In honor of this creative holiday (check out TransParentDay.org), I'd like to share my TOP FIVE Kids of Trans Movies. Here they are...
5. The Adventures of Sebastian Cole - Great coming of age story about a wayward teen who lives with his transgender step-parent. The coming out scene feels authentic in a swirl of mixed emotions and family members reacting in different ways. LOVE the way that Sebastian comes to accept his parent and, in true teen angst spirit, tests boundaries to the max. This would be higher on the list, but I dislike the unrealistic plot twist toward the end of the film. (I'm not going to spoil it, but wouldn't recommend this film for anyone with fears about their parent's SRS surgery.)
4. TransAmerica* - Felicity Huffman as transgender woman on a road trip with her recently discovered son, who doesn't know that she's his dad. Cue Oscar music. Cue new standard cultural reference for transgender people and their family members. Complaints about this film - Why did they cast a Desperate Housewife to play a transgender woman? There are actually plenty of transgender women who could have played this role. Calpernia Addams and Kate Bornstein both come to mind. Also, I still cringe at the awkward moment when the son unwittingly makes a pass at his own parent. Ugh.
*Not to be confused with the tower in SF.
3. Southern Comfort - Tender documentary about the final months of Robert Eads, a transgender man who died of ovarian cancer after being refused medical treatment by numerous doctors. Robert's relationship with his grown son is sweet and authentic, and Eads himself speaks about the experience of giving birth. Have your hanky close by, for the tears you will shed over the loss of this man's life and the despicable barriers transphobia places to health care. I had the pleasure of attending the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta (featured in the film) and witnessed the work of the Robert Eads Health Project, which provides trans men with medical care and provides trainings for practitioners to treat FTM patients.
2. No Dumb Questions - So, the transgender family member in this documentary is the uncle, not a parent. However, this is the only film I have seen that provides an honest look at talking to young children about transgender loved ones. Chelsea (11), Olivia (9), and Abby (5) love their uncle Bill, who they are about to meet as Aunt Barbara for the first time. Their conversations are so illustrative of the girls' developmental stages and personalities. If you need to talk to a child about being transgender, watch this movie!
1. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - The child in this film doesn't appear until toward the end, but the quest of the gay cross-dresser parent and fabulous friends is an incredible journey. The parent questions their own ability to be a good parent. But guess what? You CAN be. and she is. With a sweet soundtrack, incredible visuals, and clever writing, Priscilla IS queen of the desert. AND it looks like they made it into a musical!
Happy TransParent Day!!