Powerful short film shows what it’s like to be a trans teen

Teen trans in trans movie Listen

A new short film featuring transgender young people shows what it’s like to be a trans teen today.

Trans activist Jake Graf has written and directed Listen, a moving four-minute film following the lives of trans teenagers as they navigate school, bullying and relationships with their parents.

A powerful insight into the struggles young trans people are facing today, the film debuted on PinkNews—watch Listen below.

“With all the current ‘debate’ around our right to simply exist and trans children constantly being doubted and mocked, it felt like it was important to give them a voice and let them have their say,” director Jake Graf told PinkNews.

“I grew up lost, scared and riddled with self doubt, in stark contrast to many of the trans children that we work with at [trans youth support organisation] Mermaids. However, whilst these kids are supported at home, the same cannot always be said when they head out into the world, where bullying is commonplace.

A still from new short film Listen about trans teens

Trans film Listen features young transgender actors (Jake Graf)

“It is vital to ensure that we listen to and hear our trans youth during their often difficult formative years. They are confident, bright, and hopeful for the future and it’s so important that they stay that way.”

Trans teens are not confused

“I would love it if people finally realised that trans teens and children are not confused, victims of a fad, or pressured by some sort of trans agenda,” Graf explained.

“They know exactly who they are and have for the most part known all of their lives. It’s the grown ups that struggle with it, and they need to stop putting their own issues onto these kids and simply let them be happy.”

A trans teen is left feeling distressed by family relationships

Trans film, Listen, reveals how difficult family relationships can be (Jake Graf)

Should trans actors play trans roles?

The trans film features several young, talented transgender actors—none of whom had ever acted before—as a powerful statement about casting “the very best person for the job.”

Director Jake Graf, a patron of trans support charity Mermaids, had “no shortage of offers when I put out the casting call” and hoped to “show some much needed diversity.”

Transgender rights activist Jake Graf in a Stonewall t-shirt

Transgender activist Jake Graf wrote and directed the short film (Jake Graf)

He explained: “To be honest, I think that a role should be played as authentically as possible, and in the case of a trans role, who better to play it than a trans actor?

“When there are so many talented, enthusiastic and able trans actors out there, there doesn’t seem to be any good reason why I wouldn’t cast them. Luckily for me, I don’t yet have a big studio to answer to, so I can just cast the very best person for the job, which in this case was these amazing kids.”