Published On: March 31, 2024By

Trans Day of Visibility is a global event occurring annually on March 31st. Unlike Trans Day of Remembrance in November, which is more of a solemn day, this is a time to celebrate the trans community and raise awareness of discrimination faced by trans people worldwide.

What better way to celebrate the trans community than through the art of film? Movies have the power to transport us to places we’ve never been and get to know people we would never have the chance to meet. For allies (including cisgender queer folks), this is a great opportunity to learn about the lived experiences of trans folks.

What goes into positive representation?

Before we dive into the movies, let’s discuss what goes into positive trans representation. It doesn’t mean that every trans story is all sunshine and rainbows; it means that trans stories are being told in authentic ways that aren’t sensationalized or exploitative.

One great way to tell if something will have authentic trans representation is to look at who is behind and in front of the camera. Trans stories tend to be told the best when they’re being told by trans creatives. That said, it’s important to remember that someone may not be open about their personal life and judging someone based on what is public knowledge can be dangerous.

An excellent example of positive trans representation is the groundbreaking TV show, Pose. One of the reasons the show was so groundbreaking is it featured trans folks in leading and supporting acting roles and writing, directing, and producing roles. It also provided mentorship opportunities to trans creatives looking to gain experience in the industry.

Here are 5 movies to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility:

1. Disclosure

If you’re wanting to dig deeper into the history of trans representation and gain a better understanding of the real-world implications it can have, Disclosure is a great place to start. Like Pose, the cast and crew were composed of as many trans people as possible (including director Sam Feder) and provided mentorship opportunities for trans trainees.

A few years before the film was released in 2020, GLADD found that 84% of Americans surveyed reported that they didn’t know a single trans person which meant that everything they knew about trans people came directly from the media they consumed. Since then the number has decreased but the violence and discrimination faced by trans people has only increased. Sadly, this documentary is now more relevant than ever.

2. The Stroll

This award-winning documentary, directed by Kristen Lovell and Zackary Drucker, features trans women telling their own stories of working in New York’s Meatpacking District as sex workers in the 1980s and 1990s.

Through interviews, archival footage, and photos, they recount the violence, policing, and gentrification that led to the trans rights movement we see today. The interview with Cecilia Gentili is especially moving and impactful, given her passing less than a year after The Stroll was released.

While TV shows have long had a tendency to depict trans women as sex workers (which you can learn more about by watching Disclosure), rarely do they acknowledge the housing and employment discrimination trans women experience that leaves limited employment options.

3. Monica

Trace Lysette stars as the title character in this beautiful and nuanced film that needs to be seen. Unlike a lot of films featuring trans characters, very little of the story focuses on the medical aspect of Monica’s transition. Instead it focuses on the emotional wounds of the past and how those wounds may be healed as she returns home to help care for her terminally ill mother.

Monica received an 11-minute standing ovation when it premiered at the 2022 Venice Film Festival, where Lysette made history as the first out* trans lead of a film at the legendary film festival.

4. Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story

Stay on Board follows professional skateboarder Leo Baker as he prepares for the Toyko Olympics after being named to the 2019 USA Skateboarding Women’s National Team. The documentary begins before Baker came out publicly as trans and was still competing in women’s skateboarding competitions.

It shows the impact being forced to choose between competing in a sport you’ve dedicated most of your life to and living life as your authentic self can have on trans athletes. However, it also doesn’t shy away from celebrating the overwhelming joy of fully embracing your true self and the life-changing impact accessing gender-affirming care can have for trans folks.

5. Anything’s Possible

Anything’s Possible stars Eva Reign as Kelsa, a high school trans girl who’s navigating the ups and downs of her senior year. This lighthearted coming-of-age story was written by Ximena García Lecuona and chosen by Billy Porter to be his directorial debut. It’s a great example of not every movie centering on a trans character needing to be a serious, tragic, Oscar contender.

While it may not shy away from the bullying and transphobia trans kids deal with in school, it does show what’s possible when trans kids are loved and supported. Trans kids (and adults) deserve cheesy rom-coms too.


– Brennen Neufeld 


Brennen Neufeld (he/him) is a freelance marketing professional and a small-town guy with a big heart. He’s passionate about cultivating inclusion, belonging and community wherever he goes. In his down time, he enjoys listening to audiobooks, dancing to disco in his kitchen, and watching queer films.