Emotional documentary The Dads proves how powerful it is when parents support their trans kids

Stephen Chukumba and Frank Gonzalez hold up phots of their trans children in new film The Dads.

Powerful new documentary film The Dads, showing at London’s BFI Flare, is highlighting how parents are fighting for the safety of their trans children in the US.

And PinkNews can exclusively reveal the new trailer for The Dads, set to screen at the London LGBTQ+ film festival on Sunday (19 March).

The Dads, created by GLAAD media award nominee and Mama Gloria director Luchina Fisher, follows five fathers of trans children as they embark on a fishing trip in rural Oklahoma. 

They’re joined by Dennis Shepard, the father of gay student Matthew Shepard, whose brutal murder in Wyoming in 1998 sparked nationwide action against homophobia. 

In the film’s new trailer, shared exclusively with PinkNews, the six fathers sit around a campfire and eat the fish they’ve caught, and share their stories of supporting their LGBTQ+ children.

“We’re letting people know we’re here. We’re not gonna shy away, we’re not gonna be in the shadows. We’re not gonna be scared,” says one of the fathers, defiantly.

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“We’re gonna confront this head on, because that’s all we can do. We have to make the way safe for our children.”

Alongside Shepard, the fathers involved in the conversation are Stephen Chukumba, Frank Gonzalez, and José Trujillo, members of the Human Rights Campaign’s Parent for Transgender Equality Council, professional chef Peter Betz, and Wayne Maines, whose daughter Nicole Maines stars as transgender superhero Nia Nal aka Dreamer on CW action series Supergirl

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The Dads sees the six men discuss their fears for their trans childrens’ safety in the US, what they’ve learnt while bringing up a trans child, and whether society is all that much further along now compared to when Matthew was killed in 1998.

The six men were planning their fishing trip together before being approached by director Fisher to document their discussions.

Fisher said: “These are dads on the frontlines of the battle over LGBTQ rights, and primarily trans youth, in our country.

“As the mother of a trans child, I often see other mothers publicly advocating for their children. But I know there are dads speaking out too, and it’s important to hear their voices.”

Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said: “Transgender and non-binary kids are under a constant barrage of attacks everyday online, in state legislatures, and in the media. It is critical that we centre parents, and their love for their children, in our fight for liberation for all.”

The Dads premiered on 12 March at SXSW film festival in the US and will make its UK debut at the BFI Flare Festival as part of a double bill screening alongside Lotus Sports Club, a feature film about a trans football coach becoming a father figure to his LGBTQ+ team.

BFI Flare 2023 takes place in London from 15 to 26 March, and showcases the year’s best upcoming LGBTQ+ films and documentaries.

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