The highly contested film Ticked Off Tra**ies with Knives by Dallas-based filmmaker Israel Luna is being protested by a group of Texas transgender activists led by Kelli Busey of the group Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies and supported by Trinity Metropolitan Community Church.
The protest is scheduled for Saturday June 5th, 7pm, the day the film makes its Southwest premiere at Q Cinema, Fort Worth's International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.
The film received media attention when the Tribeca Film Festival provided a national platform for the film by selecting it for the festival and GLAAD issued a call to action in response to strong community outcry over the film's title and the gratuitous violence it displayed against the film's transgender characters.
GLAAD's Call to Action sparked conversation about the use of the term tra**ies and the use of images of violence against transgender women as a basis for comedy. GLAAD’s statements about the film were widely covered and the media attention raised important conversations about the representations of transgender people and why sensationalized images like those in the film slow the struggle for understanding. Ashley Love of the trans-advocacy group MAGNET (Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Trans People) organized a protest and education rally in front of Tribeca Cinemas. The International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) joined MAGNET in speaking out against the film.
GLAAD also worked behind the scenes with The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and Kim Pearson of the TransYouth Family Allies. Pearson and TYFA joined GLAAD and the other groups in denouncing the movie.
Maria Zapata, whose slain daughter Angie’s image was used in the film’s initial trailer, also spoke out in opposition to the film. “This week we found out that there was a film that used Angie’s name – and the circumstances around her murder – as a way to promote what is supposed to be a funny film. There is nothing funny about Angie’s murder and we are deeply offended that someone would use Angie’s name and memory to promote the film, Ticked-Off Tra**ies With Knives.” In the wake of public outcry, the filmmakers removed the names of Zapata and Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado from the trailer.
Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award-winning screenwriter for Milk, was instrumental in working behind the scenes with GLAAD and the filmmakers in the hopes of fostering an understanding about why so many found the film injurious. Over 1,400 people signed the petition asking Tribeca not to screen the film.
Tribeca Film Festival declined to pull the movie from its lineup despite community outrage. However, the filmmakers did agree to alter the film’s title and marketing materials to reflect the word “tra**y” as a derogatory term. While this was a step in a positive direction, many groups still express concern about the film’s overall message and its strong violent content.
This week’s protest promises to be a peaceful demonstration whose goal is to foster a dialogue about transgender images and how gay filmmakers can support transgender women in fostering well rounded images instead of those that only exploit the images of these women for the amusement of others.
Those who wish to join their voices to protest the film's screening at Q
Cinema can learn more information on the event's facebook page.