Six fathers of transgender children gathered together in March 2022 to go for a weekend of fishing in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, and award-winning director, producer and writer Luchina Fisher created an impactful short documentary out of it.
‘The Dads’ features fathers who are racially, politically, generationally and geographically diverse, but they bonded over raising their children in present day America. In a recent interview with People, Fisher shared that she met dads Wayne Maines, Frank Gonzales and Dennis Shepard through their involvement with the Human Rights Campaign.
For more context, Shepard is the father of late gay college student Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998. Additionally, dads José Trujillo, Stephen Chukumba and Pete Betz were also invited to join the trip.
Not to mention, Maines is the father of ‘Supergirl’ actress Nicole Maines, who is the first transgender superhero in the CW show. He admitted that he initially “had this impression” of what his children were “supposed to be,” however that changed when “hate groups came to Maine and attacked our family.”
Maines then expressed,
“Once I admitted that I was ashamed of my child telling me that she wanted to wear a dress, I realized, ‘What the hell’s wrong with that?'”
Meanwhile, Shepard noted:
“It’s like the color of your eyes. It’s not a choice, it’s not a lifestyle. It’s who that person is. Period.”
Moreover, Gonzales shared a message for other parents, expressing:
“My advice to other parents would be to allow yourself some grace and look inwardly. It is a process of learning. At least it was for me. I probably took too long to be fully on board. Once I was, I saw my daughter really flourish and our relationship drastically improved. I saw her self-confidence. And that’s what we all want.”
“Believe your children because we as parents have many biases based on our upbringing. Because we aid our children with so many things in life, we think that we have authority over everything,” Trujillo advised.
To which Maines agreed, stating:
“We definitely gotta let ’em be who they need to be, but then we need to look at our own weaknesses and work on a few things.”
‘The Dads’ documentary had its world premiere at South by Southwest earlier this month, and it will be shown at the BFI Flare: LGBTQIA+ Film Festival in London, the ACT Human Rights Film Festival in Fort Collins, Colorado, and at Palm Beach International in April.