Humans can be full of empathy and compassion for their fellow human beings or startingly devoid of both of those things. This lack of compassion or understanding is especially shocking when it comes to children. Children, who are all beautiful and full of life. When a certain section of the population wants to make the lives of certain children a nightmare it makes my blood boil. Especially when it is due to something which is done without thought by the rest of us.
Director (and mother of a transgender daughter) Vlada Knowlton’s film is about transgender children in the United States who are being denied the basic human right of going to the bathroom. Bills are being put into law which force these children to use the bathroom of their biology rather than how they identify. Ghastly! Who are they harming?
Frightened and close minded people are using the argument that allowing transgender people to go to the bathroom of the sex they identify as will make bathrooms dangerous for the rest of us. For women who are survivors of sexual assault. That it will open bathrooms up to places where pedophiles and sexual assaulters will prey upon people. Nonsense!
This kind of dangerous thinking is still happening today. We think we have come a long way as a species and we haven’t. In 2016 a bunch of anti-transgender Bathroom Bills began happening in the United States. As such The Human Rights Campaign published a report naming 2016 as the most dangerous year for transgender Americans.
This film follows the civil rights battle that went on (and continues to go on) after those bills were enacted. Parents of transgender children were forced to battle for something that the rest of us just do. Most of us just go to the bathroom without any thought about it. Such is not the case for the transgender. Bathrooms are danger zones for them. A place where they are not safe. As such, many will go to great length and unhealthy measures to not go to the bathroom jeopardizing their physical and mental health.
While using testimony from the science world and advocates, Knowlton also gives the viewer a rather intimate portrait of the battle. One that has touched her own family as well as others in the US. We see how she and her husband have dealt with it as they have a 5-year-old transgender daughter. That very personal side of the story and getting to know the very children that these types of laws affect makes the whole thing even more poignant.
Showing incredible restraint, no one is vilified here. Even those who are narrow minded and without love in their hearts. You learn so much about the day to day lives of the transgendered as it is depicted in a thoughtful way. Draws you in immediately and keeps you focused on the issue throughout.
It all comes down to the basic question: What is there to hate or fear here? A must watch for everyone. Compelling and thought provoking.
The Most Dangerous Year is now available on DVD, iTunes and Amazon.