M Night Shyamalan's new film split is due to open in January 2017. The film features actor Kevin McAvoy playing a character with 24 different “split” personalities - a symptom of a mental illness that many psychologists refer to as dissociative identity disorder. His character goes on to kidnap teenage girls and hold them captive and apparently torture them.
At one point during the trailer for the film, McAvoy’s character is also wearing a dress and heels.
This isn't the first time a movie has invoked society's transphobic values in an attempt to scare audiences -- consider Norman Bates in Psycho and Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. Moviemakers like M. Night would do well to move past this tired and offensive trope.
This entire film is problematic in it's narrative. At a time when so much attention is being paid to mental illness and gender identity, we've reduced both conversations to a horror movie trope. As both an advocate for the LGBTQ community and someone whose life has been profoundly impacted by mental illness in those close to me, I find this film and it's subject matter impossible to support.
Join me in signing my petition and boycotting Split.