Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives

Director: Aerlyn Weissman, Lynne Fernie Year: 1992 Run Time: 85min
Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives (Amours interdites : au-delà des préjugés, vies et paroles de lesbiennes) (1992)

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




English, French


EN Subtitles

Closed Captioning:


Ratings by Province:

NR Alberta
NR British Columbia
NR Manitoba
14 New Brunswick
NR Newfoundland and Labrador
14 Nova Scotia
NR Northwest Territories
NR Nunavut
NR Ontario
14 Prince Edward Island
13+ Québec
NR Saskatchewan
NR Yukon