Tomboy

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Tomboy follows 10-year-old transgender boy Laure who moves to a new town and is delighted to realise that he can pass as a boy among his new circle of friends. He impulsively introduces himself as “Mickäel” to his pretty new neighbour Lisa.

The kids are at an age where they’re starting to designate certain people as “popular,” and starting to preen in front of the opposite sex. The short-haired, sharp-featured Mickäel is such a handsome boy that boys and girls alike are immediately drawn to him. Sure, he has to sneak off into the woods alone when all the guys on her soccer team go pee on the sidelines, but he’s a good goal-scorer, he knows how to spit, and he looks lean, fit, and flat with his shirt off.

The film brings an unforced naturalism to scenes of the kids just hanging out, asking goofily intimate questions about whether they’ve ever tasted their own pee—just the way kids act when there are no grown-ups around and they’re showing off for each other. And director Sciamma sensitively explores the fluidity of identity in a sequence where Lisa playfully puts makeup on Mickäel, and one where Mickäel makes a Play-Doh penis he can stuff into his swim trunks. It’s just fun to see Mickäel enjoying the chance to be who he feels he really is as long as he can.

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They

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In most cases trans kids know who they are, even at a young age. They don’t tell their families they “want to be” a gender different from their body parts. They say they are that gender, and it is usually their families who have to reframe their understanding of the boy or girl they thought they had.

Even the most certain of kids and the most supportive of families face a challenge as their child approaches adolescence. Do you block puberty with medication to preserve the child’s choices about gender until later?

“They” and “their” are the preferred pronouns for the lead character, known just as J, and played by a trans actor named Rhys Fehrenbacher. J is a young teen who is having an adverse reaction to the puberty blockers and has to decide what to do. J’s parents are away caring for another family member, their return home delayed, and J’s brisk but not uncaring sister Lauren and her Iranian boyfriend, Araz have come to stay with J until their parents return.

Writer/director Anahita Ghazvinizadeh gives the film a lyrical, meditative quality. J’s parents, sister, Araz, and doctor are all understanding and supportive, if distracted. They are all so accepting that no one seems to think J might need to talk about the momentous decisions they are confronting.

We see many moments in nature, as though to locate J’s transitions within the context of the natural world. Lauren and Araz are both preoccupied with their own personal and professional challenges as well. There is also a long, seemingly improvised section that takes place in the home of one of Araz’s relatives, with Lauren and J at a large family party. Throughout, it almost seems as though we are eavesdropping on bits and pieces of the J’s world.

That is not always successful, and some of the choices are heavy-handed. But thankfully, it is not didactic or preachy. J may not know what they want, but Ghazvinizadeh has confidence that they will make the right choice, and trusts us to root for them.

The Bravest Knight

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Hulu’s upcoming cartoon The Bravest Knight will feature gay characters in lead roles. The show is based on the Daniel Errico book of the same name, the animated series focuses on Sir Cedric (voiced by former Grey’s Anatomy actor T.R. Knight), his husband Prince Andrew (Star Trek: Discovery‘s Wilson Cruz) and their adopted 10-year-old daughter Nia.

In the show, Cedric looks back on his humble beginnings as a pumpkin farmer and relays to Nia how he used his ethics, compassion and, of course, dragon-slaying skills to become one of the most respected knights in the kingdom.

Inspired by the exciting adventures her father got up to in his youth, Nia and her trusty troll sidekick Grunt put a plan in motion to make her a knight too.

Set to land on the subscription streaming service in June, The Bravest Knight also features the voices of The Fosters‘ Teri Polo, Donna Murphy, Steven Weber, Wanda Sykes, former Backstreet Boys member AJ McLean, The Good Fight‘s Christine Baranski and Drag Race host RuPaul.

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For They Know Not What They Do

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For They Know Not What They Do is not an wasy watch. The documentary by Daniel Karslake follows four religious families who share the stories of how they each dealt with their children coming out to them as queer.

There’s Rob and Linda, who tearfully recount how their evangelical church encouraged them to put their son Ryan in conversion therapy. There’s David and Sally, lifelong Presbyterians who had to come to terms with their youngest’s identity as a transgender woman. There’s Harold and Coleen, who slowly came around to supporting their child to transition. And then there’s Victor and Annette, a Puerto Rican couple living in Florida whose son Vico fears coming out to them and his grandmother, with whom he lives back in Puerto Rico.

This look at the ways religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity intersect in the United States is unafraid to delve into ugly realities that affect kids and families all over the country.

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Just Charlie

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In middle England, Charlie is a kid with a bright future as a football player, which his rather pushy father Paul is thrilled about. But as puberty dawns, Charlie is beginning to understand something that’s not easy to express: inside, Charlie is a girl stuck in a boy’s body. Her mother Sue and older sister Eve do their best to help, but Paul can’t cope. And neither can Charlie’s best pal Tommy.

The screenplay never simplifies this situation, pulling the audience right into Charlie’s circle of friends and family, which gently confronts us about our reactions on a variety of levels. Meanwhile, Rebekah Fortune directs scenes with an attention to the characters, which internalises the issue while drawing out earthy emotions and some edgy humour. It’s also a rare film that touches honestly on such a range of prejudice, from the subtle (“let’s wait to tell people”) to verbal bullying to hideous physical violence.

The point of the story is that Charlie is still the same person her family and friends have always loved. So the problems are coming from them, not her, as they fight against their own reactions to the fact that she is being true to who she is. It’s a simple point made with bracing authenticity, challenging the viewer to look inside and see that Charlie’s “revelation” is no different than what any of us have to do as we grow up and demand that people accept us for who we are.

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this sensitive British drama tackles a hugely important topic head on, never talking down to the audience. It’s a bold film that encourages the viewer to understand the truth that a trans person is not changing who they are. The film is a cry for compassion that recognises how difficult it can be to overcome outside pressure and do the right thing.

via Shadows on the Wall