Transgender actor and director Jake Graf highlights anti-LGBTQ cyberbullying and says #HaltTheHate in Transgender Awareness Week film

November 19, 2018

GLAAD and Logo partnered with director and actor Jake Graf to debut his film ‘Bully’ during Transgender Awareness Week. Graf released the film in the U.S. following news reports of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposal aimed at eliminating protections for transgender Americans. The proposal sparked trans people and allies to share personal stories and discrimination they have faced using #WontBeErased.

“Whether the bully is in the White House or behind a computer screen, LGBTQ people around the world must stand together to support one another and fight back,” said Graf.

An award winning director, writer and actor, Graf currently appears in the new film Colette, starring Keira Knightley, and has also appeared in The Danish Girl, Headspace, and several UK television dramas. One of the most visible transgender men in the UK, Graf speaks on LGBTQ issues across news and social media with his wife, Captain Hannah Winterbourne, a transgender woman.

‘Bully’ features real messages and tweets received by the actors. The film stars singer and model Jaimie Wilson, YouTube creator Riyadh Khalaf, model and gender capitalist Rain Dove, Fiona Dawson, co-director of award winning documentary TransMilitary, actor Sade Giliberti and actor and activist Devin Lowe.

"There is a misconception that online bullying is less harmful and toxic than IRL, but the statistics tell us that's clearly not the case,” Graf said. “Online bullies are cowards hiding behind a keyboard, but their sustained attacks can push vulnerable young people to seriously harm themselves, or worse. It's not only important to learn to switch off, block and report cyber bullies, but to remember that online bullies have often also been the victims of bullying and use the internet as a way to make themselves feel better. We need to break this cycle, and put an end to online bullying for good."

Graf continued: "I really hope that thousands of online bullies see this film and stop even for a second to consider what they're doing before possibly irreversibly changing someone's life with some hastily typed words. Maybe just take a moment to consider how you would feel if someone said them to you, and write something kind instead."

Watch the #HaltTheHate PSA below and check out Graf's other film 'Listen' which features the stories of trans youth played by young trans actors.