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Documentaries on Transgender Issues

The following WMST-L discussion from September 2008 offers suggestions for a
documentary appropriate for a college course section on transgender politics. 
At the end of the file is a message from 2010. For additional WMST-L files on
the Web, see the WMST-L File Collection.
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 16:42:57 -0400
From: Gail Dines <gdines AT WHEELOCK.EDU>
Subject: Documentary on Transgender Issues
I am teaching a section on Transgender politics and I am looking for a good
documentary. Suggestions most welcome.


Gail Dines

Gail Dines
Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies
Chair of American Studies
Wheelock College
35 Pilgrim Road
Boston, MA 02215
gdines AT wheelock.edu
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 17:09:45 -0400
From: Elizabeth Ruchti <lizruchti AT MSN.COM>
Subject: Re: Documentary on Transgender Issues
Though problematic in areas, the film Middle Sexes is very useful for
introducing students to all sorts of issues about gender and biological sex. I
also find that even the limitations of the film provide for interesting ways
into conversations about things like Eurocentricism within gender/sex
discourses and visibility issues for f to m trans. Besides, it is narrated by
Gore Vidal and his voice is very pretty to listen to.

Elizabeth Simon Ruchti , Ph.D.

E.O. Bull 037 
Department of Theatre 
West Chester University of Pennsylvania 
West Chester, PA 19383 
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 15:34:50 -0600
From: Chelsey Clammer <watermisbehaves AT GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Documentary on Transgender Issues
Two sugguestions:
Boy I Am (about FTM trans experience): http://boyiam.mayfirst.org/About.html
Cruel and Unusual (about trans women in prison):

Hope this helps!
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 18:20:55 -0400
From: Reese Kelly <rck517 AT GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Documentary on Transgender Issues
Here are a few titles to check out!

Transsexual Menace: http://www.mediarights.org/film/transexual_menace.php
Screaming Queens: http://www.screamingqueensmovie.com/
Toilet Training: http://www.srlp.org/films/toilettraining


Reese Carey Kelly
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Sociology
University at Albany, SUNY
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 13:42:31 -1000
From: Hannah Miyamoto <hsmiyamoto AT MSN.COM>
Subject: Re: Documentary on Transgender Issues
  You specifically asked for "Transgender Politics."  "Middle Sexes" does
not cover efforts to change laws, etc.  The A&E network series
"Investigative Reports," produced "Transgender Revolution" in 1998.  Among
other things, the video introduces Nancy Nangeroni, and her MIT
broadcast/Internet radio program GenderTalk.  The series is anchored and
narrated by the very authoritative Bill Kurtis:


Hannah Miyamoto
Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa
hsmiyamoto AT msn.com
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 19:39:51 -0500
From: Jessica Ketcham Weber <etoilebleu AT GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Documentary on Transgender Issues
I would recommend Transparent ( http://www.transparentthemovie.com/ ), a
documentary about 19 transmen who gave birth to children, both before and
after transitioning. The film is very good at provoking discussion among
students about topics such as essentialized concepts of parenting/mothering
and current policies/laws affecting transparents.

Good luck!

Jessica Ketcham Weber | www.etoilebleu.com
Women's & Gender Studies Program Coordinator | www.lsu.edu/wgs
PhD Candidate in Literacy, Media, and Cultural Studies
Department of English, Louisiana State University
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 00:29:36 +0000
From: Chris Starkey <cstarkey7 AT COMCAST.NET>
Subject: Re: Documentary on Transgender Issues
You might also look into "Southern Comfort", which adresses the experience more
from a f-t-m viewpoint.  The documentary takes on a number of issues, but the
issue of proper healthcare is the elephant in the living room...the leading
figure in the film is dying of ovarian cancer and is repeatedly refused


Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 08:56:08 -0700
From: Kiesa Kay <oleander_cottage AT YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: viewing suggestion for trans-positive material
My fave trans-positive film is the sweet French film Ma Vie En Rose, about a
youngáperson andáfamily. (Not to be confused with the Edith Piaf flick of
similar title).

kiesa AT oleandercottage.com
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 10:16:46 -0400
From: Gail Dines <gdines AT WHEELOCK.EDU>
Subject: List of Transgender Films
Thanks to everyone who replied. Below is the list:

