DER Documentary

Visible Silence

by Ruth Gumnit
color, 43 min, 2015
in Thai and English
with English, Thai, or Traditional Chinese subtitles



Visible Silence is a rare glimpse into the unspoken lives of Thai toms, dees and lesbians striving for recognition, authenticity, and acceptance in a traditional Buddhist society. It is an intimate story of self and family, love and sexuality, and self-determination where conformity is prized. The film highlights the experience of masculine women (toms) who visibly transgress gender norms, yet are bound to remain silent about who they really are. Visible Silence gives voice to their unspoken truths.

Visible Silence helped instigate dialogues concerning lesbianism in Thailand. Some students felt safe enough to open up and share their experiences. They were able to relate themselves with some protagonists speaking in the film... they appreciated the true voices of the women being able to speak for themselves by themselves.” — Kosum Omphornuwat, Ph.D., Lecturer in the Master's Programme in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Thammasat University

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
World premiere, in competition, Krakow Film Festival, 2015
U.S. premiere, Frameline 39: San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, 2015
Asian premiere, Women Make Waves Film Festival, Taipei, Taiwan, 2015
Thai premiere, Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand, 2015
5th Annual National Conference Sexuality Studies, Bangkok, Thailand, 2015
Documentary Arts Asia, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2015
Gender Equality Across Culture Conference at Naresuan University, Thailand, 2015
Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development Int'l Women's Day Festival, Thailand, 2016
International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP12), Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2016
Salaya International Documentary Festival, Bangkok, Thailand, 2016
KYIV International Short Film Festival, Kiev, Ukraine, 2016
Pink Apple Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, Zürich, Switzerland, 2016
Queer Across Cultures: Mini Film Festival, USA, 2016

Related Resources
Film Site
Video: Interview with Ruth Gumnit and producer Marguerite Salmon on NBC Bay Area TV

Related Films
Friends in High Places
Of Men and Gods

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts