these novels), talk about being queer in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, discovering these books, and going through their own first love affairs and painful breakups.

The hardships they faced (from being shunned by their families to enduring police raids) are interspersed with archival footage and four dramatized chapters from a pulp novel, Forbidden Love. The desperate measures resorted to by the protagonists in these works of pulp fiction are shown to have been quite tame compared to the real-life experiences of these women.

The film won the Genie Award for best feature documentary.

“It is testimony to how clever the film and filmmakers are that a documentary about history continues to seem so utterly timeless.” – Matthew Hays, POV Magazine


Aerlyn Weissman, Lynne Fernie


Aerlyn Weissman, Lynne Fernie


Margaret Pettigrew, Ginny Stikeman




Female Filmmaker, LGBTQ2S+

Original Languages

English, French

Language Versions

EN CC, EN Subtitles

Canadian Distributor