Matrix co-director Lilly Wachowski, Pose star MJ Rodriguez, and more feature in this new documentary.

By Nick Romano
June 11, 2020 at 11:52 AM EDT
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At a time when Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling continues to make transphobic remarks on social media and through online writing, here comes the first trailer for Disclosure as an antidote to that rhetoric.

Trailblazing Orange Is the New Black actress Laverne Cox features in and executive produces this Netflix documentary from director Sam Feder that tracks the visibility of trans people in media, from early black-and-white silent film to the Jerry Springer spectacle talk-show era to the revolution of trans storytelling in shows like Pose and Transparent.

"I think, for a very long time, the ways in which trans people have been represented on screen have suggested that we're not real, have suggested that we're mentally ill, that we don't exist," Cox says in the documentary. "And yet here I am, yet here we are, and we've always been here."

Ava Benjamin Shorr/Netflix

In a sense, Disclosure acts as a spiritual descendant of the Celluloid Closet, focusing entirely on the evolution of trans representation across film and television. Interviewed subjects include Matrix co-director Lilly Wachowski, Pose star MJ Rodriguez, Sense8 actress Jamie Clayton, Mrs. Fletcher's Jen Richards, Strong Island documentarian Yance Ford (who was the first trans filmmaker to receive an Oscar nomination), and Hustlers star Trace Lysette, among many others.

In a director's statement on Disclosure, Feder emphasized the importance of using "only trans people" as featured subjects in the documentary.

"We want audiences to enjoy the nostalgia of archival clips while sitting with complicated feelings," the filmmaker said. "We do not want to tell anyone how or what to think. Rather, ask how can we be critically engaged with problematic material, knowing that change happens over time, is not linear, and often people don't know what they don’t know."

Disclosure will premiere on Netflix this June 19.

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