8 Times The Films And Stars Of TIFF 2015 Changed The Conversation About Sexuality

Film festivals bring features, shorts and documentaries from all corners of the world, highlighting some worlds that look very similar to our own, and others that look very, very different. At this year's Toronto International Film Festival, several movies and real life events seemed particularly relevant to today, when issues of gender and sexuality seem to be constantly in the spotlight. From gay marriage to transgender issues to just being allowed to be who you are, here are eight big moments from this year's TIFF that changed the conversation on gender and sexuality.

  1. "Freeheld"

    This movie, starring Ellen Page and Julianne Moore, chronicles the fairly recent battle of a lesbian couple fighting for pension rights after one of them is diagnosed with cancer. The film highlighted an important aspect of the fight for equal rights: it's not just about being allowed to marry, it's about what happens after death do us part.

  2. "Closet Monster"

    This Canadian indie doesn't boast big-name stars, but it does explore the ways our peers' words and actions when we're young can create ripples that last the rest of our lives. Oscar (Connor Jessup) witnesses a violent hate crime when he's young, further complicating his adolescent turmoil over his sexuality and identity.

  3. Tom Hardy shuts down a reporter.

    Bane doesn't suffer fools, and big ups to him for this very public shut-down of an inappropriate question. "Are you asking about my sexuality?" Hardy asked a reporter at a press conference shuffling sideways into a line of questioning about Hardy's orientation. "Why?" Does it matter? Nope. The end. Shut. Down.

  4. Ellen Page makes her red carpet debut with girlfriend Samantha Thomas.
    FilmMagic

    The adorable couple stepped out for the premiere of "Freeheld," a first for the duo and something we hope to see happen much more often.

  5. "About Ray"

    Elle Fanning stars in this moving film about a transgender teen and his struggle to find acceptance in the world and his own family. It's hard to leave this one without thinking about who we are born as, versus the body we are born with.

  6. "The Danish Girl"

    This much-anticipated film stars Eddie Redmayne as a painter who is one of the first people to ever undergo sexual reassignment surgery. Stigma, beauty, pain, love: it's all there. Redmayne and "The Danish Girl" will be in the news for months, hopefully to positive ends.

  7. "Demolition"

    In the new Jake Gyllenhaal movie, a young character questions his sexuality, shaking up the storyline and highlighting the struggles of teens figuring out who they are.

  8. "Legend"

    One of Tom Hardy's twin characters in this awards season heavyweight is gay, and the stigma associated with his sexuality in the time period -- and his social position -- is certainly not ignored.