Mama Has a Mustache

A short, quirky animated documentary about identity and family outside of the traditional gender binary, as seen through children’s eyes.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
10 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


Mama has a Mustache is a short, quirky, fully animated documentary about gender and family, as seen through children’s eyes. Driven completely by audio interviews of kids ages 5-10, the film uses these sound bytes combined with clip-art and mixed media to explore how children are able to experience a world outside of the traditional gender binary.

The latest film in New Day’s Youth & Gender Media Project collection!

Featured review

Using audio interviews, animation, and colorful collage mixed media, this adorably charming documentary short offers a touching guide to trans parenting. Told from the perspective of the kids’ experiences, filmmaker Sally Rubin gently interviews kids on what it’s like to grow up with trans and gender nonconforming parents. Their observations are honest, hilarious, and always straight from the heart. A documentarian known for features about life in Appalachia, including “Deep Down: A Story from the Heart of Coal Country” (2010) and “Hillbilly” (2018), “Mama Has a Mustache” marks a more playful, but just as vital, side to Rubin’s work.
Judy Dry


Mama has a Mustache is a short, quirky, fully animated documentary about gender and family, as seen through children’s eyes. Driven completely by audio interviews of kids ages 5-10, the film uses these sound bytes combined with clip-art and mixed media to explore how children are able to experience a world outside of the traditional gender binary.

The idea of gender as a construct, rather than a biological trait, is not a new one. But the ways in which Americans are embracing this notion on a broad, national scale are vast and exciting. As we enter 2024, a slew of new terms are being used to describe anyone who identifies as outside the bounds of traditional gender expression: gender nonconforming, gender variant, gender fluid, genderqueer, among others, all used adamantly to eclipse the gender binary. Within this context, kids’ own gender identities and their perceptions of their parents’ gender are more complicated and nuanced than ever. How do kids, many of whom embrace this gender nonbinary, perceive their own and their parents’ gender? What are the ways in which children of nonbinary people are freed up to express themselves in a whole new range of forms? During a time when our world is suffering from so much pain and divisiveness, Mama has a Mustache seeks to explore and uncover this exciting new frontier--with lightness, humor, childlike openness, and play. The film is quirky, nuanced and meaningful but also humorous, taking a tone more curious than preachy, raising more questions than delivering answers.


“Mama Has A Mustache” is a wonderful film! The children who star in it are delightful—so smart and funny and loving and free. It is so inspiring to hear children talk about gender in such a matter-of-fact, respectful, and accepting way. I had a smile on my face the whole time I watched the film, even at the end when I also had tears in my eyes. To hear children saying that they love themselves “one-hundred percent” and wouldn’t change anything about themselves is nothing short of revolutionary. Thank you, Sally Rubin, for creating this important, moving film.
Lesléa Newman, author of Heather Has Two Mommies and Sparkle Boy
Engaging, important work. The posing of questions allows for a very `soft landing’ onto the complex terrain of both gender identities and family constellations. The kids were drawn so much as individuals that one could enter into their stories very easily, and their portrayals of themselves and their families allow for the complexities to be revealed, but also the rather ordinaryness of family life in its many permutations. I can imagine that kids would find this very accessible, keeping them in the stories and the inquiries.
Diane O’Donoghue, PhD, Director, Program for Public Humanities, Tufts University
This film is not only fun to watch visually, but also so endearing! Hearing candid responses from various children from different family backgrounds creates an accessible conversation about gender that can engage all ages--kindergarten through high school and college. The delivery of the content in this film is not only artistic and informative but also maintains a genuine and humble tone through the children's responses. By doing this, the film frames the conversation around gender expression and identity as a normal conversation and part of life rather than a political debate. In my experience with different elementary-aged students, I can envision how this film, paired with a preview of vocabulary (like pronouns and non-binary) and a few intentional and developmentally appropriate questions could create a rich discussion and learning experience for all students.
Jessica Stephen, Elementary School Teacher
'Mama Has a Mustache' is a delightfully real and candid film about gender identity that I could use in a multitude of ways in my middle school English classroom. I would use this film as a precursor for books that feature LGBTQIA+ characters. I would also use this film as an opportunity for students to have space for an authentic expression of self and follow it up with an 'I Am' Poem Activity. Overall, this film has an immense value not only for LGBTQI+ students but also students who are allies, students who are questioning, parents, families, and community members.
Amy Sara Lim, Middle School Teacher
This film provides an opportunity for students of all ages, cultural backgrounds, and identities to start conversations about their authentic selves, and how they want to express themselves. It supports dialogue between parents and their children and creates space for this critical conversation.
Jiva Jimmons, Secondary School Teacher
This is a groundbreaking film - a must see for literally everyone.

Sam Feder, Director, Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen
This is SO SWEET!!!! I loved every moment, I was riveted by these cuties. What a gift, this is a wondrous and beautiful articulation of the future. The material and artistry speaks for itself. The film is *so* beautiful and forward thinking, a true testament to the possibilities of the future. I've never seen anything like it!!!

