While transgender representation has too often tended to range from nonexistent to dismal, this isn’t and hasn’t always been the case. The films below include both narrative and documentaries that explore many facets of the trans experience. You can donate to PFLAG National by signing into Amazon Smile—smile.amazon.com—prior to purchasing any of the titles below.
A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story (2006) Based on the true story of Gwen Araujo, a young transgender woman who was brutally murdered by four men in 2002.
All About My Mother (1999) Focused on femininity and womanhood, this is Pedro Almodóvar’s most sustained and sensitive look at trans women’s lives. The highlight of this intricately plotted and beautifully written masterpiece is a monologue, where a trans character talks about the price of being “authentic” in a hostile society, but throughout, the film accords trans women a level of dignity and respect rarely experienced in feature films prior to this time.
Another Woman (2008) Lea, a transgender woman makes contact with the members of the family she abandoned years before when she was a man named Pierre. Although eventually the truth comes out, Lea decides to fight for her legal rights to oversee the lives of her children.
Beautiful Boxer (2004) This bio-pic of transgender Muay Thai boxer Parinya Charoenphol documents her pursuit of the sport to pay for gender-affirming surgery.
Beautiful Daughters (2006) This documentary follows a group of transgender women putting on the first all-transgender production of “The Vagina Monologues,” including a new monologue.
Be Like Others (2008) An intimate and unflinching look at life in Iran is seen through the lens of those living at its fringes; this documentary is a provocative look at a generation of young Iranian men choosing to undergo sex-reassignment surgery.
Boys Don’t Cry (1999) This film is based on the true story of transgender man Brandon Teena attempting to find himself and love in Nebraska before he is murdered in 1993.
The Brandon Teena Story (1998) This 1998 documentary tells the tragic story of transgender man Brandon Teena, who was murdered in rural Nebraska in 1993.
Cruel and Unusual (2006) In this documentary, five transgender women share their prison experiences. Interviews with attorneys, doctors, and other experts are also included.
Faces & Facets of Transgender Experience (2010) Eighteen people and their families share touching stories about the journey from despair and loss to the joy of being the gender they were meant to be. Diversity of ages, ethnicity and background of the interviewees put many faces on what it means to be gender variant.
Girl Inside (2007) This Canadian documentary follows Madison, a 26-year-old transgender woman, during her three-year transition.
Gun Hill Road (2011) An ex-con returns home to the Bronx after three years in prison to discover his wife estranged and his teenage son exploring a gender transformation that will put the fragile bonds of their family to the test.
Just Call Me Kade (2002) This documentary follows 14-year-old Kade Farlow Collins, a transgender boy living with his understanding family in Tucson, Arizona.
Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story (2014) In this documentary, former U.S. Navy SEAL Kristin Beck embarks on a new mission as she lives her life truthfully as a transgender woman.
Ma Vie en Rose (1997) Ludovic is a transgender girl who can’t wait to grow up to be a woman. When her family discovers the little girl blossoming in her they are forced to contend with their own discomfort and the lack of understanding from their new neighbors.
Middle C (2007) This multiple award-winning two-part radio documentary follows singer Tristan Whiston’s story of female-to-male transition, including family discussion and perspectives.
Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She (2005)Examines the diversity of human sexual and gender variance around the globe, with commentary by scientific experts and first-hand accounts of people who do not conform to a simple male/female binary.
No Dumb Questions (2001) A lighthearted and poignant documentary that profiles three sisters, ages 6, 9, and 11, struggling to understand why and how their Uncle Bill is becoming a woman. These girls love their Uncle Bill, but will they feel the same way when he becomes their new Aunt Barbara?
Normal (2003)Irma and Roy Applewood have been happily married for twenty-five years and are model citizens in their community. Roy brings Irma to meet Reverend Dale Muncie, their pastor and friend, to say he will have a sex-change operation.
Paris Is Burning (1990)This documentary chronicles New York’s drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.
Princesa (2001) Fernanda, a 19-year-old Brazilian transgender woman, travels to Milan and becomes a prostitute to finance a sex-change operation.
Prodigal Sons (2008) In this documentary, filmmaker Kimberly Reed returns home for her high school reunion, ready to reintroduce herself to the small town as a transgender woman and hoping for reconciliation with her long estranged adopted brother Marc
Red Without Blue (2007) This documentary explores the intimate bond between two identical twin brothers, a bond that is challenged when one comes out as a transgender woman and decides to transition.
Romeos (2011) Twenty-year old-Lukas is a transgender man taking the steps through his gender-reassignment treatment. His friendship with Ine makes the changes and assimilation easier. Lukas sees his romantic world open up for him as Ine introduces him to gay life in Cologne. As he becomes more and more interested in a local gay boy, things get more and more complicated.
She’s a Boy I Knew (2007) This documentary is a comic, heart-breaking, uplifting autobiography that focuses on the interpersonal relationships of a family who unexpectedly find their bonds strengthening as they overcome their preconceptions of gender and sexuality.
Soldier’s Girl (2003) A film based on the true story of the relationship between Barry Winchell and transgender woman Calpernia Addams and the events leading up to Winchell’s murder by fellow soldiers.
Southern Comfort (2001) This documentary records the final year in the life of transgender man Robert Eads, who was refused treatment for ovarian cancer by two dozen doctors in Georgia, out of fear that treating such a patient would hurt their reputations. By the time Eads received treatment, the cancer was too advanced to save his life.
Tomboy (2011)When 10-year old tomboy Laure moves to a new neighborhood with family, she introduces herself as a boy named Mikhael to new friends.
TransGeneration (2005)This mini-series looks at the lives of four college students undergoing gender transition.
True Trans (2014) The story of punk rock singer Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! who came out as a woman in 2012, and other members of the trans community whose experiences are woefully underrepresented and misunderstood in the media.
XXY (2007) In a small coastal town of fishermen in Uruguay, the biologist Kraken works and lives in a house at the seaside with his wife Suli and intersex fifteen-year-old Alex. When Suli welcomes her former best friend Erika, her surgeon husband Ramiro, and their teenage son Alvaro to spend a couple days with her family, Kraken learns that his wife invited Ramiro to operate on Alex. Meanwhile Alex and Alvaro feel attracted to each other.