Straightlaced: How Gender's Got Us All Tied Up (2009)

  • Producers: Debra Chasnoff, Sue Chen
  • Director: Debra Chasnoff
Film Length:
67 minutes
Straightlaced: How Gender's Got Us All Tied Up Facebook Straightlaced: How Gender's Got Us All Tied Up Twitter

With a fearless look at a highly charged subject, Straightlaced unearths how popular pressures around gender and sexuality are confining American teens. Their stories reflect a diversity of experiences, demonstrating how gender role expectations and homophobia are interwoven, and illustrating the different ways that these expectations connect with culture, race and class.

From girls confronting media messages about culture and body image to boys who are sexually active just to prove they aren't gay, this fascinating array of students opens up with brave, intimate honesty about the toll that deeply held stereotypes and rigid gender policing have on all our lives. Candid interviews with more than 50 teens from diverse backgrounds are the backbone of the film.

Straightlaced includes the perspectives of teens who self-identify as straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual or questioning and represent all points of the gender spectrum. With courage and unexpected humor, they open up their lives to the camera: choosing between male and female deodorant; deciding whether to go along with anti-gay taunts in the locker room; having the courage to take ballet; avoiding the restroom so they won't get beaten up; or mourning the suicide of a classmate. It quickly becomes clear that just about everything teens do requires grappling with gender and sexuality.

Coming of age today has become increasingly complex and challenging; Straightlaced offers both teens and adults a way out of anxiety, fear and violence and points the way toward a more inclusive, empowering culture.

The accompanying 165-page Straightlaced curriculum guide is designed for use in school, community group and professional development settings.

This film is part of the Respect For All Project

The Film Campaign

Opening Up a National Dialogue on Gender and Sexuality Pressures

The goal of our campaign is to open a national dialogue among youth, educators, families, and communities about gender role expectations and stereotypes, the connection between gender pressures and homophobia, the intersection of gender with race, class and other dimensions of experience.

This film is perfect for high schools, colleges, social service programs, juvenile justice agencies, mental health providers, and advocates working on violence prevention, bullying prevention, peer counseling and education, LGBT youth empowerment, eating disorders, sexuality and violence issues and much more.

Join us! Organize a screening, use the curriculum guide, contact us for professional development workshops.

Issue: Education, Gender & Sexuality


New Day Films


  • CINE - Golden Eagle
  • Dozens of LGBT Film Festivals - Official Selection
  • Hot Springs Documentary Festival - Official Selection
  • The Baltimore Women’s Film Festival - Best Feature Documentary
  • Western Psychological Association Film Festival - Audience Award

Host a Screening: It's Easy As...

  1. Sign Up

    To host a community or campus screening.

  2. Buy the dvd

    Choose the appropriate screening rights for your event.

  3. Plan for max impact!

  4. Get the word out!

    Straightlaced: How Gender's Got Us All Tied Up Flyer Film Flyer
  5. Take Action

    After the film, ask your audience to get involved with your group or take action on a local issue.

    Take Action!
  6. Report Back

    Be sure to let us know how your screening went and how your community is taking action.

    Add feedback!

"Assess Your School Climate" a team activity to evaluate how inclusive, safe, and respectful your school is in relation to gender and sexuality.

Comments on this film: