Trans in America

A Documentary Series

Three short verité documentaries about transgender civil rights in the United States reveal the daily impact of discrimination on three families as they battle with bathroom bills, vulnerability in employment and housing, and the aftermath of incarceration. Each film is directed by an LGBTQ+ filmmaker, produced by an inclusive and majority-LGBTQ+ production team, and informed by a panel of transgender advisors. 

Released in partnership with them.

Watch the full series

The Films


Texas Strong

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An intimate portrait of Kimberly and Kai Shappley: a mother rejecting her community’s beliefs as her 7-year-old transgender daughter navigates life at school, where she’s been banned from the girls’ bathroom.

Dir. Daresha Kyi (Chavela), a Firelight Media Documentary Lab alumna, writes and directs film and television in Spanish and English. She is currently directing a feature documentary called Mama Bears about the ways in which the lives of conservative, Christian mothers are transformed when they decide to accept their LGBT children.  Produced by the ACLU & Little By Little Films.

Eisha Love

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Eisha Love was incarcerated in a men’s jail after acting in self-defense. Now, as she rebuilds her life and continues to process the impact of her incarceration, she faces the challenge of trying to get a steady job as an out trans woman with a criminal record.

​​​​​​Dir. Cary Cronenwett (Maggots and Men) investigates tropes of masculinity and homoeroticism in his work, often working with trans/gender non-conforming cast & crew. Festival screenings include Miami International, Outfest L.A., BFI Flare, and more. Produced by the ACLU & Little By Little Films.

The Team

Lindsey Dryden (pronouns She/Her) is an award-winning Producer and Director, Fellow of Sundance DFP and BFI Flare and founding member of Queer Producers Collective. Her work has been released theatrically, broadcast on Netflix, PBS, BBC, and Channel 4, featured in Vogue and Elle, exhibited at Tate, won awards worldwide, and screened at 50+ festivals incl. Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, HotDocs, True/False, Sheffield Doc/Fest and Art Of The Real. She produced Academy Award shortlisted Unrest (Sundance, 2017), Trans In America (ACLU/them, 2018), co-produced Unrest VR (Winner, Best Virtual Reality Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017), and directed acclaimed films including feature doc Lost and Sound (SXSW, 2012) and short Jackie Kay: One Person Two Names (Tate Britain, 2017).

Shaleece Haas (Real Boy) Producer and Director of 2016 documentary Real Boy, which earned 20 festival awards, screened in 23 countries, and was broadcast on PBS Independent Lens; co-producer of The Genius of Marian (Tribeca, POV). She is a 2015 Film Independent Documentary Lab Fellow, a 2012 Working Films (Reel Aging) Fellow and has received support from ITVS, California Humanities, Berkeley Film Foundation, Fledgling Fund, Film Independent, and IFP, among others.

Molly Kaplan (ACLU) and Chase Strangio (ACLU) with support from Nora Wilkinson (ACLU)

Jamie Boyle (Jackson, E-Team) with additional editing by Carlos Rojas (They Took Them Alive)

Shuling Yong (The Feeling Of Being Watched) and Amy Bench (An Uncertain Future).

Our advisory board brings together expertise and lived experience from trans parenting, black transgender activism, queer communities of color, transgender children’s rights advocacy, anti-violence, incarceration, grassroots reentry programs, Latinx civil rights and employment policy and protections. Our advisors are Wriply Bennet, StormMiguel Florez, Sam Berliner, Janetta Johnson, Drian Juarez, and Debi Jackson.

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