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Trans Stories, Spaces, and Cultural Production: Films & Videos

Streaming Video Resources

Kanopy homepage

Kanopy: Kanopy is an on-demand streaming video platform for public libraries and educational institutions with a variety of LGBTQ films. Users can browse by collections such as LGBTQ Films and LGBTQ Stories.


Growing Up Trans: From the voices of eight transgender kids, ranging in ages from 9 to 19, this Frontline segment "takes a powerful look at this new generation, exploring the medical possibilities, struggles, and choices transgender kids and their families face today."

Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger: Kate Bornstein is.. captures rollicking public performances and painful personal revelations bearing witness to the pioneering performance artist-theorist-activist. 

Image: Screenshot of Kanopy homepage, taken 11/2018.

LGBT Studies in Video cover image

LGBT Studies in Video: LGBT Studies in Video is a multidisciplinary collection that covers the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as well as the cultural and political evolution of the LGBT community. Included are documentaries, interviews, archival footage, and select feature films. Users can search the collection, browse by subject, such as "transgenderism" or "gender identity", or by people or places discussed.


Simply Love: Eveline van Dijck's heartfelt and respectful documentary follows these two women as they fall in love again, this time within their own large families comprised of children, grandchildren and ex-partners. The follow-up to van Dijck's 1993 documentary Change of View, Simply Love courageously shows rare images of women in their sixties falling into the full glory and heartache of love.

With What Shall I Wish: In this beautifully animated short, a transwoman ends her day reminiscing about her great love and about her life working in a red light district in Spain. Set to an aria by an unknown composer, With What Shall I Wash is an homage to all homosexual artists of the twentieth century.

Image: LGBT Studies in Video cover image, accessed 11/2018.

Online Videos

As with many types of resources by or about trans people and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, there is no one central place to find videos and documentary footage - often, they are hosted on blogs or found on video sharing sites such as Youtube or Vimeo, rather than in formal databases, libraries, and archives.

Once you begin to familiarize yourself with names of artists, filmmakers, or subjects of interest, it can be more effective to search for them specifically rather than searching for blanket identity terms. Note, for example, the production teams of the films below. Searching for more examples of their work can lead you to more films, collaborators, and topics of interest, and help you trace communities of practice.

Screenshot of "We've Been Around" series homepage

We've Been Around: We've Been Around is a series of short films celebrating the lives of just a few transgender pioneers throughout history.

Image: Screenshot of "We've Been Around" series homepage, taken 11/2018.

Still from "Trans Lives Matter"

Trans Lives Matter: Justice for Islan Nettles: This seven-minute documentary film by Nigerian nonbinary director Seyi Adebanjo explores the life of trans woman Islan Nettles and her murder by the NYPD.

Image: Still from "Trans Lives Matter: Justice for Islan Nettles"

Films @ Pratt

Don't forget about DVDs and physical copies of films!

To find films using Pratt's catalog, try an advanced search with the material type or format set as "DVD", "VHS", or "16 MM FILM". You can then narrow your search using a keyword, or you can search by subject using one of the subject headings listed on the home page of this guide. Use these search tips to find films in the NYPL's catalog as well!

Below are a few examples from Pratt's collection:

Tales of the Waria: This documentary explores the lives and loves of individuals living in Indonesia who identify as waria, a third gender.

U People: As described on the DVD case: "In a Brooklyn brownstone, thirty women and trans folks of color participated in the creation of Hanifah Walidah's Make a Move music video. Cameras were left rolling. U People is an accidental documentary of discussion and dialogue among the women between shots for the music video."

Equipment to view these films also can be checked out from Pratt Libraries:

External DVD drives

16 mm film projector

Check out Pratt's Film and Video LibGuide for more search tips and borrowing policies.