Filmmaker Tony Zosherafatain chronicles the challenges faced by trans people under the Trump administration in a four part docuseries Trans in Trumpland.
In 2020, Zosherafatain told the Daily Beast, “Trump’s actions have left me feeling invisible, threatened, and unsure about the future. So, I was like, ‘OK, I need to do this. I need to combine my trans identity, my Iranian-American identity and my fear and translate that into film to help tell our stories.’”
Trans in Trumpland takes viewers across the red states of North Carolina, Texas, Mississippi and Idaho. It features an Idaho-based army veteran of Native American descent grappling with the trans military ban, a 13 year-old student living in the aftermath of the State’s 2016 “bathroom bill,” and a woman who was held at a men’s ICE detention center.
A teaser trailer for the docuseries opens up with Trump promising to “do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens.” These words stand in stark contrast to the lived reality of trans people in America who have suffered under his presidency.
During a time when America celebrates Biden taking office, the documentary provides a heart wrenching look back at the past four years as well as an urgent reminder on what needs to be changed. In a statement, Zosherafatain shared, “The past four years were devastating for me. I witnessed and experienced daily attacks on my rights.”
Among numerous first steps taken by the Biden administration towards undoing these harmful attacks on trans rights, the official White House website has updated their visitor registration form to be more inclusive of gender identities. People can now choose a longer list of options, such as the gender-neutral prefix Mx.
On day one of the Biden administration, it was announced that the government intended to reverse the trans military ban as part of the additional executive orders in the coming days. The President’s nominee for secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, said, “If you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve and you can expect that I will support that throughout.”
Biden has also offered hope for young trans athletes to take part in school and college sports under their identified gender. The directive states, “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.”
The directive further expresses that the incoming administration will “prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.”
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