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Shortly after, Teena was first employed as a gas station attendant in an attempt to purchase a trailer home for himself and his girlfriend.His mother, however, did not approve of the relationship, and convinced her daughter to follow Teena in order to know if the relationship was platonic or sexual.On several occasions, Teena claimed to be intersex though this assertion was later disproved. Army recruiter visited the high school, encouraging students to enlist in the armed forces.He also began rebelling at school by violating the school dress-code policy to dress in a more masculine fashion. Teena enlisted in the United States Army shortly after his eighteenth birthday, and hoped to serve a tour of duty in Operation Desert Shield.The 18-year-old Teena went on a date with a 13-year-old girl.
The family resided in the Pine Acre Mobile Home Park in northeast Lincoln, and Jo Ann worked as a clerk in a women's retail store in Lincoln to support the family.His life and death were the subject of the Academy Award-winning 1999 film Boys Don't Cry, which was partially based on the documentary film The Brandon Teena Story.Both of these films also showed the extent to which Teena's murder was an outcome of more systematic discrimination by the legal and hospital authorities that he encountered prior to his death.He was later taken to the Lancaster County Crisis Center to ensure that he was not suicidal.
As young children, Teena and Tammy were sexually abused by their uncle for several years, Teena's family described him as being a tomboy since early childhood; Teena began identifying as male during adolescence and dated a female student during this period.
His mother rejected his male identity and continued referring to him as her daughter.