Transsexual Menace: http://www.mediarights.org/film/transexual_menace.php
Screaming Queens: http://www.screamingqueensmovie.com/
Toilet Training: http://www.srlp.org/films/toilettraining
She's A Boy I Knew
Boy I Am 
Cruel and Unusual
Southern Comfort
100 Percent Woman
Middle Sexes
You Don't know Dick
No Dumb Questions
Transgender Revolution
http://www.trans-academics.org/films (list of movies)

Gail Dines
Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies
Chair of American Studies
Wheelock College
35 Pilgrim Road
Boston, MA 02215
gdines AT wheelock.edu
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008 17:10:35 -0400
From: Joelle Ruby Ryan <joeller AT BGSU.EDU>
Subject: Transgender Documentaries
Trans documentaries for possible use in the classroom include:

Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria: Susan Stryker's brilliant
work about transgender resistance to police brutality in 1966 San Francisco

Cruel and Unusual: the plight of transgender women in men's prisons

Fenced Out: the activist work of LGBT youth of color in NYC to protest police
brutality and gentrification on the Christopher Street piers

Toilet Training: the harassment and organizing efforts of transpeople and
allies in public restrooms

Transgender Revolution: an overview of trans identity and trans activism in the

Boy I Am: one of the few films which engages with feminist and lesbian
critiques of trans identities through exploring the lives of three FTMs

TransAmazon: A Genderqueer Journey (full disclosure: I co-produced this): my
trans life and activist efforts in rural NH

Paris is Burning: gay and trans African Americans and Latinos in 1980s NYC and
the house system and balls they participate in

The Believers: the story of the world's first transgender gospel choir

Pick up the Mic: an interesting film about LGBT hip hop artists, it is
inclusive of bi and trans artists

Southern Comfort: the poignant story of FTM Robert Eads and his fight to
receive culturally competent medical care in rural Georgia when he is diagnosed
with ovarian cancer

You Don't Know Dick: profiles of several female-to-male transsexuals

Trappings of Transhood: profiles of trans-masculine spectrum people in the Bay

Call Me Malcolm: documentary about a transgender seminary student and his
struggles with faith and gender identity

Mind If I Call You Sir?: doc about the lives of Latino FTMs in the Bay Area

Georgie Girl: Documentary about Georgina Beyers, a Maori transsexual elected to
Parliament in New Zealand

Paper Dolls: story showing the lives of Filipino MTF transgender immigrants to
Israel who care for Orthodox Jewish men by day and by night perform in a drag

Bombay Eunuch
Harsh Beauty: two docs profiling the lives of hijras, gender-variant persons
often called "eunuchs" in India

Enough Man (this title includes sexually graphic footage): interviews and
scenes of sexuality from a diverse group of female-to-male transpeople

Outlaw: a documentary about the life and work of transgender warrior Leslie

A Boy Named Sue: portrait of an FTM

Girl Inside: portrait of a young MTF and her close relationship with her

Juggling Gender: film about a bearded woman who discusses her life on the
gender line

Sir: Just a Normal Guy: portrait of an FTM

Shinjuku Boys: the lives of gender-variant natal females in Japan who work as
hosts to entertain heterosexual women

Adventures in the Gender Trade: profiles the life of the amazing Kate
Bornstein, transgender writer, theorist and performance artist

Becoming Ayden: profile of a young trans man in Toronto who must deal with the
objections of his father, a conservative rabbi

Joelle Ruby Ryan
joeller AT bgsu.edu
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008 10:51:57 -0700
From: Trystan Cotten <trystan38 AT HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: WMST-L Digest - 14 Sep 2008 to 15 Sep 2008 (#2008-239)
There is a new film out on African American FTMs called....Still Black...Just
released last year...You can google it.
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2010 11:24:32 -0500
From: Outcast Films <vdomico AT OUTCAST-FILMS.COM>
Subject: Transgender Films
As seen in this month's Video Librarian, our collection of award winning
transgender films are now on sale. 
Place your order today by visiting www.outcast-films.com

