Just 4 days after American/Iranian filmmaker TONY ZOSHERAFATAIN finished his transitioning, Trump was elected President. Despite his occasional rhetoric about wanting to be the President for all Americans, what followed was the most divisive and hate-ridden four years in our country’s history. Some of the worst hit were the transgender community which Trump and the Far Right were hell-bent on completely destroying.
From his relative comfort in liberal New York City Zosherafatain decided to hit the road with a camera crew to see how other transgender people were faring in the ultra conservative States. By observing and talking to four people at different parts of their own journey, Zosherafatain manages to give us such an intimate look at so the obstacles they had to overcome. Many of which will come as such a surprise to most of us resulting in giving us a better understanding of some of their enormous personal struggles.
In the first episode (of 4) we meet teenage Ash who gets visibly distraught every time his school insist in dead-naming him. When he legally changed his name, the Court insisted in publishing the reason, along with his full address that went on the public record, putting him at risk. He and his very supportive single parent mother live in South Carolina where even when Ash is prescribed medication for his physical transitioning, local pharmacies refuse to supply them.
In Texas, Zosherafatain meets Rebecca a trans Latinx immigrant from Mexico. She is fear of her daily life as the Authorities can stop you on a whim, and without papers, hand you over to ICE who will detain you at their will. This happened to her three times and she was thrown into an overpacked Mens Detention Centre where she was not allowed any of her hormone tables or medications.
ICE are just a collection of racist thugs who are allowed to physically and mentally torture undocumented immigrants totally unchecked by other Authorities who actively encourage their brutality
Rebecca is a very resilient woman, and we see her as one of the lucky ones as she is granted Asylum status which finally gives her the legal right to live here. It will however still not protect from the continued violence that every transgender women faces on a daily basis in places like Texas.
Many transgenders chose to lay low and ‘fit in’ unnoticed in society. That is not the case with Evonne a larger-than-life woman with a taste for outrageous clothes and her stunningly distinctive hairstyle. But this is Mississippi still an unfriendly placed for African Americans ,let only transgender ones.
Her bravado makes her life bearable and gave her the energy to found the very first Black Non-Profit to help others in her area. Yet she shares she has still not recovered from her best friend, another trans woman, being brutally murdered. Its the reason why this seemingly happy-go-lucky religious woman carries a gun in her purse everywhere.
Zosherafatain’s last port of call is Idaho where he meets Shane a native-American transgender man. Shane is ex-Military and was still in the Marines when Trump introduced his Ban on trans men and women in the Services. He actually became part of the unsuccessful Campaign to get the Ban rescinded.
As a native-American Shane is considered ‘two-spirit’ . This is the term that Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender ceremonial and social role in their cultures. It gives Shane an acceptance that other transgenders can never get, although it still doesn’t necessary make his life easy in the outside.
Zosherafatain’s compelling series on trans people was made by a trans crew which gave it such real authenticity. With JAMIE DINICOLA as Producer, and actors TRACE LYSETTE, CHELLA MAN, and veteran of the Stonewall Riot, MISS MAJOR GRIFFIN-GRACYserving as Executive Producer.
Every film with a trans film makes a contribution to the continuing dialogue of the transgender community. However this series goes even further giving us on the outside an better insight of what we need to do to help further acceptance,
Trans in Trumpland will be streaming on Topic, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV on February 25th.