'3 Generations' Isn't A True Story, But It Might Feel Real For So Many People
Living as a queer WOC, I'm subject to my own oppression and so I try to understand more and more how capitalist, cis—hetero—patriarchal systems have cursed not only me, but every person who has ever identified outside of that construct. The new movie 3 Generations, directed by Gaby Dellal, hones in on these differences and inequalities, following the story of a teenage boy who is openly trans and trying to gain both the acceptance of the world around him and the legal consent of his father to begin taking testosterone. And while 3 Generations isn't based on a true story, the main character and his struggles might seem familiar to many.
Ray, played by Elle Fanning, navigates through school and systemic oppression that pigeonholes individuals to their gender assignment at birth. The marginalization that occurs in the film bears semblance to the fights many trans people endure every single day. According to a June 2016 study by The Williams Institute, 1.4 million adults identify as transgender in the U.S. Additionally, young adults are most likely to identify as trans, making up .7 percent of the population. Despite these statistics, we still sadly continue to see discrimination such as bathroom bills that mirror laws of the racial-segregation era. Even in 3 Generations, the film alludes to this, as one scene has Ray walking past a gender-specific bathroom.
Young adults and older people alike face transphobia not only in restrooms but through their peers, jobs, communities, and other institutions that have criminalized and sexualized otherness. Spotlighting those day-to-day oppressions is crucial, and it's good that 3 Generations is highlighting the struggles Ray and other trans teens face.
3 Generations has the potential to open the eyes of its viewers, both those totally unfamiliar and those who want to understand how to support the rights of trans people but do not know how. It also has the potential to show people the value of pronouns for individuals and understand that their being trans isn't a choice nor a spectacle to champion otherness. It's a human right to live authentically and make it through the entire day without being subject to violence or oppression. For more information on being an ally, knowing your rights, donating or finding a support group, visit National Center For Transgender Equality.