Freak Show Asks The Question "How Do You Identify?" — & The Answer Is Obliteration

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films.

There's no denying that 2017 has been a tough one for LGBT rights. While visibility is getting better, it's still nowhere close to where it needs to be. There's still a lot to be done in areas like sex education for queer teens and targeted queer harassment in outings. Earlier this year. President Trump attempted to ban transgender Americans from being able to enlist in the United States Armed Forces — the largest employer of trans people in the country.

It's against this backdrop to that the IFC drops its latest film, Freak Show. It's based on the book of the same by former NYC Club Kid James St. James, which was published in 2007. The film adaptation, which was directed by Trudie Styler, first premiered at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year in February.

The story is about Billy Bloom, a queer and gender-explorative teen who gets transferred to a new high school in the conservative South. Bloom enjoys wearing makeup, dressing in drag, and generally disabusing the notions of traditional gender presentation. He's bullied and harassed in school, and is force-taught toxic masculinity when his gym teacher tells the male students, "you're not supposed to feel, you're a man."

He makes some friends in school and beings toning down his gender appearance until he decides that it isn't worth it anymore, and runs for Homecoming Queen. Laverne Cox, who plays a reporter named Felicia, asks him, "how do you want to be identified? Gay? Straight? Transgender?" To which Bloom fiercely replies, "gender obliviator."

The whole story is charming and adorable and sorely needed into today's environment. It premieres in select theaters and on-demand across all platforms on January 12, 2018. Check out the trailer below.

This story has been corrected to include the correct on-demand streaming options.

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