From transgender movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime to independent shorts by trans and non-binary filmmakers on YouTube, here’s a round-up of the best trans films.
We asked trans and bisexual man Stephan Kyriacou, and non-binary pansexual Cara Buchanan, to share their favourite transgender movies to watch – and why.
Watch the video below to see their transgender movie reviews:
“We’ve both included films in this list that involve cis actors playing trans roles, and I know that’s a controversial topic. I know that’s not something that’s as acceptable nowadays and shouldn’t be as acceptable nowadays, I agree, because there’s a lot more resources, there’s a lot more resources,” explains Stephan.
“But in terms of these films, for the time they were made in, I don’t think they should be completely be written off.”
Cara agrees: “If it’s an old film, you can appreciate it for what it is – trans people were practically erased at that point.
“Nowadays I feel like there isn’t really an excuse for it.”
1. Boys Don’t Cry.
This 1988 biographical film is a dramatisation of the real-life story of Brandon Teena, an American trans man played in the film by Hilary Swank.
“Even before I knew I was trans, I watched this and was floored,” says Stephan.
“I feel like it does quite accurately what a lot of trans people go through.
“The biggest criticism for that film would just be that he was played by a cis woman but considering the time it was made, that I feel is just quite impressive – the fact they wanted to give a voice to this person.”
2019 indie film TRANSFINITE was directed by non-binary, Indian filmmaker Neelu Bhuman.
The sci-fi feature film is composed of seven standalone short stories where supernatural trans and queer people from various cultures use their powers to ‘protect, love, teach, fight and thrive’.
“It was so trippy – I had no idea what’s going on but I love it,” says Cara.
3. Brace, on YouTube.
Written by and starring transgender filmmaker Jake Graf, Brace is a short film available to view on YouTube.
The short tells the story of two trans men who don’t realise upon meeting that the other person is transgender.
“It basically deals with a lot of internalised transphobia – it’s relatable and it’s real,” says Stephan.
4. Paris is Burning, on Netflix.
The controversial documentary about queer ballroom culture that inspired POSE and many RuPaul’s Drag Race catchphrases is one of Cara’s top picks.
“When I watched it I didn’t know what a trans person was – it really opened up my mind,” says Cara.
5. Boy Meets Girl.
Boy Meets Girl is a rarity among transgender movies for being a rom com with a happy ending.
The main character, Ricky, is a transgender woman living in a small town in Kentucky, looking for love, when she gets a crush on a girl.
“She’s funny, she’s rude, she’s got no filter,” says Cara. “Absolutely loved it.”
6. Ma Vie en Rose.
Ma Vie en Rose, or My Life in Pink, is a 90s Belgian movie is about a young kid named Ludovic who is viewed by the community as a boy but wishes to be seen as a girl.
“There’s this one scene where she’s playing with her mum’s make-up – it’s such a mood,” says Cara.
The film was unusually given a R rating in the US, rumoured to be because it was about being transgender.
7. Tangerine, on Amazon Prime.
Filmed entirely on an iPhone, Tangerine sheds light on what it’s like to be a trans sex worker.
“It summarised chasers really well, which is something that’s good to talk about because I never see that in films, how trans people are fetishised,” says Stephan.
“Normally it’s disguised in transphobia but I don’t think there’s ever a focus on the people who are nice to trans people because they want to hook up with them.”
“It does happen but it’s not addressed,” adds Cara. “If you’re a trans person you can spot chaser behaviour in films but it’s never addressed.”
Romeos is 2011 German tragicomedy film about a transgender man who is also gay – something we often don’t get to see in films.
“I mean, that’s like all of my friendship group,” laughs Cara.
The movie show the trans character using a binder, dealing with using toilets, and in one scene he even removes his packer and sticks it on the side of the bath.
“The amount of times I was like: ‘Oh my god, me! Oh my god, same! Relatable!’” says Stephan.
Watch more LGBT TV and film content, including more on transgender movies, on PinkNews’ YouTube channel.