A Documentary About Transgender Realities and Addressing Public Questions

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend a screening of the documentary “Just Gender. It was shown at the Little Theatre downtown, Rochester, NY.

The film explores various myths and misconceptions about transgender people. It was very interesting to learn about experiences shared by some of the people interviewed, that closely resemble my own. Things such as creating a “character” for oneself (of the socially expected gender role prior to coming out) in order to fit in and having to come out to people a second time after figuring out one’s true identity, really hit close to home. I was impressed with the very polished, informative presentation, and the depth of the people interviewed, offering a realistic look into many of the dangers and challenges we face in today’s society. Transgender people are shown as human beings, dealing with some very unique and difficult obstacles in life. I was almost brought to tears a few times.

Sharing and answering questions from the audience
Following the documentary, I had the honor of taking part in a transgender panel to answer questions from the audience.

Image credit: JoAnne Metzler

On the far left is George Zuber, director of the documentary. He talked a little before the film and answered some questions following. On stage, from left to right, is Maur DeLaney (transmasculine genderqueer and founder of Genesee Valley Gender Variants), Laine DeLaney (trans woman, writer, and president of Trans* Alliance of Greater Rochester), and myself (trans woman, trans advocate, public speaker, and author of this site).

The audience was made up mostly of cisgender (non-trans) people. There were also a dozen or so trans people in attendance (that I was aware of, perhaps more). It was gratifying to see how many people showed up to gain a better understanding of transgender people. It was clear that the audience “got it” based on their reaction to the film. This was especially evident during the Q&A. They saw us as human beings and equals. When answering one of the question, I explained, “It doesn’t benefit society to keep perpetuating and encouraging separatism and inequalities among various groups. It’s no good for anyone, even those who actively seek to keep such disparities in place. It’s not just about transgender people. So long as any peaceful group of people are treated differently, not allowed the same rights and deemed socially acceptable for disparagement, there won’t be peace for society as a whole, and no one is truly safe.” The audience agreed with a powerful show of applause.

I am filled with so much gratitude and love for the opportunity and honor to share the stage with George Zuber, Maur, and Laine DeLaney, sharing and responding to audience questions. It was a powerful evening for us all – everyone in the theater.

The Transgender Tipping Point
The recent Time Magazine article titled, “The Transgender Tipping Point“, featuring the beautiful, talented actress, writer, director, trans woman and activist, Laverne Cox on the cover, says it pretty well. I believe we have indeed reached the “transgender tipping point”. We have a long way to go yet, before achieving equality and respect in society, but I’m very optimistic about the future and plan to continue playing a role in bringing about positive change.

If you have an opportunity to view the documentary “Just Gender”, I do hope you’ll give it a look. Whether your just looking to understand the diverse array of transgender people a little better or want to learn about others who face similar struggles, it has something powerful to offer everyone.