Film about Deaf and Trans

Although he was born to a hearing family, Austin has long been a member of the Deaf community. He was born in a female body, but identifies as a man. Growing up, Austin attended different Deaf and oral schools. His family finally learned sign language to communicate, and hoped his gender expression was just a phase.

Help! What is the sign for trans?

What else do I need to become a good ally? This film will offer you some insight to these questions, through the lens of Austin’s experience.

What a wonderful film! Blankety Blank, NIC

Clip "sign for trans"

Deaf Experience

Austin was born in the early 70’s, when captions were rarely broadcast on TV, laws were being passed requiring schools to provide access, and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf was finally incorporated. At that time, there was no IEP. Until the internet became popular in the late 90’s, this meant finding resources and information mostly by word of mouth.

Today, Deaf people are seeing more representation in the media with films such as Wonderstruck and Switched at Birth. Sign language is being offered at more colleges and in K-12 settings, making our world a more accessible place than ever. Indeed, the Deaf community is less marginalized, but films centered around a Deaf character are still uncommon. Austin Unbound is the first documentary film about a Deaf person who is trans. The film offers a complete “voices-off” experience with just subtitles and music – no voice-overs.


Austin took time for serious consideration before allowing filmmakers to document his journey for top-surgery. He wasn’t living in stealth among friends and relatives, but moving forward with the film meant he would be out to complete strangers. In the Deaf-world, this can have graver implications, since the community is small meaning privacy comes at a premium. Austin ended up deciding he was willing to share his story because none before his accomplished this through the Deaf perspective. He wanted to bestow his story to young Deaf people who were exploring gender identity, Deaf and hearing people who may not be aware of the gender spectrum, and to the rest of society who may not have had the privilege to experience Deaf culture firsthand.

Once he made the decision, Austin did not hold back. He takes us through a sex store, showing FTM packers and his preferred sex toy. He talks about testosterone affects on genitalia, discusses prosthetic penises and invites us into his doctor’s appointment and into the operating room.

ASL Video Features

This documentary features rich Deaf culture features such as:

  • ASL Poetry – rich with classifiers
  • Classic Deaf Joke – Speeding Ticket
  • Regional signs of the Pacific Northwest
  • Captions – for the “signing impaired”

{Explain the deal, limited time first 20 get a pin}

“Austin Unbound asks audiences to gaze into a normally private journey. I ask myself what kind of gaze is this? What outcome will result from this viewing? Austin takes us on a deeply personal journey. For that I am Grateful.” Ben Bahan, ASL Literature Professor, Gallaudet University

“Austin Unbound wraps social barriers, body issues, and the challenges of an invisible dual minority, into a smart, moving film. It deals with institutionalized gender oppression and the result is one tight, effective documentary that viewers will take in with their eyes and hearts.” Jane Norman, Ph.D., Professor,  Communication Studies, Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.


Austin Unbound is now available to add to home collection of sign language videos. Buy the DVD for your personal library or watch it online.

Host a Deaf event with Austin Unbound. Share the film with your community as a way to give back. > next page – book Austin!

Tips for dating Deaf.