The life and death of Brandon Tina, the transgender man who inspired the Oscar-winning film Boys Don’t Cry

2022-06-27 0 By

Above: A poster for the 1999 American film Don’t Cry Boys.Brandon Teena was 21 years old when she was raped and killed in a brutal hate crime on Dec. 31, 1993.Brendan Tina is known to many people today as a result of the Oscar-winning 1999 film “Boys Don’t Cry.”But there is more to this young transgender “man” than is shown in the film.After spending most of her life in and around Lincoln, Neb., she decided to move to another part of the state, where no one knew her story in the early 1990s.Brendan Tina hopes she can start a new life in a new place where no one will know she is transgender.But she was exposed in a humiliating way.She was then brutally raped and murdered by two male acquaintances.In the aftermath, many reporters described the incident as curiosity at best and outright joke at worst.But Tina’s tragic death was also a watershed in the history of sexual minorities.Not only did it expose the prevalence of anti-transgender violence in the United States, it arguably paved the way for numerous hate crime laws against transgender people across the country.While much remains to be done, there is no doubt that Brendan Tina’s story has changed the history of transgender discrimination in The United States.Brendan Tina’s early life can be seen above: From an early age, Brendan Tina liked to wear masculine clothes and have relationships with girls.Brendan Tina was born Teena Renae Brandon on December 12, 1972.She grew up in Lincoln, Neb., raised by a single mother named JoAnn Brandon.Tina’s father died in a car accident before she was born, and her mother worked very hard to raise her and her sister.Tina and her sister were also sexually abused by a male relative.Growing up, Tina was often described as a “tomboy.”She prefers men’s clothing to traditional women’s clothing, and Tina’s behavior mirrors that of the local boys in town.She started dating girls when she was in high school.She also adopted masculine names, starting with “Billy” and eventually settling on “Brandon.”Although Tina was popular with girls, some of whom didn’t even know she was transgender, she struggled to concentrate in school.She started skipping classes so often that she was expelled before she graduated.At the same time, she struggled with her relationship with her mother, who didn’t want her to explore her gender identity.As a child, Tina (right) and her sister saw few options for future success, with Tina making ends meet by doing odd jobs and dabbling in crime such as cheque forgery and credit card theft.She was briefly consulted in 1992 by David Bolkovac, director of the Gay and Lesbian Resource Center at the University of Nebraska.At the time, the treatment was seen as an attempt to address a “gender identity crisis,” as many believed Brendan Tina was a lesbian.However, Bolkovac admits this assumption is wrong because Tina believes she is a man trapped in a woman’s body and does not consider herself a lesbian, she believes she is a man.Longing for a fresh start in a place where no one knew she was transgender, Tina decided to move to the Falls City, Nebraska, area before her 21st birthday.But soon after she arrived, tragedy struck.Hilary Swank rose to fame playing Brendan Tina in the 1999 film Boys Don’t Cry.While exploring the Falls City area, Tina settles in a small town called Humboldt and moves into the home of a young single mother named Lisa Lambert.Tina also befriended several locals, including John Lotter and Marvin Thomas Nissen, and began dating a 19-year-old girl named Lana Tisdel.But on December 19, 1993, things began to fall apart.Tina was arrested that day for forging checks.When Tisdell went to pick him up from the prison, she was surprised to find Na in a women’s prison.Tina then said that she was “intersex”, an unsubstantiated statement she had made before, and that she wanted to undergo gender reassignment surgery.In The movie Boys Don’t Cry, Tisdell’s character decided to continue dating Tina despite her surprise confession, but the real Tisdell took issue with it, saying she ended the relationship after the conversation.She even sued Fox Searchlight over the scene, along with other misgivings about the film, and later settled for an undisclosed sum.Tina and Tisdell (right) on a date Regardless, Tina and Tisdell have kept in touch.But Tisdell wasn’t the only one who knew Tina wasn’t transgender.A local newspaper published details of her arrest, including the name given to