GLAAD was recently alerted by community members and allies to a film called Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives that will be screened at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival. After viewing the film, GLAAD is now calling on Tribeca to pull the film from its schedule.
Although the title is certainly problematic, it is far from the only issue with this film. The film, its title and its marketing misrepresent the lives of transgender women and use grotesque, exploitative depictions of violence against transgender women in ways that make light of the horrific brutality they all too often face. Click here to read the full Call to Action.
The film, in which two characters are murdered in a hate crime, is a pastiche of graphic violence and horror movie clichés, with a few scenes of campy humor. By marketing Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives as a "transploitation" film, by using the word "trannies" (a pejorative term for transgender people) in the title of the film, by casting transgender women in some roles, and by citing the murders of Angie Zapata and Jorge Mercado in the trailer, Israel Luna has attempted to place his film squarely within a transgender narrative.
Because of its positioning as a transgender film, viewers unfamiliar with the lives of transgender women will likely leave this film with the impression that transgender women are ridiculous caricatures of "real women." It demeans actual transgender women who struggle for acceptance and respect in their day-to-day lives and to be valued for their contributions to our society.
Transgender people are a marginalized and vulnerable minority in our culture, subjected to horrific hate crimes and pervasive discrimination. In this context, it is irresponsible and insulting to make a film that serves up graphic anti-transgender violence as a "hook" for an homage to B-movies of the 1970s. Anti-LGBT hate crimes are serious issues that do not translate into an exploitation film. The very nature of exploitation films is to shock and titillate audiences with extreme, sensationalized violence. Furthermore, it is simply crass to reference the recent murders of Angie Zapata and Jorge Mercado in the trailer, putting their brutal murders on par with the outlandish violence in this film.
GLAAD finds it troubling that a film festival as respected as Tribeca would give a film that sensationalizes anti-transgender violence and misrepresents the lives of transgender women, a platform that affords such great exposure. The Tribeca Film Festival has a history of screening powerful LGBT films, such as the GLAAD Media Award-nominated Quentin Crisp biopic An Englishman in New York, and the GLAAD Media Award-winning film Transamerica, about a transgender woman reconnecting with her son. Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives does not meet, and in fact devalues, the standard of excellence established by the festival.
GLAAD has reached out to writer/director Israel Luna and the Tribeca Film Festival, and both have refused to take responsibility for the problematic content and offensive marketing of this film. We urge you to contact the Tribeca Film Festival and call on them to pull Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives from their schedule.
Vice-President of Communications - Tribeca Film Festival
Director of Programming – Tribeca Film Festival
Senior VP, Rubenstein Communications
Film & Programming
To send an email with suggested text to the Tribeca Film Festival contacts above, go to http://www.glaad.org/2010/calltoaction/tribeca.
Concerned community members have developed a Facebook group called "Boycott 'Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives' at the Tribeca Film Festival" that you can join at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=106926329329724.