The Bra…


     The Brandon Teena Story is the title to a documentary that is about Brandon Teena, a transgendered person, who was murdered along with two others, in rural Nebraska in 1993.  The story is told through interviews with individuals who knew Brandon, recorded interrogations, trial transcripts, and photographs.  Being that our society has become more image oriented, the advantages of a documentary are that it reaches the visual learner.  Being that I am a visual learner, this documentary allowed me to visualize the message that the directors were trying to portray.   

     It was noteworthy the way in which individuals of authority used their power in an adverse way towards Brandon throughout the documentary.  One example of this was when Sheriff Laux was supposed to be asking questions about the horrifying rape that Brandon experienced.  Instead of showing concern about the rape, Sheriff Laux was crudely interrogating Brandon to find out the “truth” of his identity.  This became obvious when Brandon responded to one of the sheriff’s questions along the lines of how was it relevant to the rape.  Another individual that abused their authority was Lana’s mother.  At a first glance, it was almost as if Lana’s mother was trying to help Brandon through his adversities.  However, it became quite clear that this wasn’t the case when she insisted that Brandon pull down his pants to prove his identity.  How is this scenario even permissible?

     As a result of these occurrences with individuals of authority, it makes this community, as a rural space, seem fundamentally unwelcoming.  One of the few exceptions to this notion could be the mother that was a friend of Brandon’s.  She truly seemed to be concerned about Brandon’s well-being.  This rural space seemed to be primarily a white community, which firmly policed it’s own boundaries.  There was a comment made during the documentary that if any queers were present in the community, they would be escorted out of town.  This comment supports the view that this space was ruled by intense heterosexuality, such as Sheriff Laux.  It seemed to be that in every part of the documentary, from the interrogation by Sheriff Laux to the rape of Brandon Teena, Brandon was always being put back into his place of subordination.  

-Nicki Moon         


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