HBO Documentary Films: THE TRANS LIST

Doc-logoOverview: Directed by acclaimed portrait photographer and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (HBO’s The Black List, The Out List and The Latino List, among others) and featuring interviews and an introduction by Janet Mock, The Trans List shines a light on prominent members of the Docs_TheTransListtransgender community.

 Featuring such outspoken subjects as Kylar Broadus, Caroline Cossey, Amos Mac, Bamby Salcedo, Buck Angel, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Nicole Maines, Shane Ortega, Caitlyn Jenner, Alok Vaid-Menon and Laverne Cox, the film profiles this diverse group of 11 transgender individuals, telling their stories in their own words, addressing identity, family, career, love, struggle and accomplishment.


Expectations: I know exactly what to expect from this because I’ve watched all the ‘List’ documentaries that have aired on HBO prior to this one. Every demographic is seeming to get their say and that is okay. My only qualm with this batch of testimonies is that I am unfamiliar with them. Out of the 11 I recognize only two of them, though that doesn’t mean the others won’t have something interesting to say.

Gut Reaction: And the fact of the matter is that they all did have something important or interesting to say. They all talked a bit about growing up one gender and shifting to the other and those histories were interesting to hear. Some added a bit of advice or empowerment that conflicted souls could take to heart as the messages were delivered most sincerely. We were told to just get over the ‘bathroom issue’ by Nicole Maines and reminded not to forget one’s sense of humor through it all from Caitlyn Jenner. Bamby Salcedo and Shane Ortega’s stories, in contrast, added punch.


In Conclusion: Hey, you don’t have to be totally comfortable with the notion that gender identity can be in flux for some. They are not forcing anything on anyone just asking others to respect them as being as human as everyone else. The testimonials chronicled here sheds light on that fact. As Kylar Broadus says, “Well I hope that they take away love and compassion. That every human being deserves to live, that every human being deserves to live their life the way they choose, and that every human being deserves to walk the earth.” Take it in if you wish.

These “List” documentaries could just go on and on. Every demographic out there, no matter how large or small, could have the chance to be heard. Maybe, “The Indigenous List” could be next.


Next: RISKY DRINKING is up on Monday, December 19 at 8:00pm. It is the first time in a long while that HBO addresses alcoholism.

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