'We've Been Around' adds new episode and launches new website

In March, GLAAD promoted the release of Emmy-nominated director and Transparent co-producer Rhys Ernst's docuseries celebrating transgender people throughout history called We've Been Around

From Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera's key role in the modern transgender equality movement, to the soaring gospel voice of trans man Wilmer Broadnax, to Lou Sullivan's crusade to be recognized as a transgender gay man and his fight against AIDS, to a trailblazing transgender Civil War soldier by the name of Albert Cashier, to Lucy Hicks Anderson, a woman of color who ran a successful business in the Prohibition Era and became the first trans person to go to court to fight for her marriage. These powerful short films provide a glimpse into the rich and multi-faceted history of trans people.

Last week, the sixth episode of the series was released exclusively to the Advocate. The entire series is now available to watch in full on WeveBeenAround.com

In the latest episode, entitled "Camp Trans," director Elliot Montague steps in to transport us back to a difficult but defining moment when divisions within the LGBT community came to light. The film recounts the 1994 events that led trans people to take up residence outside the Michigan Womyn's Festival (Michfest) to protest the exclusion of transgender women from the festival. The confrontation between Michfest and Camp Trans was not the only queer space where this tension could be felt, but Camp Trans' visibility made more people aware of its existence. As the founders of Camp Trans, Nancy Burkholder, Leslie Feinberg, Riki Wilchins, and Jamison Green launched a historic campaign against transphobia and forged a new relationship between transgender people and the trans-inclusive women's movement. 

By remembering, retelling, and revitalizing the history of transgender people the world will know that we've been around - we've always been around.

In 2015, Rhys Ernst and Zackary Drucker created another series of short films entitled This Is Me. The films feature real trans people talking about their lives and their experiences. The series was nominated for an Emmy, and received a Special Recognition Award at the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. After you watch We've Been Around, be sure and watch This Is Me.

For even more stories created by trans people, check out:

  • Her Story: Created by Jen Richards and Angelica Ross, and directed by Sydney Freeland, the six-episode series depicts the dating lives of trans and queer women as they discover themselves in their search for happily ever after. 
  • Drunktown's Finest: Written and directed by Sydney Freeland, this feature film follows three Native American teenagers as they try to escape the hardships of life on a reservation. 

As transgender writers, directors, and producers become more empowered to tell and share their stories, we can look forward to more authentic media projects like these.