Lifetime Television kicked off Pride Week Monday (June 19) on a somber note, airing The Gwen Araujo Story, the true story of a Bay Area teen who was murdered because of her transgender status. The made-for-television movie follows Gwen Araujo (played by J.D. Pardo), born Eddie Araujo, as she defies her family's traditional Latino heritage by insisting on living as a female and taking her name after Gwen Stefani. When her transgender status is discovered at a party, four young men brutally beat and kill Araujo, and her murder shocks both her local community and the transgender one at large. The Gwen Araujo Story became Lifetime's most watched original movie of the year, averaging 5.1 million viewers, and the second highest-rated movie on basic cable so far in 2006. It will re-air this Sunday, June 25.
The reviews are in. Here's what the people are saying:
"The film puts the life of a transgender under a microscope, and explains the trans phenomenon to those who may not fully understand it. It illustrates the struggles trans people have to deal with, the obstacles they face, and the courage they must surely have to become who they really are. It shows how the changes they make affect their loved ones." -- David Alexander Nahmod, ebar.com
"A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story could have ended up a public service announcement for tolerance, for example. It also could have ended up a tacky, tear-soaked melodrama. Or it could have become both of those things, and something less, as well, which is about what viewers will get." -- David Weigand, sfgate.com
"[The movie] isn't meant for an entirely gay audience. As a result, [it] covers ground that gay audiences will be familiar with, but will go a long way toward teaching a broader audience what it's like to go through life gay or transgender and will perhaps lead to some enlightenment on the subject." -- Brian Moylan, expressgaynews.com
Talk: Did you see The Gwen Araujo Story? How well did it address the subject of transgendered youth in America? COMMENT
On the Web: The Gwen Araujo Story at lifetimetv.com