On Screen, Off the Binary: "L" Sets a New Standard

09/14/2017 06:18 am ET Updated Sep 14, 2017
Still from <em>L: A Story of Genderfluidity</em>
Max Landwirth
Still from L: A Story of Genderfluidity

For the past 3 years, Max Landwirth, a gay, Jewish director in Los Angeles, has been developing a film that delves into an often overlooked and misunderstood community: non-binary people. L: A Story of Genderfluidity, explores the life of L, a genderfluid dancer, who becomes the roommate of Will, a cisgender marketing strategist. After an awkward encounter when Will becomes aware that L is genderfluid, the two embark on a series of adventures through which they learn, grow, and develop respect and a strong friendship.

The film is "poised to be the first feature film to have a gender non-binary character played by a gender non-binary actor in a leading role." In a recent press release, Landwirth stressed his desire to create a film that is true and representative of a non-binary, genderfluid person's experiences: "Authenticity is crucial for this film because this is one of the first films to openly discuss genderfluidity. It is super important that we get it right. That's why I surrounded myself with a team of consultants and advisors who they themselves identify as trans (both binary and nonbinary)." The L team is working hard to ensure that this film is not only entertaining but educational for audiences to better understand what genderfluid means, how to interact with non-binary people, and what allyship really looks like. 

Non-binary is an umbrella term for identities like genderfluid, genderqueer, and gender creative that refer to people whose genders shifts from time to time, people who each have multiple genders, and people with genders that are somewhere in between or beyond the binary of man and woman. Some people state that non-binary identities fall under the same category as transgender identities since both groups do not identify with the genders they were assigned at birth, yet others argue that they face fairly different issues, obstacles, and experiences. Non-binary people may be new to mainstream media but have existed as long as any other gender. In fact, "enbies" (short for "non-binary people" and pronounced as "NBs") are seen in cultures and civilizations around the world, such as with Two Spirit people in Indigenous America, Hijras in India, and Mahu in Hawaii.

"[The film is] is key to expressing the concept of genderfuidity to the general public," says Ann Thomas, founder of Transgender Talent. “This story has amazing credibility and many fairly common threads, and this is a great way to share it, covering aspects of many people's experiences. I even share in some of them. It especially has the potential of winning the audience over to loving L as a person." 

L is being developed at an interesting time in an increasingly hostile political landscape, yet Landwirth is certain that his film will serve as a reminder of the power of compassion:

"If we can learn how to embrace what makes each and every one of us unique, I am confident that we, as human beings, can foster a world that is more accepting of diversity. This film demonstrates that people are so much more than the labels society gives them. The truth is that people are just people - regardless of their race, ethnicity, orientation, gender expression, beliefs, etc."

To learn more about L: A Story of Genderfluidity and to donate to the Kickstarter campaign, click on the following link: www.LTheMovie.com

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