A Change.org petition calling on the Motion Picture Association of America to re-classify the drama "3 Generations" has met its initial goal of 25,000 signers in just three days online.
The drama, which centers around a teenage girl's search to find her biological father in order to get his permission to transition to a transgender boy, is presently rated "R," which restricts moviegoers under the age of 17 from watching a movie in theaters with a parent or guardian present.
"All that differentiates the film from other PG-13 films is a few instances of strong language. The film does not include graphic violence, drug use, or nudity - it merely portrays a modern family," writes Clemson University grad student Blair Durkee in her petition published on April 18.
Ms. Durkee herself is transgender and complains that many transgender youth would be unable to see the film due to its current age restriction.
"The Williams Institute at UCLA estimates that there are 150,000 transgender youth between the ages of 13 and 17 in the United States. ... This is a story about them, being denied to them, simply because the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) - which sets the ratings - doesn't know what to do with the subject matter," Ms. Durkee writes in her petition.
For its part, the production company behind "3 Generations," The Weinstein Company, has publicly criticized the MPAA and asked for a reclassification, while an executive with LGBT rights group GLAAD has written that the current R-rating is "dangerous" to transgender youth.
"Rating '3 Generations' as R is dangerous. It sends the message that something about being transgender is somehow not appropriate for children," wrote GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis wrote in a guest column for Variety. "It creates an unnecessary hurdle for transgender youth who want to see the film, and a character that they can finally connect with. The MPAA's antiquated decision follows a tired narrative that LGBTQ topics are solely adult in nature - when nothing could be further from the truth.
"It's no secret that Hollywood has a diversity problem, whether it be in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity - there is a dearth of stories that represent everyone," Ms. Ellis wrote.
According to the Internet Movie Database, "3 Generations" was first released in Canada in September 2015 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and is slated for a limited release on May 5, three days after its release at the Bentonville Film Festival in Arkansas.