Image: Four of the transgender actors appearing in powerful short film Listen by Jake Graf courtesy of Jake Graf Instagram
Short film Listen, by Jake Graf, powerfully depicts the heartbreaking struggles and torment experienced by trans children and teenagers in their daily lives.
Graf is an English trans actor, writer and director who had a role in The Danish Girl and is playing a cis character in new film Colette, alongside Keira Knightley. In March, he celebrated a personal milestone, marrying Hannah Winterbourne who is the highest-ranking openly trans officer in the British Army.
Image: Jake Graf and his wife Hannah Winterbourne, the highest-ranking openly trans officer in the British Army courtesy of Jake Graf Instagram
Graf has released Listen in honour of Trans Awareness Week and made the film in conjunction with UK charity Mermaids, which supports gender non-conforming children and their families.
The four and a half minute film stars real transgender children who have each experienced the kind of rejection, ridicule and bullying that is portrayed in the film.
There are scenes depicting a trans girl whose boyfriend loves her in private and bullies her in public, a trans boy so scared of using the toilet that he starves himself and doesn’t drink, a trans girl who is invisible as her parents struggle with their own feelings around her transition, a young trans boy who is tormented when he uses the toilet and a young girl terrified that she won't survive male puberty.
Through his work as a patron of Mermaids, Jake has seen for himself what a difference support and acceptance make to trans children’s lives.
"The current conversation around all things transgender, while focused largely on trans kids and their right to exist, has rather strikingly failed to include them," he says.
"It was important to me to give a voice to these bright, articulate and hopeful young people, who only ask that they be heard and supported.”
“We have listened to the arguments against simply allowing young people to be who they so desperately need to be, and now we need to pay attention to the kids themselves."