Zackary Drucker Producer, “Transparent,” “Lady and the Dale”
The sense of freedom these kids feel, the permission their parents' own gender creativity grants them to be themselves, whatever that might be, is a delight to behold--and that delightfulness is gorgeously captured in Max Strebel's whimsical animation.
Susan Stryker, author, Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution
Sharing the film at our conference gave attendees new tools to navigate gender identity. Director Sally Rubin speaks to the hard-hitting questions about trans parenting, raising nonbinary kids, and how this conversation is reshaping how we view what a family looks like.
Erin Uritus, CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
An adorable and smart film! I love these kids, the animation, and how the film promotes ease around these subjects rather than tension and fears around getting things “wrong.”

Amy Scholder, Producer, Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen
I absolutely loved it! Mama Has a Mustache absolutely nails the concept of gender euphoria. The kids in this film are not only adorable and funny, but also profoundly insightful. Their sense of openness and freedom is contagious - they give me hope about the future of gender!
Jae Sevelius, Professor and Transgender Health Researcher, University of California, San Francisco
Mama Has A Mustache – Rubin’s short film is a brilliant mixed media animated film that has combined clip art, sound bites and other forms of artwork to tell a story about the way a child views gender and family, seeing the ways that kids see the gender spectrum. It’s beautiful to see how open and honest these children are being, as well as how much they understand the ways that gender identity can be so many things, and how any identity is perfectly fine. Definitely one of the more touching films.
BitPix TV
Sally Rubin’s joyous and playful short film “Mama Has A Mustache” brings a warm-hearted alternative to public GQP hysteria over the changing nature of family. Its cut-out animation and non-patronizing receptiveness to its subjects’ feelings will make the viewer feel GQP “protectiveness” of American families is actually a Trojan horse for imposing that party’s diseased idea of rigid social conformity. The film’s setup is cheerfully simple. Rubin brings together about a dozen kids between the ages of 6 to 10 to talk about family. She asks them questions about such subjects as “what name do you call your parents” and “where do you think babies come from?” (One kid’s answer which involves a Russian doll setup will bring a smile.) But she also lets these kids play with talking about alternatives to current gender roles, such as “can a boy be in a girl’s body?” The foundation of Rubin’s film may be talking head interviews. But using cut-out animation in conjunction with the interview soundtrack does two things. First, the film is kept visually interesting for a kid audience. The animation is zippy without being overwhelming. More importantly, fancifully arranging the cut-out images visually demonstrate that the alternatives to cishet social standards aren’t freakish aberrations but another example of the unique possibilities of human existence. Key to the success of Rubin’s film is her non-judgmental and open tone of voice. She’s supportive when a boy talks about being bullied for having long hair or a girl admits her preference for playing ninja. Rubin’s supportiveness also extends to kids who show pride or love in having a transgender parent. Unfortunately, there are a lot of adults who don’t share these kids’ love or pride for their transgender parents. But as could have been said to the “concerned” white parents who objected to school busing, don’t use your “concern” for your kids to rationalize your own bigotry.
Peter Wong
Beyond Chron
One must-see (no matter what age) is the short film documentary Mama Has Mustache. This short, fully animated documentary is directed by Sally Rubin, who cleverly brings the topic of gender and family to the forefront but the twist? We’re seeing it through children’s eyes.
How does that work? In just 10-minutes, we listen in on audio interviews of kids ages 5-10 as they share their experiences in a world outside the traditional gender binary. This incredibly timely documentary uniquely approaches the highly controversial conversation within the legislation. Our country is continuously harming progress around gender and identity, denying people the right to be who they genuinely want to be. On Mama Has a Mustache’s website, director Sally Rubin shares the following statement: “As a gender-nonconforming documentary filmmaker and parent myself, this film is highly personal to me. The film is rooted in my personal experience and community, many of the kids in the film are friends of my seven-year-old daughter, some are the children of friends of mine, and others are folks around the country who I connected with online.”

There was nothing short of inspiring to hear hilarious but truthful responses to questions. With unhindered confidence, each kid answered questions like, “Can you be a girl and have a boy body or vice versa?” or “Do you feel lucky that you have a transgender dad?” There were non-stop smiles watching this the whole way through, with some tears shed at the end.
This short film brings so much value to anyone, especially if they want to embrace their authentic selves. This is genuinely something hopeful to watch in a time where the conversations regarding the injustices of gender and human rights are at an all-time high in our country. This gave me hope but also triggered my anger towards our government as they continue to attempt to deny these types of conversations from ever happening in the future.
411 in the 510

Director Commentary

As waves of anti-LGBTQ legislation roll out across the country barring the teaching of LGBTQ identity in the classroom, Mama has a Mustache aims to lead that very conversation, using the voices of children ages five to ten to describe a world of gender and family outside of the traditional binary. The film uses a mixed-media approach, literally deconstructing on screen the many more normative representations of the American family that we have come to know so well; the traditional housewife happily holding her baby, cis-gender parents mooning over their conventional family. The film clips these up and reconstructs them anew, forcing audiences to think about gender and family in a fresh way, highlighting the inherent wisdom and compassion of children. As a gender nonconforming documentary filmmaker, this film is also highly personal to me. Because the film is rooted in my personal experience and community, the quality of each interview is intimate, refreshing, and—hopefully—funny.

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • Subtitles

Film/Audio Languages

  • English

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • English

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

Resources for Educators

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