Trans Documentary Drinking Game

Posted by – July 20, 2009

In light of the documentary about Chloe Prince that will air tomorrow night, I thought we should all be prepared for what looks like it’s going to be a doozy of a predictable documentary.

So, the rules, such as they are, for watching a trans documentary:

  1. Putting on makeup. Two drinks for reverse camera shot into mirror.
  2. Doing anything better done in jeans and sneakers in heels and a skirt. Examples: cleaning the house, shoveling the sidewalk, yard work, walking the dog.
  3. Before picture shown. Two drinks for picture in stereotypical male mode (sports team, facial hair, military, wedding tux)
  4. Camera shot putting on or taking off a bra.
  5. Photo of any wig, breast form, padding, etc.
  6. Surprise disclosure, when a trans woman is introduced and then partway through the piece, her secret is revealed.
  7. Camera focus on masculine body parts: hands, feet, Adam’s apple, height, etc.
  8. Any reference to genital surgery that refers to “becoming a woman” or “finally a woman”
  9. Minor chords played softly on a piano
  10. talk show host saying “you go girl”
  11. any discussion of plumbing or electricity
  12. black and white childhood shots, MTF with cap gun and cowboy hat, FTM as ballerina.
  13. Trans woman saying, “I am not a crossdresser. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
  14. Trans woman clutching large teddy bear in hospital bed.
  15. Birthday balloons after surgery.
  16. Trans woman with new boyfriend (after shot of tearful ex-wife).
  17. Trans woman sitting in chair in above-the-knee skirt, posed so you can see what great gams she has.
  18. Patient wheeled off to surgery …
  19. … lingering shot of the hospital bed with the teddy bear (or wife) left behind.
  20. Shot of protaganist sitting at the computer keyboard, looking at a trans support website or surgeon’s website….
  21. Any helping professional teaching deportment
  22. Camera in the operating room – just drink the whole bottle
  23. Any and all deployments of soft focus = 1 shot
  24. Close up of dotted lines in magic marker on pale fleshy body parts = 1 shot
  25. Earnest surgeon describes his motivation as “to help [girlname] become the woman she’s always really felt herself to be” = 3 shots
  26. Before picture with extreme facial hair – 1 shot
  27. Before picture in uniform – Military, Football, etc… – 2 shots
  28. Video from hair removal session : Laser – 1 shot, electrolysis – 2 shots
  29. Before picture – Last time she wore a dress (F2M) – 1 shots
  30. Breast binding – 2 shots
  31. Taking Hormones – Self-injecting -3 shots, orals – 1 shot
  32. Did anyone mention an arduous and lonely childhood?
  33. Meeting the school bully as “the new me” at the High School reunion?
  34. Looking at the old picture of self and saying something to the effect of “he was a nice guy….” or “Ken was a lot of fun, but his time is over. It’s Ginger’s turn now!”
  35. Trans woman claiming to have IS chromosomal pattern, an affinity for washing dishes, a sudden dislike of sports, etc.

Believe it or not, these are not the most snarky suggestions by some of our mHB board members. Also remember: there are quite a few people who hang out on our boards who have done this kind of media work, including me & Betty, of course, but also Jenny Boylan, amongst others. We need to laugh at ourselves as much as we laugh at the inanity of it all.

Twelve-Steppers should find their own version, of course. Maybe those ice cream poppers? But the point is to feel as physically ill by the end as the drinking crowd.

(Thanks and love to Gwen Smith who wrote her own version of this back in 2005 and to anyone else who has posted their version of this game.)

32 Comments on Trans Documentary Drinking Game

  1. cindik says:

    If I played by these rules, I would be DOA of alcohol poisoning at the ER.

    By halfway through the film.

    Drinking near beer.

  2. Betty says:

    My liver shudders in horror at the sight of that list.

  3. Hmmm? I’m trying to think of the right word for what I sense here. Ok, I’ve got it…but I won’t post it.

  4. gwenners says:

    This reminds me of something. Oh, yes…

  5. cindik says:

    I would add:

    transgender person dies tragically
    transgender person is found guilty

  6. helenboyd says:

    i am trying to keep a sense of humor about this one, but it’s not really working.

    Prince’s comments about “liking attention because she’s a woman” offend me so deeply i want to spit nails.

