According to the medical establishment in the 1970s, a person could be transgender or gay, but not both. Lou Sullivan disagreed.
As a gay transgender man, Sullivan defied conventional notions of sexual orientation and gender identity, and as he fought to be understood, he helped pave the way for so many others like him. His story is the focus of Lou Sullivan, one of five short films profiling relatively unknown transgender trailblazers as part of the digital docu-series We’ve Been Around.
“He knew exactly who he was and what kind of life he wanted,” narrator Elliot Montague says of Sullivan in the film.
We’ve Been Around debuts today across EW, PEOPLE, Essence, and the Advocate, and was created by Rhys Ernst (a co-producer on Transparent) and Focus Features, which released The Danish Girl (out now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD) last fall. (The film, about the lives of transgender pioneer Lili Elbe and her wife Gerda Wegener, won star Alicia Vikander an Oscar for playing Wegener on Sunday.)
Watch Lou Sullivan above.