TransGriot Note: An open letter to President Obama concerning the upcoming Trans Movie Night on Monday from Annalise Ophelian that needs to be signal boosted
Dear Mr. President,
On behalf of Miss Major and everyone on the MAJOR! production team, we’re excited about the upcoming transgender movie night at the White House, as part of your LGBT Artists Champions of Change campaign. But we can’t help but notice that your media selections, The Danish Girl and episodes of Transparent, don’t offer particularly robust representation of transgender people. In particular, we’re concerned that you’ve chosen two works about trans women who are played by cisgender men, and that they focus on a limited white European perspective.
To help correct for this imbalance, we’d love to offer the White House an advance screening of our own documentary, MAJOR!, which follows the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. Miss Major is a 74-year-old Black transgender elder and activist, a veteran of the Stonewall Uprising and a survivor of Attica State Prison, who has been advocating for trans women of color for over 40 years.
We’d also like to suggest you check out the following films, which were made by trans folks or feature trans actors and actresses playing trans characters, and focus on the stories of trans folks of color. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but it’s a place to start, and we get that you’ve got a busy schedule.
You’ll notice that a lot of these films are documentaries. We think this has something to do with the incredible need for authenticity and truth telling about transgender lives.
STILL BLACK: a portrait of black transmen, dir. Kortney Ziegler (2008)
Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria, dir. Susan Stryker & Victor Silverman (2005)
Remember Me in Red, dir. Hector Ceballos (2010)
Tangerine, dir. Sean S. Baker (2015)
Pay it No Mind: Marsha P. Johnson, dir. Michael Kasino (2012)
The Believers, dir. Todd Holland (2006)
Gun Hill Road, dir. Rashaad Ernesto Green (2011)
Transgender Tuesdays: A Clinic in the Tenderloin, dir. Nathaniel Walters-Koh & Mark Freeman (2012)
And in 2016, we hope you have the opportunity to check out Happy Birthday, Marsha! and Free CeCe!, two amazing upcoming films that center Black trans women in their own narratives of survival and resilience.
With warm regards,
Annalise Ophelian, Psy.D.