The Most Dangerous Year


Northwest Connections | 2018 | 90 minutes

Stranger Says:

Apparently, 2016 was the most dangerous year for trans people. After the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in the summer of 2015, the antigay agenda had lost, but their energy didn’t just disappear. Instead, director Vlada Knowlton’s documentary posits that antigay activists focused on a different target: anti-trans bathroom bills. The film features multiple Washingtonian families with young trans children affected by the flood of bathroom bills that appeared in 2016. The portraits are a humanizing and well-researched look at an issue that seems mind-blowingly simple to many progressives: Why can’t people pee where they want to pee?

SIFF Says:

In 2016, a wave of discriminatory anti-transgender legislation swept the nation along with an uptick in violence against LGBTQ people, making it one of the most deadly years for the community in recent history. Local filmmaker Vlada Knowlton’s documentary details her family’s initial journey as they combat Washington state bill SB6443, a discriminatory measure intended to force all people to use the public restroom that coincides with their birth sex. From there, the legislature is bombarded with initiatives meant to replace the bill, but they didn’t fight alone as several families with transgender children would join the statewide movement for their civil liberties. Knowlton’s youngest daughter Annabelle steals hearts as a trans girl simply learning to be a kid, while Aiden Key, a nationally renowned Seattle-based transgender rights activist and educator who also produced the film, connects audiences with his work helping the Snohomish School District develop trans-friendly policies. Instead of shaming those unsure of or against transgender rights, Knowlton’s team invites a conversation. As Washington state senator Joe Fain points out, we lose the battle for understanding when we stop speaking with one another.

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Film Credits
Vlada Knowlton
Aidan Key, Cyrus Habib, Annabelle Knowlton
SIFF 2018