Teenage artist Brendon Scholl shares their coming out journey alongside family members in Draw With Me, an official Oscar entry for documentary short 2021.
In 2018, Stonewall released its findings on trans life in Britain with the LGBT in Britain (Trans Report). The report highlighted the urgent need to focus on the needs of trans people in building equality and inclusion while showing the hate and discrimination trans people face daily. However, despite the urgent need for change, transphobia continues to be accepted and unchallenged in our media, and while several movies have attempted to play a positive role in needed social change in recent years, the real-life experience of trans people around the world often remains absent.
When individual journeys are given voice through documentary, TV, and film, the effect can be powerful, informative, and transformative, from short films such as Ethan from the UK charity Mermaids to director Jake Graff’s Listen 2018. However, we still need more people to share their stories, experiences, and knowledge in challenging outdated prerequisites and views and talented teenage artist Brendon Scholl is one of them.
“Sexual preference has to do with who you go to bed with, and your identity is who you go to bed as.”
Leslie Ann Lopez.
Draw With Me was created in partnership with The Trevor Project and powered by the Onassis Foundation, with the final film presented at the Tribeca Film Festival with the support of GLAAD. On National Coming Out Day, October 11 2020, President-Elect Joe Biden honoured the subject of the film, Brendon, with the Revry Visibility Award. Director Constantine Venetopoulos commented: “Although I knew that telling this story came with a lot of responsibility, I felt ready, and the family truly made me feel safe and comfortable in doing so.”
“The entire family joined as one in supporting Brendon and the film. What I truly believe drew me to the story, though, was Brendon’s confidence in knowing who they were at such a young age and being ready to use their experience as a tool for other youth who were struggling with their identity and coming out. I thought, ‘I wish I had someone like Brendon to talk to when I was struggling in the closet as a kid.”
Brendon’s confidence and courage will only help more of our young people explore their feelings and emotions while building understanding among parents and carers. To this end, Draw With Me is both a powerful, positive and essential reflection of trans experience, with Brendon’s final message loud and clear, “listen to us… and believe us when we say who we are.”