In early 2016, when a dark wave of anti-transgender “bathroom bills” began sweeping across the nation, The Human Rights Campaign published a report identifying 2016 as the most dangerous year for transgender Americans.
In Washington State six such “bathroom bills” were introduced in the State Legislature. Documentary filmmaker Vlada Knowlton captured the ensuing civil rights battle from the perspective of a small group of embattled parents as they banded together to fight a deluge of proposed laws that would strip away the rights of their young, transgender children.
As one of the parents, Knowlton presents an intimate portrait of her own struggle to protect her five-year-old transgender daughter from laws inspired by ignorance and fear.
From tension-filled Senate hearings in Olympia to intimate household settings of the families involved; from thought provoking conversations with key lawmakers to elucidating facts explained by leading scientists – The Most Dangerous Year explores the transgender civil rights battle in all its richness and complexity.
While the film follows the story and outcome of anti-transgender legislation in Washington, the heart of the film lies in the stories of the families who made the decision to accept and support their kids for exactly who they are.
Talking about making the film, Knowlton said “Through it all I forced myself to take off my Mama Bear hat and put on my Filmmaker hat whenever necessary, doing everything I needed to do to remove myself from emotional turmoil and craft a film that I felt could make a difference.”
“It was very important to me to tell the story in an objective and factual way and let both sides of the battle speak for themselves in their own voices. I believed that representing the anti-transgender-rights arguments clearly and authentically would best serve the film’s audience when thinking through the issues. As difficult as that was, I found that as a parent, when you are forced to defend your child’s life and future, your reservoir of fortitude is limitless.”