Because Teena had neither commenced hormone replacement therapy nor had sex reassignment surgery, he has sometimes been identified as a lesbian by media reporters. However, some reported that Teena had stated that he planned to have sex reassignment surgery.
JoAnn Brandon sued Richardson County and Sheriff Laux for failing to prevent Teena's death, as well as being an indirect cause. She won the case, and was awarded $80,000. District court judge Orville Coady reduced the amount by 85 percent based on the responsibility of Nissen and Lotter, and by one percent for JoAnn's alleged contributory negligence. This led to a remaining judgment of responsibility against Richardson County and Laux of $17,360.97. In 2001, the Nebraska Supreme Court reversed the reductions of the earlier award reinstating the full $80,000 award for "mental suffering", plus $6,223.20 for funeral costs. In October 2001, the same judge awarded the plaintiff an additional $12,000: $5,000 for wrongful death, and $7,000 for the intentional infliction of emotional distress. Laux was also criticized after the murder for his attitude — at one point Laux referred to Teena as "it".
In 1999, Teena became the subject of a biopic entitled Boys Don't Cry, starring Hilary Swank as Teena and Chloë Sevigny as Tisdel. For their performances, Swank won and Sevigny was nominated for an Academy Award. Tisdel sued the producers of the film for unauthorized use of her name and likeness before the film's release. She claimed the film depicted her as "lazy, white trash, and a skanky snake". Tisdel also claimed that the film falsely portrayed that she continued the relationship with Teena after she discovered Teena was not anatomically male. She eventually settled her lawsuit against the movie's distributor for an undisclosed sum.
The British duo Pet Shop Boys released a song called "Girls Don't Cry" (a bonus track on U.K. issue of I'm with Stupid) about Teena in 2006.
Brandon Teena is buried in Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska, his headstone inscribed with his birth name and the epitaph daughter, sister, & friend.
Teena's violent death, along with the murder of Matthew Shepard, led to increased lobbying for hate crime laws in the United States.
JoAnn Brandon also publicly objected to the media referring to her child as "he" and "Brandon". Following Hilary Swank's Oscar acceptance speech, JoAnn Brandon was reportedly "infuriated" by Swank's comments concerning her child.