Trans Athletes Are “Changing the Game” on Hulu


Hulu is going all out to celebrate LGBTQI+ Pride Month with both the old and the new.

The chestnuts include both The Birdcage and The Full Monty, a duo from 1997 celebrating drag-queen family values and amateur stripping. Then there last year's Supernova, where love and dementia get intertwined while Cowboys spotlights a Montana dad struggling to salvage his trans son's life. And don’t you dare overlook the second season of Love, Victor, an engaging recreation of high-school closeted neurosis and romance.

A must-see though is Michael Barnett's Changing the Game (2019), a moving, much too timely documentary on three trans-teens competing in the sports.

First, there's Mack Beggs, a Texas high-school wrestler forced to wrestle girls while he considers himself a boy. Does being on testosterone give him an unfair advantage? Some of the media, a few of Mack's opponents, and many of their parents certainly feel so. And what happens when he wins the state championship?

Intercut with his journey is Sarah Rose Huckman's. She's a transgender female skier, who sometimes holds back from winning her events to avoid criticism that it's inequitable for her to compete against cisgender girls her age because of her biology.

Andraya Yearwood is a runner, who also faces similar hostility. An old-school feminist, attending one of Yearwood's runs, rants that this teen has "made a mockery of women's sports."


Thankfully, these determined athletes all have support from their parents, guardians, friends, and coaches. Yet in a world when coming out as just gay or lesbian is still not a walk in the park, to be trans seems that much harder. According to a 2018 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics and as reported by the Human Rights Campaign, "more than half of transgender male teens who participated in the survey reported attempting suicide in their lifetime, while 29.9 percent of transgender female teens said they attempted suicide. Among non-binary youth, 41.8 percent of respondents stated that they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives." As Beggs' grandfather notes, "There’s always some redneck against [them]."

Yearwood's mom agrees and explains why athletics must be open to her daughter and other trans teens: "This is important. We're talking about life or death. It scares me the numbers what she's up against. What my child won't be is suicidal. What my child won't be is on drugs. If track gives these young kids an opportunity to be living their truth, how dare we take that away from them. So for me that's being unfair. That's more than being unfair. That's cruel."

Tales of the City's author, Armistead Maupin, once noted, "The world changes in direct proportion to the number of people willing to be honest about their lives." This is what Changing the Game is about.

(To keep track of all current pro- and anti-transgender legislation in the States, trek on over to the Freedom for All Americans website. (

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