Words: Alastair James; pictures: Hulu
“There’s a lot of things that I want 'cause I’m a teen. I want the make-up, I want shoes. But the main thing that I want is to be accepted just as me” says Sarah, a skier who features in the documentary Changing The Game, which is available to stream on Hulu as of 1 June.
It’s a line that gets to the heart of the current fight for equality for trans-people, at a time when lawmakers in some parts of the United States seem determined to ensure the opposite is the case.
The 2019 documentary follows three transgender high schoolers who are also athletes, who are all at different stages of their athletic seasons and personal lives.
“Being Transgender is not a choice.”
Alongside Sarah, a skier and teen policymaker in New Hampshire, the documentary focuses on Mack Beggs, who made headlines when he became the Texas State Champion in girls wrestling, as a boy.
It also follows Andraya, a track star in Connecticut competing on the girl's track team.
Early on in the trailer, Sarah, says it wouldn’t be fair for her to be competing on the boy's team and that “being transgender is not a choice.”
The documentary debuted on streaming platform Hulu the same day Florida’s governor signed into law a bill banning trans-girls from taking part in girls' high-school sports teams. It’s the latest in a number of US states to do so in the last year, with Arkansas, Alabama, and Idaho among them.
The emotional film takes us beyond the headlines as the debate over trans rights in the US intensifies and shows us the reality of life for transgender youth today.
“I just feel amazing. I get to be who I am.”
Amid jeers from the crowds and clips of critics towards trans-participation in sports, Mack is heard saying: “It feels like I’m winning, but also losing at the same time”. He’s also seen looking at comments on social media, noting that he’s “definitely being bullied by more adults than kids”.
Andraya in 'Changing The Game' (Photo: Hulu)
Despite those who would see her stop running in the girl's team, Andraya states “I just feel amazing. I get to be who I am.” At one point, we also see how Andraya’s story has inspired others to come out as trans as well, showing that being able to live as your authentic self only helps others do the same.
Changing The Game is directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker, Michael Barnett, and produced by Clare Tucker and Alex Schmider. Alex Schmider is GLAAD’s Associate Director of Transgender Representation, and also acted as a producer on the critically acclaimed and GLAAD-Award-winning Netflix documentary Disclosure.
Changing The Game is available to stream on Hulu.