Documentary Drama Sport

Changing the Game

This Hulu doc about three transgender student athletes goes for the gold.

In my travels as young film critic, I’ve never come across a documentary that focuses on transgender athletes, until Hulu and director Michael Barnett released “Changing the Game.” Three student athletes by the names of Mack Beggs, Sarah Rose, and Andraya Yearwood have big dreams of being accepted in the sport world for who they are, while dealing with the booing and discriminations. Barnett captures the sentimentality and importance of what else goes on in the games, besides the cheating and betting. I’m no sports expert (and I do exercise BTW), but I see these transgender athletes as human beings, who deserve love and equality.

In Texas, we meet Mack Beggs, a young transgender wrestler, who was born a girl, and takes testosterones in order to become more manly. She wants nothing more than to wrestle boys, but given the circumstances, she can only fight girls. The people who support him include is deputy sheriff grandmother Nancy and his war vet grandfather, both of whom took him in, and his friend Preslee, who knows what he has to go through-the bullying (from mostly adults), prejudice, and booing.

In New Hampshire, we meet Sarah Rose, a YouTuber and professional skier, who is also a transgender teen, who longs for equality. Her parents Jen and Tom worry about her succumbing to the insults and prejudice, especially since she could get fired from her ski school job for being a transgender. But they also acknowledge that she’s a brave girl, who rises to the occasion and uses her words wisely.

And in Connecticut we meet Andraya Yearwood, a runner, who is unhappy by the fact that transgenders have no rights to run with women, when they have segregated transgender teams. They see her as a boy, while her mother Ngozi sees her as her child. She had no roles models-African-American transgender role models-as Ngozi explains, but she knows her child has enough high spirits to survive the outcome.

I’m probably being repetitive here, but all three of them have high spirits and energy, and all of them never lose hope or dignity.

“Changing the Game” is quite essential to the LGBTQ community, and for those who aren’t gay, but have the utmost respect for them. Besides the sports, the movie also shows issues about segregated high school bathrooms, certain communities, and negative Facebook comments. The worst topic is how over 40% of transgender youth commit suicide. If you abuse, mistreat, and discriminate anyone of the LGBTQ standards, then this is where those victims will end up.

It’s a blessing to know that not everyone is as judgmental or cruel towards them. There are parents, relatives, friends, coaches, and teachers, and so forth, who want them to live their lives and survive any outcome. Mack, Sarah, and Andraya are all lucky to have people who care about them as individuals, and they’re also lucky to express their talents through the power of sports. Some things aren’t easy to comprehend, but these three athletes know what they’re up against, and want to go for their dreams.

Uplifting, inspiring, and beautifully photographed, “Changing the Game” is something to check out on Hulu, whether or not you follow sports, and if you aren’t a hater of the LGBTQ community, then see it for its true colors and passion. Kudos to Barnett for getting this documentary out in the open and to these brave athletes for making it to the finish lines.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

Streaming on Hulu

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