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Film / 3 Generations

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3 Generations (also marketed as About Ray) is a 2015 drama about a transgender boy and his three female guardians: his mother, his grandmother, and his grandmother's partner.

Ray, played by Elle Fanning, is a 16 year old trans boy living with his mother Maggie, his grandmother Dolly, and Dolly's partner Frances. His family has troubling accepting Ray's desire to begin Hormone Replacement Therapy. Difficulties arise because Ray's consent form needs the signature of both his parents, but Ray's father Craig is absent in his life.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: The director ended up creating confusion during an interview. The film is about a transgender boy named Ray who has been living as male full-time for a while and wants to begin testosterone. After backlash for using a cisgender actress instead of a trans man actor, the director backpedaled and said the film was about a tomboy going beyond the norm. There's no indication within the film itself of Ray being anything other than transgender, as the idea of him being a lesbian girl is specifically rejected, he identifies as a boy repeatedly, Ray's desire is to medically transition etc.
  • Coming of Age Story: 3 Generations is about the life of a teenage trans boy as he tries to transition and find out about his Disappeared Dad.
  • Coming-Out Story: Ray is already out but he's just starting to medically transition. The plot revolves around him trying to begin hormones and his family adjusting to the transition.
  • Disappeared Dad: Ray has an absent father named "Craig". He left a decade ago, and has not paid child support for a long time. This becomes an issue because they legally need his consent to start Ray on testosterone in his medical transition. He sets out to meet his father, not only for this but to reconnect and make him understand. It turns out he isn't really Ray's birth father. His brother is, due to Maggie cheating with him. Realizing that, he cut off nearly all contact with them for a decade. It's also mentioned that Dolly and Maggie both lacked a relationship with their fathers.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After lengthy family drama and struggle regarding Ray's identity, both his parents give him consent to start testosterone. His entire family also has accepted him by the end, with Ray also reconnecting with his father and father's family.
  • Hypocrite: Dolly is a lesbian who struggles accepting Ray as her straight trans boy grandson and asks why he couldn't be a lesbian rather than undergoing a gender transition. She acts very much like a lot of straight people would toward a gay or lesbian relative, obliviously so. Ironically her daughter Maggie, Ray's mother, accepts him where Dolly doesn't.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Dolly and her partner Frances are both middle-aged, highly feminine women.
  • Not Actually His Child: It turns out that the reason Craig left Ray and Maggie is because he'd realized he really wasn't Ray's father as a result of Maggie's cheating with his brother.
  • Sobriquet Sex Switch: Ray's deadname was the similar sounding "Ramona".
  • Trans Equals Gay: Ray is a straight trans boy, so his grandmother Dolly wonders aloud why he can't be a lesbian like her, much to her daughter Maggie's annoyance.
  • Trans Tribulations: Ray has to deal not only with his grandmother Dolly initially rejecting his gender as a trans boy, but also getting attacked for it by bigots (he more than held his own though).
  • Unpleasant Parent Reveal: Ray is quite upset to learn that "Uncle Matthew" is his birth father. Not only that, but his family had all kept this from him.
  • Wanted a Gender-Conforming Child: The plot revolves around Ray's female relatives having difficulty accepting his transition. His grandmother Dolly takes it especially hard.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: It turns out Ray's birth father is not really Craig, but Craig's brother Matthew, as a result of Maggie's cheating with him. Due to this, Craig broke off contact with them. Worse yet, everyone but Ray knew, and didn't tell him.

Alternative Title(s): About Ray