Transgender Films Hilighted at the Portland Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Written by scott on October 7th, 2013

Transgender FlagWe just finished the second of two film nights about transgender issues.

The first film, What’s the T, is a new documentary that focuses on the lives of five transgender women – from some who have just recently transitioned to a woman who has become comfortable in her own skin.

The women work in different professions – from nurse to exotic dancer – but all of them share a journey.

In the film, each one tells her “T” – her truth, that she has discovered as a transgender woman.

What struck me about this film was the (in retrospect obvious) assertion that many transgender folks are living in society working 9-5 jobs, and would never attract a second glance if you didn’t “know”.

One of the characters even mentions how many transgender women who pass well won’t acknowledge others in the community for fear of being outed.

Another asserts that it’s not how well you “pass”, it’s how comfortable you feel in your own skin.

I found much of this film fascinating, and learned a few things I didn’t know about transgender culture.

The other film was really a collection of five shorts – well, fourm as one of them wouldn’t play properly.

Of these, my favorite was the first one, Barbie Boy – a film that looks at how just a few words of disapproval from a father can strike at the heart of a boy who is experimenting with gender, even when his mother fully supports him. It was at times humorous and deeply sad.

My other favorite was Change Over Time, a short by local trans man Ewan Duarte. It chronicles his emotional journey through his transition, and, most fascinating to me, includes a selection of vocal clops over a series of months, one after another – a time lapse voice series that shows in a way I’ve never seen before one of the changes transgender men go through as they go from female to male.

Ewan was in the audience, and came up to answer questions afterwards… several audience members commented on the fact that this was one of the first films they’d seen to deal with the emotional transition that accompanies the physical and sexual ones.

Up next for Ewan? A transgender romantic comedy. Can’t wait.


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