From tension-filled Senate hearings in Olympia to intimate household settings of the families involved; from thought provoking conversations with key lawmakers to elucidating facts explained by leading scientists, The Most Dangerous Year explores the transgender civil rights battle in all its richness and complexity. While the film follows the story and outcome of anti-transgender legislation in Washington, the heart of the film lies in the stories of the families who made the decision to accept and support their kids for exactly who they are.
In early 2016, when a dark wave of anti-transgender "bathroom bills" began sweeping across the nation, The Human Rights Campaign published a report identifying 2016 as the most dangerous year for transgender Americans. In Washington State alone, six such "bathroom bills" were introduced in the State Legislature. Filmmaker Vlada Knowlton captured the ensuing civil rights battle from the perspective of a group of embattled parents as they banded together to fight a deluge of proposed laws that would strip away the rights of their young transgender children. With the help of a coalition of state lawmakers and civil rights activists, these families embarked on an uncharted journey of fighting to protect and preserve their children's human rights and freedoms in this present-day civil rights movement. As one of these parents, Knowlton presents an intimate portrait of her own struggle to protect her transgender daughter from laws inspired by hate and fear.
The Most Dangerous Year premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival, receiving a
runner-up award for Best Documentary, and went on to win a Best Social Issue
Documentary award at the Atlanta International Documentary Film Festival. The film had a successful limited
theatrical run in April 2019, and is currently 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.