“THE TRANS LIST” – Empathetic, Poignant, Honest interviews with 12 Notable Trans Individuals
Mt. Baker Meaningful Movies (with co-sponsors the Gender Justice League, South Seattle Climate Action Network and the Mt. Baker Community Club) screened this award-winning film in April, 2018. Over 50 community members joined us to view the riveting documentary by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. It featured a diverse group of 12 “notable” trans people from young adults to seniors. One at a time, each sat before the camera and told their story. The stories were poignant, engaging, and above all, honest. I was inspired. They each portrayed courage, tenacity, truth to self. They were survivors sometimes of physical attacks and dangers, and certainly persevered in the face of insults, lots of insults. No joke, it’s not easy being trans.
Cis gender audience members got a sense of what it was like for trans kids growing up, how their lives changed, wonderful stories and sad stories about family, career, love, and about discrimination in jobs, housing, health care and more. There was some “mature content” with frank discussions about sex, genitalia and pornography.
Among those featured were: Janet Mock, a TV host; Caroline Cossfy, former Bond girl, actress and model; U.S. Army Sgt. Shane Ortega; Caitlyn Jenner, reality celebrity and former Olympian; Kylar Broadus, a practicing attorney and law professor who was the first transgender person to testify before the U.S. Senate; the first transgender youth to win a discrimination suit (the toilet thing), Nicole Maines; and Bamby Salceda, an activist who first started standing up and fighting back at Stonewall. The point was made that each trans person is an expert, but only in their own story.
We had two interesting and knowledgeable speakers: Elayne Wylie, there with her wife, is a filmmaker and storyteller who directs the G.J.L., a statewide organization which defends the rights of transgender people. Our second speaker was Hunter Paulson-Smith, currently an intern with the Justice Leadership Program. Hunter is a non-binary person working for the safety of all members of the LGBQT+ community. They’re (preferred pronoun) interested in the intersections of gender, race, class and sexuality. (Sounds like a doctoral thesis to me.)
Perhaps the richest part of the evening for me and many others was the small group discussions where we continued to learn and understand. Our group’s discussion was particularly heart felt and immediate, as one person was struggling with the fact that her son was beginning to transition. The group’s sharing helped ( her, I think), and me to further shift attitudes, recognize some prejudices and open my mind wider.
“The Trans List” is part of Greenfield-Sanders’ award-winning “List” series on HBO. You can stream “The Trans List” free online.
By Janet Duecy, a binary woman