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We Exist, Arcade Fire

The indie band, Arcade Fire, released this music video for their song “We Exist” in 2014. The video features Andrew Garfield, a cisgender actor, portraying the role of a transgender individual living in a small town. His character is seen getting ready for a night out on the town, being beaten by some local bikers, then dancing onstage at an Arcade Fire concert. After its release, the music video got mixed reactions. Many people saw the music video as an empowering anthem, while others criticized the casting of a cisgender as opposed to a transgender actor.


According to the music video, what are some of the daily struggles that transgender people face? How does the main character show that struggle?

What is significant about the song’s title and the lyrics in relation to the visibility of the transgender community? How does the ending at the concert offer a particular message about that visibility?

What do you think of the video’s casting and the controversy surrounding it? Is the critique warranted?

Does this video adequately portray the challenges facing the transgender community? What privileges does the cisgender actor in the video have that others in the actual transgender community not possess?

How does the violence this individual character faces also reflect broader instances of violence toward the trans community as a whole? What challenges of being transgender are not portrayed in this music video?


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