LOS ANGELES, Calif. — In honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, Revry premiered the award-winning, Sundance-backed documentary series “America in Transition,” a Revry original that explores the community, family and social issues of transgender people of color across in the U.S. Featured were a veteran turned activist, an immigrant seeking home, a woman living with HIV healing from trauma and a model navigating family life.
Transgender filmmaker, educator and community organizer, André Pérez, founded the Trans Oral History Project in 2008, motivated by the isolation he felt growing up in a military family in Virginia. Perez journeyed across the country to document the subjects of the series. Each of the four episodes explores one person’s story in depth, tackling intersectional issues such as HIV criminalization, living as a transgender individual in the South, family acceptance, transgender exclusion from the military and immigrant detention.
“America in Transition is a compelling and powerful portrait of trans people surviving in a world built for their exclusion, said Zachary Drucker, producer of “Transparent.”
“[The series] was initially inspired by my own experience coming of age in North Carolina and starting my transition as a youth in rural Vermont,” said Pérez. “I had questions about everything from healthcare access to navigating relationships, but I had no one to ask. Without role models or institutional support, I felt like I had to come to the city to find myself. I went on to found the Trans Oral History Project. Over the past seven years, I’ve interviewed trans folks across the country who express parallel stories of being told trans didn’t fit with other aspects of our personhood. How can you be trans and Muslim or black or Mexican or Southern? We found ways to reconcile the seemingly disparate parts of who we are.”
The “transgender tipping point” came in 2015, project representatives shared. But 2016 brought some of the most regressive civil rights legislation in modern U.S. history. “Transgender people have become the targets of radical social conservatives who are leveraging fear and ignorance to create a social climate of increasing and unrelenting hostility — a culture war, as Southern lawmakers fight the federal government in order to protect the supposed ‘right’ for businesses (Mississippi and North Carolina), schools (Texas), and even health professionals (Tennessee and Texas) to discriminate against transgender people. [The series] uses character-driven storytelling in order to highlight issues of importance to trans people in marginalized communities.”
The series is about how environments shape humanity. It complicates notions of social change in under-represented communities.
“This is a crucial moment to help people understand how trans realities differ based on identity, geography and social context. The world is changing for the white, upper-middle class people we see on mainstream television, but trans people of color, immigrants and working class families face a different world. ‘America in Transition’ focuses on relationships as it explores where, when and how change happens in a complex individual, a diverse community and a divided nation,” producers said.