Read about the true story.
Read the crime scene account.
Read about gender identity disorder.
Read the movie synopsis.
I wouldn't believe this movie if I didn't know it was based on real events. One of the sites listed describes gender as a continuum that most people fall at the ends of, but some people are at various places in between. An important fact that is left out of the movie is that Teena Brandon was sexually abused by a relative as a child and one function of dressing up as a boy was to avoid future abuse or molestation.
Biblical conservatives believe that homosexuality is one of the worst sins there is. Although this is not a story about homosexuality, it helps me to understand why people in that Bible belt of Nebraska would treat a transgendered person so cruelly. That being said, I don't understand at all. I can understand wanting to hurt people who are mean, wanting to punish people who have done wrong. I might not agree, but I can see why it happens.
Why are the targets of hate so often people who are themselves suffering? Is it because suffering makes people feel vulnerable themselves? Is it an attempt to right some great wrong in the universe? How can causing pain for someone else make some people feel better about themselves?
The only nice thing about this story is that Teena Brandon did find a few people who would accept her for who she was, and that she found an identity that felt right to her for a short while.
If there is a good thing about such an ugly movie, it is that it might promote awareness and acceptance of people who are not just like us. It might help to show us just how ugly we are when we hate.