Eliza Steinbock
Towards Trans Cinema
– Routledge Companion to Cinema and Gender
Book chapter 2016


This chapter takes up the designation of trans cinema as a provocation to think cinema’s multiple components, including film texts, screen media, and spectators, from a trans perspective. Trans is a prefixial term for a range of non-binary and non-conforming gender identities, but it can also be affixed to man and woman (i.e. trans man) to signify the experience, past or present, of a transitional state of sexed being. Gender variance in cinema dates to the first films, and continues in popularity across screen media from television, to the Internet, to film industries, be they independent, Hollywood or Bollywood. Since the late 1990s, a growing number of trans-specialized film festivals from Amsterdam to Beirut, Bologna, London, Los Angeles, Munich, Seattle, Sydney, Toronto, and Quito showcase national trans cinemas from around the world. In fact, the history of trans cinema is so rich and varied it is remarkable how little sustained attention trans-focused moving images have garnered from feminist film theorists or genre specialists.