Brandon Teena

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Brandon Teena (December 12, 1972 – December 31, 1993) was an American trans man who was raped and murdered in Humboldt, Nebraska in December 1993.[2][3][4] His life and death were the subject of the Academy Award-winning 1999 film Boys Don't Cry, which was based on the documentary film The Brandon Teena Story.[5]



Born Teena Renae Brandon in Lincoln, Nebraska, the youngest of two children to Patrick and JoAnn Brandon. His father died in a car accident eight months before he was born, and he was raised by his mother.[6] JoAnn named her second child after their German shepherd dog, Tina Marie.[6] Teena and his older sister Tammy lived with their maternal grandmother in Lincoln, before they were reclaimed by their mother when Teena was three years old and Tammy was six years old. The family resided in the Pine Acre Mobile Home Park in northeast Lincoln, and JoAnn worked as a clerk in a women's retail store in Lincoln to support the family. As young children, Teena and Tammy were sexually abused by their uncle for several years,[6][7] and Teena and his mother JoAnn sought counselling for this in 1991.[8] JoAnn remarried once from 1975 to 1980, with the marriage having failed due to her husband's alcoholism.[6] Teena's family described him as being a tomboy since early childhood; Teena began identifying as male during adolescence and dated a female student during this period. His mother rejected his male identity and continued referring to him as her "daughter". Teena claimed to be intersex several times, with this later being proven to be false.[9]

Teena and his sister attended St. Mary's Elementary School and Pius X High School in Lincoln, where Teena was remembered as being socially awkward.[6] During his sophomore year, Teena rejected Christianity after he protested to a priest at Pius X regarding Christian views on abstinence and homosexuality.[6] He also began rebelling at school by violating the school dress-code policy to dress more masculine. During the first semester of his senior year, a U.S. Army recruiter visited the high school, encouraging students to enlist in the armed forces. Teena enlisted in the United States Army shortly after his eighteenth birthday, and hoped to serve a tour of duty in Operation Desert Shield. However, he failed the written entrance exam by claiming to be male.[6]

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