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Directed by Dante Alencastre
54 min | 2016 | USA | Not Rated
Post film discussion with Director Dante Alencastre, Zoey’s mother, Ofelia, and Pride Center Youth Committee members Cyan Larson and Summer Schmidt. Moderated by Lucas Fowler, Transgender Education Advocates of Utah
Raising Zoey tells the moving story of 13-year-old trans activist Zoey Luna, who was born as a boy but began identifying as a girl before entering school. Zoey aspires to live a normal life as a teenage girl but often struggles as she faces bullying from classmates and discrimination from school officials. She finally decides to transfer to a different school to avoid further conflict.
Despite being mistreated, Zoey plunges onward to fight for her right to self-identify with the support of her mother, Ofelia, and her older sister, Leticia. We watch as her family navigates the unconventional challenges of raising a transgender child, but they always remain by Zoey’s side throughout her journey. With the support of her family and assistance from an ACLU lawyer, Zoey blossoms into a confident young woman publicly advocating for trans rights.
In a time when transgender young people continue to battle oppression, Raising Zoey provides a positive outlook and reveals how much easier and more smoothly a teenager’s gender transition becomes with the unconditional love of her family. As Ofelia so eloquently puts it, “Zoey is not special because she is trans. She is special because she is my child.”
— Melissa Kinney
Preceded by the short films
Still Devout (20 min) directed by Melissa Perez and Lucy (12 min) directed by Melinte Reitzema