her by her mother.It means she’s been exposed, and all her new acquaintances know she was born female.Lotter and Nissen were furious when the news reached them.At a Christmas Eve party on December 24, 1993, they violently confronted Tina about her identity.Not only did they physically attack Tina, but they also forced her to take off her clothes in front of party guests, including Tisdell.Lott and Neeson then kidnapped Tina, forced her into a car and brutally raped her.They also threatened to kill Tina if she reported the crime.But eventually, Tina decided to call the police.Unfortunately, Richardson County Sheriff Charles Laux refused to take Tina’s assault seriously.In fact, Loucks seemed more interested in Tina’s transgender identity, asking questions like, “Do you occasionally tuck your socks down your pants to look like a boy?””And” Why do you date girls and not boys when you’re a girl yourself?Even when Loucks asked Tina questions about rape, they were often insulting and dehumanizing.Although Loucks also tracked down Lott and Neeson and interviewed them about the assault, he did not arrest them, giving them enough time to plan the murder of Brandon Tina on December 31, 1993.That day, Lott and Neeson broke into lambert’s house, where Tina was still living.They then shot and killed Tina, and Neeson stabbed her to make sure she was dead.Lott and Neeson also murdered Lambert and Phillip DeVine, another of Lambert’s guests who happened to be dating Tisdell’s sister.The only surviving member of the family was Lambert’s 8-month-old son, who was left alone in his crib to cry for hours.The brutal consequences of the crime are shown above: Brendan Tina’s grave has stirred controversy in recent years because it’s the name she was born with, “Tina Renee Brendan.”Lott and Neeson were arrested later that day and charged with murder.Although both men were found guilty, Lott was sentenced to death and Nissen to life in prison because he agreed to testify against Lott.Nebraska later abolished the death penalty in 2015, meaning Lott was eventually commuted to life in prison as well.Tina’s mother, Joanna Blanton, sued Richardson County and Loucks for failing to protect her child.Joanna asked for $350,000 in damages, but was initially awarded $17,360.At the time, District Judge Orville Coady argued that Tina was “partly responsible” for her death because of her lifestyle.Neeson was arrested but Joanne did not give up, and she was eventually awarded $98,223 in compensation in 2001, which was still far less than her original claim.As for Loucks, shockingly, there were few consequences for his actions, other than being “admonished” and ordered to apologize to Joanna.A few years after the murder, Loucks was elected commissioner of Richardson County.Before retiring, he got a job at Lott’s prison.According to a sheriff who knew Loucks: “Years later, Loucks didn’t spend much time thinking about the tragedy.He rationalized his role so that he was blameless.I believe it’s a defense mechanism.”Joanna holds a picture of Tina as a child. Meanwhile, brendan Tina’s story and portrayal have been mishandled in the media for years.The Associated Press called her a “cross-dressing rape accuser.”Playboy described the murder as “the death of a liar”.Even pro-LGBT newspapers, such as the Village Voice, bunged it up, getting Tina’s gender wrong and portraying her as a lesbian who hated her body because she had been sexually abused and raped as a child.1999 The premiere of “Boys Don’t Cry” softened the harsh criticism of Brendan Tina.Hilary Swank’s poignant portrayal of the doomed character has caused many people to reassess how they feel about trans people.While it didn’t change things overnight, and not everyone was moved by the film, it helped start a national conversation that many felt was long overdue.But Joanna didn’t like it. Despite her heartbreak over her child’s death, she refused to identify Tina as transgender for years and often referred to Her as “she” or her pronouns.When Hilary Swank won an Oscar for her portrayal of Tina, she thanked Her in her acceptance speech using Her name and pronouns, a move that angered Tina’s mother.Joanna, however, has softened in recent years.While she still doesn’t like “Boys Don’t Cry,” she acknowledges that it gave some trans activists a new platform they didn’t have before.Joanna Blanton said: “It gives them a platform to express their opinions and I love that there are a lot of people out there who don’t understand what my children are going through.We’ve come a long way since then.”