Elevate Difference

Put This on the {Map}: East King County

Part education, part cinema, all honesty. Put This on the {Map}: East King County gives a youthful face to gender and sexuality through its twenty-six compelling high school narrators. Filmed in Washington State on the east side of Seattle, where there is seemingly no visibility of queer youth, the strength of these young people to comes out on camera. Celebrating who they are is astonishing for any high schooler, let alone a queer one in a community where they are often isolated.

With the explicit goal of “reteaching gender and sexuality," Put This on the {Map} opens by defining the term gender itself. Some of the more useful educational exercises include a visual of a football field to explain the spectrum of gender and clarifying sexuality and gender through personal stories. Biology versus gender is difficult to grasp for many adults in our heteronormative society, and this film explains it to youth in simple yet never patronizing terms.

Shifting from an educational lens to the stories of the youth dealing with many familiar themes like depression, drug abuse, and bullying, one that was especially powerful was of a young, FTM transman explaining the challenges of returning to his school among the classmates who previously knew him as a girl in middle school. The dating difficulties segment in particular seemed really useful and unique. It provided a space to not feel so alone while going through all the trouble of self-discovery and disclosure, and still not being able to find a date.

From the personal to the political, the youth in this film move to speak directly to a wider audience. Peers, parents, friends, families, and the universe are called upon not for pity but receptivity and support, even if folks aren't sure whether a young person truly needs their help. Harboring wisdom beyond their years resulting from deep self-exploration, the young people seek a world where all people can marry in any state, bathrooms no longer succumb to assumptions of sexual violence if a woman’s pants are down within three feet of a man, and a country where comprehensive sex education is the norm. Obvious to some, but it is the privilege of hope amongst youth that gives it so much power. Watching a teenager explain genderqueer as limiting is absolutely phenomenal.

You can find this thirty-four-minute film at www.putthisonthemap.org, with other educational tools soon to follow.

Written by: Nicole Levitz, February 28th 2011

The link to the site is not working. I think there's a typo and it should be www.putthisonthemap.org.

The review is great and I can't wait to see the film and recommend it to my daughter's teachers.

Eep! I've just made the link change. Thanks Kario!