If you were paying attention to the news in 2016, you may certainly recall the anti-transgender "bathroom bills" introduced in the United States. The concept behind them was to legally bar transgender Americans from using bathrooms and locker rooms which align with their gender identity, resulting in the Human Rights Campaign identifying 2016 as the most dangerous year for those in the community. Just in the state of Washington, there were six of these bills introduced in the State Legislature. Determined to protect the civil rights of her own 5-year-old transgender daughter and others like her, award-winning filmmaker Vlada Knowlton chronicled the entire experience in the compelling new documentary The Most Dangerous Year.

Primarily, the movie takes us through this experience through the point-of-view of the Knowlton family. We get to meet Knowlton's sweet transgender daughter, and it's difficult not to feel both saddened and irate when she speaks about her fear of being kicked out of the girl's bathroom. Several other families with a transgender child are featured in the movie as well, many of them with a similar story. While many of these parents didn't know the first thing about what it means to be transgender in the beginning, they really came to very much understand it upon learning the gender identity of their children. Through the intimate portrait of these families' lives provided by the doc, viewers will be able to understand so much more about it as well.

Of course, from those supporting the proposed "bathroom bills," we get to hear the arguments made from the other side. Constantly, the idea was floated that sexual predators were going to start using the other bathroom to prey upon children. This could best be described as fearmongering, and it did bring about many signatures in support of the bills. The ironic part here is how, in reality, only transgender Americans were going to be the ones negatively affected if the bill passed. In retrospect, we now know the attempts to ban transgenders from the appropriate bathrooms have failed, and yet, there still hasn't been a single reported case of someone exploiting this to harm children.

As of now, The Most Dangerous Year is currently sitting on a rare 100% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and once you see the doc for yourself, you'll understand why. As we've seen with these bathroom bills, this subject is something that's clearly confusing to many Americans. The Most Dangerous Year is very informative about the transgender community, fully explaining the science behind it and also providing a painful look at the real-life challenges these people have been forced to face. Fortunately, as the movie shows, America is heading in the right direction with understanding and acceptance.

The Most Dangerous Year is now available on VOD and DVD. As one of the most compelling and moving documentaries to be released in years, this one is definitely a must-see movie, especially for those who feel they don't know enough about the transgender community. You can find out more about the movie at the official website, and you can also check out the trailer below, courtesy of Marymoor Productions on YouTube.

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Jeremy Dick at Movieweb
Jeremy Dick