As the transgender community experiences increased visibility, its members and supporters continue to fight for trans rights. One such way is through the celebration of transgender artistic and cultural achievements at a new transgender film festival in Los Angeles.
Dubbed the TransNation Festival, the October event’s proceeds will benefit Los Angeles-based organizations that provide services to transgender people, including the festival’s creator, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, who have one of the largest transgender health programs in the country. Celebrity Kelly Osbourne is lending her voice to the cause, along with award-winning transgender creative Zackary Drucker.
“The transgender movement is making headlines and in the past couple of years, we have seen an increasing number of trans people be the center of pop culture,” said Osbourne in a video announcement for the festival. “But despite the surge in attention around the trans community, we’re still not addressing social barriers such as the lack of access to healthcare and employment, discrimination and the growing number of trans-related hate crimes.”
The three-day event, beginning Oct. 20, aims to not only uplift trans people, but to educate and galvanize the general public to support an under-served population. It will include a film festival, benefit art exhibition and beauty pageant.
Drucker, an Emmy-nominated producer for the docu-series “This Is Me,” producer of Amazon’s award-winning “Transparent” and “I Am Cait” cast member, is serving as guest curator of the invite-only film portion, which will take place at West Hollywood’s Cinefamily Cinematheque. It’s slated to showcase “the best in new and repertory trans* related cinema with special guests and filmmakers in attendance,” a statement said.
(“Trans*” — with an asterisk — is an umbrella term that includes all transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming identities outside of the traditional man-woman binary, such as genderqueer, third gender, two-spirit, etc.)
TransNation will also welcome the 15th annual Queen USA national transgender beauty pageant to The Theatre at the Ace Hotel downtown. Queen USA, produced by pioneering trans activist Karina Samala, will feature contestants from across the country and Native American nations in competition for cash prizes.
“We are excited about the announcement of TransNation — a festival created by our transgender staff — to celebrate transgender culture and shed light on the barriers this community faces with the hope that stakeholders will begin to better understand this community and make changes to empower them to thrive,” said Jim Mangia, St. John’s CEO. The center has a social justice mission, also serving people in the country illegally, unaccompanied minors and the economically disadvantaged.
Proceeds from TransNation will also benefit the Imperial Court of Los Angeles and Hollywood’s Nicole Murray Ramirez Scholarship Fund.
For more information, visit TransNationFestival.org.
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