When the characters aren’t so familiar, it serves as more of a window, offering insight into the lives of those who are different from ourselves. Now imagine how agonizing it can be for those who gaze upon the screen searching for something they can recognize, only to find unflattering, inaccurate, and scornful representations staring back. Transgender audiences know that feeling all too well. For them, the cinema can be a cruel mirror. But, if the concept of trans identity somehow frustrates or confuses you, it’s likely that you haven’t considered just how significantly television and movies may be to blame. That is where Disclosure comes in. Thus, rather than making audiences feel bad about trans-themed movies they may have naively enjoyed in the past, it educates on the larger issues while unpacking a legacy of problematic representation.
Laverne is one of the show’s executive producers. Furthermore, She has been interviewed in the show. Laverne Cox is an actor best known for her Emmy-nominated role as Sophia on Orange Is the New Black. In Disclosure, she speaks about her experiences as a transwoman. Additionally, she is one of the few who campaigned publicly in favor of workplace protections for gay and trans people. To add on, Cox recently served as host and co-executive producer of Lifetime’s make-up competition series “Glam Masters.” In fact, she starred in the CBS’ legal drama “Doubt,” and is an Emmy winning producer for her documentary “Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word.”
“The ways in which trans people have been represented on-screen have suggested that we’re not real. Moreover, they have suggested that we’re mentally ill, that we don’t exist.”
– Laverne Cox, Actress and Advocate, also a producer on the film, who recalls Geraldine Jones from “The Flip Wilson Show” as a personal reference point.
"I think for a long time, the ways in which trans people have been represented on screen have suggested that we're not real…that we don't exist. And yet here I am. Yet here we are, and we've always been here." @Lavernecox #DisclosureNetflix is now streaming worldwide. pic.twitter.com/aAzzREa4wh
— Disclosure Documentary (@Disclosure_Doc) June 19, 2020
Cast of Disclosure
Bianca Leigh is an actor whose first film role was in Transamerica. Also, she appeared on Law & Order: SVU.
Jen Richards is a writer and actor, who has had roles in Nashville, Mrs. Fletcher, and Better Things. In addition, she also appeared as herself on the Caitlyn Jenner-focused reality series I Am Cait.
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Thank you Activists, advocates, allies, queer family, celebrities, chosen family and crew of the Virtual Live LGBT Pride Parade today. I was overwhelmed by the joy, the power and the profound spiritual reminders we received today, through all of your voices ringing loud and clear as we celebrated 50 years of our queer revolution. Our goal as LGBT humans is to rise up and stand shoulder to shoulder with our revolutionary African American family as we all gather and take to streets marching for equality and inclusion. Today I was showered with compassion and the glory that is our LGBT family Thank you to everyone I stand in awe of my teachers and guides … @audramcdonald @lindsayheatherpearce @blbuckley @seanhayes @chasbusch @musto184 @dgcomedy @sandragbernhard @thelavendereffect @mmmmelengland @amylandecker @judithlight @chadmichaelsallstar @schmengieinc @honeywestchicago
Alexandra Billings is an actor in Hollywood. She is famous for her portrayal of Davina in Transparent. Besides, she also acted on the series Goliath, Grey’s Anatomy, and ER.
Susan Stryker is a writer and a professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona and a Visiting Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale. Furthermore, She’s a consulting producer on Disclosure.
Yance Ford is a producer and director. His name was in the nomination for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2018 for his film Strong Island. Additionally, he became the first openly trans man to be nominated for an Oscar and is the first openly transgender filmmaker to win a Creative Arts Emmy.
Trans Lives Matter
In unspooling over a century of representation, Disclosure reveals how tropes, stereotypes, and recognition have led to the present, for better or for worse. Commentary from a bevy of transgender entertainment figures includes Trace Lysette, Jazzmun, MJ Richardson, Candis Cayne, and Tiq Milan. Essentially, Disclosure revisits early Hollywood. Moreover, cross-dressing was illegal. Yet, numerous silent films featured men dressed in women’s apparel. Misleading, dangerous, or problematic depictions and stereotypes have existed just as long. The list includes the terrible trope of trans characters as psychopathic killers – from Murder! in 1930, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls in 1970, and Psycho in 1960 to the serial killer Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs in 1991. Additionally, these movies primed audiences to respond to transgender people with fear.
JK Rowling’s Recent Tweet
Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s essay of transphobic misinformation. Cox addressed Rowling’s comments as “deeply problematic”. In addition, the burden of representing a marginalized community in public – “The ‘divide and conquer’ method of pitting women’s rights against the rights of trans people has been a very effective tool for dividing marginalized people,” Laverne told the Daily Beast.
On the same note, Disclosure, as a film on the history of anti-trans or misleading depictions in popular culture, could “enlighten JK Rowling and folks who are like-minded to the roots of their patriarchal fantasies”, Sam Feder, director of Disclosure, to The Guardian.
What it means for Trans People
According to a Glaad study, 84% of Americans don’t personally know someone who is transgender. Therefore, most information and impressions about transgender people thus come from media, including for transgender people sorting through their own self-perception. Moreover, More roles, higher visibility, means more and potentially better information. Thus, it can also mean swifter backlash for the roughly 1.5 million Americans who identify as trans.
When we can watch critically and be willing to look at ourselves and the ways in which these images unconsciously influenced how we think about ourselves and each other, then we can do the consciousness-raising work that will then say that this is no longer acceptable. Because hopefully, this consciousness-raising will allow us to see the humanity in us. Thus, we can understand the extent of our programming to dehumanize based on images we’ve seen on television and in our media.
You can watch the trailer of Disclosure here: