We’ve Been Around / This Is Me

Expected to attend: Director Rhys Ernst

Directed by Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker Rhys Ernst (co-producer of Transparent), this special double-anthology screening honors the rich histories of transgender trailblazers and explores the current lived experiences of trans and gender non-conforming (GNC) folks. It can be hard for a community to know its roots when the very community itself has largely been ignored by the historical academy, and revered origin stories, validated by oral histories, have been subject to numerous cis-washed and white-washed fictionalizations of epically disastrous proportions. Celebrating individual resilience, as well as the necessity of creative invention, Ernst’s films offer a refreshing alternative by presenting the past through the eyes of the trans community and documenting tomorrow’s histories today.

Acknowledging that trans people have always been here, often hidden in plain sight, We’ve Been Around is a series of five documentary shorts that chronicles the lives of Lucy Hicks Anderson, Albert Cashier, Little Ax, and Lou Sullivan, and the founding of S.T.A.R. From the narrators to the composer to the animator, the series was made with a breadth of talent from the trans community, including Transparent actress Alexandra Billings, writer and filmmaker Susan Stryker, and trans historian Monica Roberts. Produced by Focus Features, with Nonetheless Productions and in association with 11B Productions, We’ve Been Around is currently under Emmy consideration.

This Is Me is an online series surveying contemporary issues faced by the trans and GNC community. Each episode focuses on a specific issue, from gender-neutral language to public restrooms. The films explore the real-life struggles and triumphs of individuals like D’Lo (starring in Frameline40’s Bruising for Besos), Valerie Spencer (Beautiful Daughters), Rocco Kayiatos (Original Plumbing magazine), Lily Rubenstein (Looking), Miss Barbie-Q (Leave It On The Floor), and more, bringing humor and honesty to these timely issues.

An expanded Q&A conversation with filmmaker Rhys Ernst will follow this screening.

— Desiree Buford

Co-presented by:
The GLBT Historical Society

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