Filmmaker Tony Zosherafatain’s latest project is both an unvarnished look at recent experiences in the American transgender community, as well as a snapshot of his personal journey to living as his true self.
Audiences got a first look at “Trans in Trumpland,” due out Feb. 25 on the streaming service Topic, with the release of the four-episode series’ first trailer on Friday. The clip opens with a recording of President Donald Trump promising to “do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens” ― a campaign trail vow that, as many in the queer community can attest, went unfulfilled during his presidency.
From there, Zosherafatain introduces viewers to four transgender people living in conservative regions of the country. One subject, Shane, is an Idaho-based army veteran of Native American descent grappling with the Trump administration’s efforts to ban transgender recruits from the military. Then there’s 13-year-old Ash of North Carolina, who is living in the aftermath of the state’s 2016 “bathroom bill,” which barred trans individuals from using restrooms and other public facilities that align with their gender identity.
Catch the trailer for “Trans in Trumpland” below.
Zosherafatain, a Boston native now based in New York, related to those testimonies as a transgender man himself.
“Trump’s actions have left me feeling invisible, threatened, and unsure about the future,” he told The Daily Beast last year. “So, I was like, ‘OK, I need to do this. I need to combine my trans identity, my Iranian-American identity and my fear and translate that into film to help tell our stories.’”
He added, “I think people are going to need to reflect upon the Trump era, whatever happens.”
Trump embraced a staunchly anti-LGBTQ platform during his time in office, from rolling back protections for trans students, to supporting adoption agencies’ ability to discriminate against same-sex couples. Many in the LGBTQ community, however, are hopeful that President-elect Joe Biden will reverse many of those policies, which he has repeatedly signaled he will do.