Film Review: Changing the Game
|MICHAEL BARNETT’S thought-provoking documentary about the trials and triumphs of trans teenager athletes was made in the Trump era where society was encouraged to express rampant transphobia. In fact, violently oppose everything that was not about white cis-gendered men.Whilst the topic of trans sportsmen and women may surface in the media quite often, it is being confronted by the reality of what they face on a daily basis helps us understand how very serious it all is. And that’s exactly what this documentary does Barnett follows three teen trans in different US States. That in itself is important as each State has different rules of what these teenagers can and cannot do. In Texas where MACK BEGGS a high school wrestler lives, he is forced to wrestle girls even though he is very much a boy.Beggs is being raised by his very loving grandparents. Whilst his elderly grandpa still struggles with Mack’s pronouns, his Grandma. a devout Christian, Republican, and a gun-totting Sherriff’s Deputy could not be more supportive of her grandson. She confesses to studying the bible at great length and when she found that God would acceptMack without question, she decided to do the same.|
Even living in an accepting household like this, Beggs must still deal with the hostility hurled at him …. mainly by adults, … when he is out competing. His grandmother tells Barnett that she feels if they had not fully accepted Mack he would definitely have been part of the 40% of trans teens in the US who commit suicide or attempt it, every single year.
Begg’s very supportive Coach suggests that the whole subject of being a champion is what irritates people most, they would be more willing to accept him if he didn’t win every time.
|In New Hampshire, trans SARAH ROSE HUCKMAN gets to ski with the other female skiers. She talked about often holding back from winning her events to avoid the inevitable outcry of ‘unfair’. The very articulate Huckman becomes an activist and a major force in the movement who successfully get the State to pass legislation to level the playing field and stop discrimination.Huckman’s actions are a gamble and could have backfired. Most trans would prefer to remain under the radar and out of the glare from the (mostly reactionary) media, yet she was actively encouraging it.The third athlete that Barnett features is a champion runner ANDRAYA YEARWOOD. After one of her runs, she is met by a woman screaming and accusing Yearwood of single-handled undoing women’s rights that she had fought for. Every adult who vents such anger at these teens likes to suggest that the basis of their complaints is what they allege is the unfairness of (the success of) trans athletes but you can sense it is based in a much deeper inbred hatred.One of the school Principals summed up her own attitude very succinctly She claimed that it is impossible to accept these teens transitioning in everyday life, but then demand they revert back when it comes to playing sports.In a world where coming out as gay has gotten much easier, we now need to turn our attention to support trans kids living their true identity We have an incredibly long way to go to ensure that no teen again is ever so unhappy, that they end their own lives. Getting rid of Trump is only the first step.|