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Boys Don’t Cry

The film Boys Don’t Cry (1999) tells the true story of Brandon Teena, a trans man, who, despite struggles to find acceptance and fit in, is murdered at the age of 21 in 1993. The trailer for this biographical film (biopic) shows the discrimination and violence Brandon faced alongside the romance and intimacy he found with Lana. The trailer begins with exploring who Brandon is and what the truth is, and ends by telling viewers that this story is “..about finding the courage…to be yourself.”

discussion

What kind of picture do we get of Brandon Teena from this trailer? What were his priorities and values?

How does the film’s title and the title cards at the end of the trailer tell us about the movie’s themes and perspective on transgender identity?

How do we see discrimination and violence against Brandon? Brandon’s murder occurred in the early 1990s. Do you think this kind of violence against trans individuals is still prevalent today?

Hilary Swank, a cisgender woman, won many awards (including an Oscar) for her portrayal of Brandon Teena. In recent years, we have seen critiques of cisgender actors being hired to play transgender characters while so many trans actors struggle to get roles. Why do you think it’s easier for cisgender actors to be hired to play transgender characters?