POSTED ON May 8, 2016 BY Three Dollar Bill Cinema
We are proud to present the Northwest premiere of the excellent new documentary feature SUITED on May 15, as the closing night film for the 11th annual Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival!
Brought to you by producers Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner (HBO’s Girls), this validating documentary spotlights the harsh struggle to find clothes as a transgender or gender-nonconforming person. But it’s far from a hopeless endeavor, as customers visiting the Brooklyn tailoring company Bindle & Keep demonstrate by sharing their common experiences. Whether you’re suiting up to be a trans boy at a bar mitzvah or an attorney in court, whether you’re a student facing discrimination in job interviews or you’re getting married, this business will pull out all the stops to make you feel happy and grounded in your body when you look in the mirror.
We'll be joined for the evening by the film's subject Rae Tutera.
In advance of the screening, we asked Rae a few questions:
What does trans visibility mean to you?
For me, trans visibility means moving beyond the current narratives about transness, the most familiar of which might be the the framework of being trapped in the wrong body. While I understand there are people who identify with and feel comfortable working within that framework, it has limited the lens through which trans identities - which are immeasurably diverse - are understood. It might even limit the lens through which trans people understand themselves. I'd like to see trans folks tell their own stories so that we have ownership over our narratives, and see a spectrum of binary and non-binary identities, and for nuanced femininities and masculinities be equally valued.
How does your film speak to the issues facing today's transgender communities?
Today's trans communities face bathroom bills like North Carolina's HB2, legislating discrimination that puts trans women further at risk and trans youth in a position of unprecedented vulnerability.
There are so many communities within the trans community, and we all have to navigate discriminatory landscapes while trying to be our real selves but while also trying to protect ourselves. In the film, we see one of the subjects, my dear friend Everett face the realities of both racism and transphobia. We see Jillian talk about a reality where she thought not existing might be a better alternative to living her life as a trans woman. We see a handful of subjects who are on the non-binary spectrum trying to situate themselves in a world that would prefer they commit to a gender.
Ultimately, the film gives a glimpse into only a handful of experiences, but it shows some of the indignities trans folks endure - with grace and humanity - both within their own families and within society. I hope that people see the film and are reminded they have the right to be themselves no matter what issues we face within our communities.
Do you consider yourself an activist as well as a filmmaker?
I'm only a subject in this film, and I joined this project to try to be an advocate for my clients (who have become family to me through this process). I'm learning how to be an advocate in a greater context as I answer these questions and attend festivals.
What are you most excited about for your visit to Seattle?
I'm excited to see SUITED at Translations with an audience of my queer and trans peers - I've only seen the doc twice in the settings of Sundance and the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival. And I'm excited that the audience will include some of my dearest friends who live in Seattle because they'll be seeing the film for the first time after hearing about it for years and supporting me through the process.