She's a Boy I Knew (70' Canada, 2007)
Screened at more than 100 festivals world-wide - Winner of 16 audience and
jury awards

"A breakthrough doc of the transgender movement .goes where no film on this
topic has dared to go before: the complex politics and emotions of the
intricate, delicate web of family, friends, lovers and community. an
eye-opening, engrossing odyssey through battles with the health care system,
the physical challenges of surgeries, and the psychological pain of
reclaiming one's self and one's family. Adroit, sharp, and agile in its
hybrid cinematic style, She's a Boy I Knew invites us into not only a life
in transition but into activism."  Patricia R. Zimmermann, Ithaca College
and author, "States of Emergency: Documentaries, Wars, Democracies and Reel

"A a moving story of self-discovery and individual becoming.  Haworth joins
autobiographical narrative home movies from childhood to interviews with
friends and family. These creative juxtapositions open the film up beyond an
individual story of change.  One of the real strengths of She's a Boy I Once
Knew is its ability not to judge any of its interview subjects and its
richly layered depiction of the social matrix within which gendered being
unfolds, changes, becomes." Ann Pellegrini, New York University, Co-author
of "Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance"

Gender Redesigner (72', USA, 2007)
"A provocative, honest, and engaging exploration of the FTM transitioning
process.  A documentary about gay life in America quickly transforms into
another type of journey as the subject in the film, fAe, begins efforts to
transition to a male.  Facing a series of challenges - financial, familial,
and cultural/geographic - fAe's personal strength and supportive network
serve as clear resources in the transitioning process.  Exploring complex
links between biological sex, gender construction, sexual
orientation/identity, and gender passing or blurring, Gender Redesigner is
perfect for classroom use," Lee Harrington, Miami University, Sociology
Affiliate, Women's Studies Program Dept of Sociology & Gerontology.

"Gender Redesigner a touching and personal documentary, an earnest work that
hearkens to the tradition of queer road movies like TRANSAMERICA and
PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT. fAe is funny, insightful, and inspiring, and
the film's real power comes from a concern for its trans subject that
resists sensationalizing or glamorizing. Bergman has constructed a portrait
of a queer protagonist just as he is - an average American young person
trying to find his way in life. Young audiences in particular deserve the
opportunity to experience this optimistic and endearing glimpse into fAe's
life."   Christian J. Gay, Ph.D., SUNY Purchase College, Assistant
Professor, Cinema Studies

Cruel and Unusual (64', USA, 2006)
"Cruel and Unusual is an in depths look at the plight of transgender women
in men's prisons. This film skillfully weaves moving interviews with
transgender inmates and former inmates with important medical and legal
information about male to female transgenderism. The women are articulate
and their testimonies, as presented here, make a powerful statement about
the conflation of gender variance and criminality in the eyes of the law.
This film would make an invaluable teaching tool in courses on women, class
and race; gender identity; social justice and incarceration."  Judith
Halberstam, USC, author of "Female Masculinity" and "In A Queer Time and
Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives"

"This film is an excellent resource for classroom use!  Cruel and Unusual's
smart, compelling and complex treatment of the issues associated with
transgender women in prison totally captivated my students.  It is a great
resource for discussing theories of sex and gender, the criminal justice
system, the treatment of prisoners, and human rights in the United States.
The filmmakers successfully show the humanity of their subjects while
simulateously providing a sophisticated analysis of how prison policies
address the issues sex and gender.  This film is compelling, entertaining,
provocative, accessible and thoughtful.  I highly recommend it."  Debra
Liebowitz, Associate Professor, Political Science & Women's Studies, Drew

For additional information including full reviews, to view clips, and to
place your order please visit www.outcast-films.com

Outcast Films, your resource for the very best in LGBT film, is a
distribution company dedicated to the fair and equal representation of media
made by or about the diverse Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community.
We are also educators and activists and want to be a vehicle for voices that
may not otherwise be heard.  Outcast Films outreaches to thousands of
teachers, community leaders, activists, policy makers and breakers,
institutions, and individuals. By doing so, we hope to foster critical
discussions around social justice issues, as well as providing the public
with a resource of cutting edge films and videos created by and impacting
the LGBT community.

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