  7. Josie says:

    “Twelve-Steppers should find their own version, of course. Maybe those ice cream poppers? But the point is to feel as physically ill by the end as the drinking crowd.”

    I’m pleased you thought of us!

    Donut holes perhaps…

  8. helenboyd says:

    Josie, I’m related to plenty of you. It’s the hardest thing in the world, kicking an addiction.

  9. Rachel says:

    Familiarity breeds affection. Good meme, Gwen.

  10. Leah B says:

    So what do we do on the odd occasion they do something completely unexpected and positive? Eat veggies?

  11. Leah B says:

    Ooh, or maybe 20 sit-ups?

  12. […] slightly funnier aside, and as a service to those of you unfamiliar with it, there’s also the Trans Documentary Drinking Game. I provide the rules now in case you happen to see one and I don’t have time to forewarn (or […]

  13. Adrien says:

    I’m taping the Oprah today so I can play this in the evening, when it is more appropriate to get alcohol poisoned. :)

  14. […] *There was one on Dr. Phil a year or two ago. I could have gotten plastered playing Helen Boyd’s Trans Documentary Drinking Game while that was […]

  15. […] the other hand, in the transsexual drinking game, we […]

  16. […] if you’ve got nothing else to do that night, break out the tequila and play the Trans Documentary Drinking Game…here are the […]

  17. […] organising canapés and flowing alcohol – nuff respect. Don’t imagine you’ve seen your last dressing-table scene though. And I’ll be a long time dead before transphobic violence and bullying disappear […]

  18. […] the argument unfiltered and undistorted … in short something very different to the same old  Trans Documentary Drinking Game …. again and again and again. After all, if you are a traditional liberal media organization […]

  19. […] been name-checked in The Guardian for the Trans Documentary Drinking Game. Hysterical. Thanks to all who contributed to that list way back […]

  20. […] employment of numerous cissexist tropes (as Paris Lees noted in the Guardian, anyone playing the Trans Documentary Drinking Game whilst watching My Transsexual Summer is guaranteed to get utterly sozzled very quickly), the dodgy […]

  21. […] cheeky Huff’s story comes complete with trans drinking game cliches such as big glossy before n’ after photos and excited reference to the ‘surgery […]

  22. […] together the short were pretty respectful of this too. The whole thing is largely free of the usual transphobic tropes, which is an achievement in and of […]

  23. confused says:

    Hi I’m a partner of a transgender and am reading Christen’s book, It has really opened my eyes, besides yours . Still looking for anwers I can agree with but I’m still working at it.

  24. […] nor will you see me teetering around in stilettos. I’m guessing that if you play the “Trans Documentary Drinking Game” while watching this show, you’ll end up […]

  25. […] article about a trans person becomes almost predictable enough to make a drinking game out of, their birth name will be mentioned despite its utter irrelevance. “Born a man” will […]

  26. […] This has led to innumerable versions of the “Transgender Documentary Drinking Game,” which involve taking a drink every time the documentary does something trite and predictable for a straight audience. […]

  27. […] to the public aren’t always perfect. The infamous Transgender Documentary Drinking Game ( is a great example of how the media seems to routinely misinterpret our lives. The focus on […]

  28. […] Aside from the obvious tropes, Allyson Robinson wrote a good piece about why she didn’t watch, which I’m going to summarize: 1) Jenner coming out doesn’t change the work that needs to be done, 2) If anything, Jenner coming out has just increased the work to be done, and 3) the media is a poor tool for the work because it is always, always based on consumerism and advertising dollars. But do go read the whole thing as she makes key points on each of these issues, and her analysis of the usefulness connects right back to why the Trans Documentary Drinking Game exists in the first place. […]

  29. […] were no new names, or new pronouns; there was no new appearance. The “transformation,” so often fetishized in trans documentaries was wholly absent. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with sharing those parts of […]

  30. […] were no new names, or new pronouns; there was no new appearance. The “transformation,” so often fetishized in trans documentaries was wholly absent. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with sharing those parts of […]

  31. […] I didn’t really follow or pay attention to his interview either. I assumed it’d be the typical sensationalized media that treats transgender people as spectacles, with questions that focus on genitals and physical appearances. The kind of thing that is so common that transgender people have even developed a drinking game for it. […]

  32. […] that trans folks are so familiar with talking about in media that we’ve created a “transgender documentary drinking game,” where you take a shot every time an interview features footage of a trans woman poignantly […]

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