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Transgender Documentary “Transgeneration” is awesome

October 16, 2006

I don’t know anyone (at least not consciously) who identifies as transgender.  Since I’ve worked in social services and specifically at the Portland Women’s Crisis Line for several years I have received a lot of training about gender and sexuality.  I’ve also done a lot of reading on my own, and thought a lot about what transgender means.  In so many ways I’m still trying to figure it out.

I’m watching a Sundance Documentary series called Transgeneration.  It’s a series that follows the lives of four college students who are transgender and moving through the process of identifying as female-to-male or male-to-female.  These four people have radically different life circumstances, and you easily see how much privilege plays a role in the ability for someone to safely navigate an envisioning and embodying of the gender they truly feel they are. 

Raci IgnatioRaci, one of the documentary participants, is a deaf Filipina who has a full scholarship to Cal State L.A.  She hides the fact that she’s trans at first, but slowly comes out.  Her story is amazing and you can read more about it here

She has so many obstacles in front of her, it boggles my mind that she can survive (and look so good!) while dealing with being poor, deaf, new to Los Angeles, coming to a huge university where she has to maintain a 3.5 GPA — all without very much support.  It’s really amazing. 

I might write more about transgender issues here in the future because it seems like such a big deal, especially today when body modification and surgery are relatively more accessible.  Physically changing your gender is now a real possibility – but what does that mean when gender identity is as much a performance as a physical manifestation?  That’s a huge question for me…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2006 11:11 pm

    If you’re worried about figuring out what transgendered means, don’t worry — there’s SO many meanings that I think that many people — including trans-identified individuals — will differ in what it means to them. I think this might be why the word “Queer” has generally been adopted by people to sum up the entire GLBT, not-entirely-heterosexual/gender normative experience.

  2. October 18, 2006 5:48 am

    It certainly seems that every trans experience is different, quite apart from the major differences between mtf and ftm. I think the best thing to do is be open, be comfortable with uncertainty, and be accepting.

    The first two questions always seem to be (1) the willie question, (which I am not competent to deal with), and (2) the pronoun question “do you call them he, or she, or it?” Many people don’t realise that the correct pronoun is the pronoun that the transgendered person themselves prefers, usually that of the sex that they are transitioning to.


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