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Revry.tv commemorates National Trans Day of Visibility with an incisive four-part series by André Pérez that examines four very different experiences of being trans in America. The circumstances of each subject, all activists, range from relative privilege to active persecution by the government, but each recounts the struggles that trans people face on a daily basis for dignity and acceptance that CIS people don’t.
Each subject of the four-part series highlights that struggle, from Z Shane Zaldivar, a trans man honorably discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell”, recounting the gut-punch that being told by the service he loves that he’s not good enough to die for his country, to the trans couple, Nina and Greta, fighting Nina’s deportation after a fateful decision to drive through Arizona to avoid the snow in the Rockies. The right to serve, the right to have one’s relationship recognized, things that the CIS population takes for granted, when seen through this prism people denied their fundamental rights takes on the sinister cast that it deserves. The solace of what Armistead Maupin calls a logical, rather than biological, family becomes a springboard for the activism that this sort of oppressions should, and does, engender.
Pérez doesn’t stop there. In a segment about trans model Dezjorn Gauthier, he considers a trans man with few of the issues the others have faced, but who did not escape the difficulties his transition caused in his relationship with his mother. While Dezjorn breaks new ground smiling from the covers of magazine to both further his career and to show trans kids that there is a life full of possibilities for them, he is also shown spending time with his cancer-stricken mother during her last days. Their conversations about what he did and didn’t tell her growing up is heartbreaking in what it says about the strictures imposed on a loving family by outside cultural expectation.
AMERICA IN TRANSITION depicts the harsh realities of living in a transphobic society, but it refuses to surrender to despair. The resilience and courage of the people who have chosen to share their stories in more than just inspirational. It’s a call to action. It’s a promise that answering that call will make a difference.