The battle over the rights and freedoms of transgender individuals is the first great civil rights struggle of the 21st century. In the last five years, mainstream culture has woken up to the vivid presence of transgender people in their midst. From a generation of gender variant children and pop culture celebrities, to transitioning superstar athletes and soldiers, trans people have never been more visible.
Behind the headlines though, a darker picture emerges. Transgender people are among the most persecuted, least protected people in our society. Many transgender people live in fear of being evicted from their homes, being fired from their jobs, and being denied medical treatment. A 2011 survey of 6,000 transgender individuals found that more than half reported experiencing harassment in public accommodations, including bathrooms, restaurants, and hotels. More than one in three transgender people attempt suicide at some point in their lives. Violence is a constant threat, especially against transgender women.
FACTS ABOUT TRANSGENDER PEOPLE
74% of transgender youth experience verbal harassment at school.
Transgender Ontarians face three times the national unemployment rate.
43% of transgender Ontarians have attempted suicide once.
1,123 transgender people were killed in 57 countries between 2008-2012.
Read more about history and rights for transgender people.
But increasingly, transgender people are organizing and fighting back against the discrimination. And while the pursuit of rights and protection for transgender people is decades behind that of gays and lesbians, blacks or women, few doubt that the era of trans enfranchisement is upon us.
Transforming Gender tells this story exclusively through the voices of our characters. Through a set of compelling and intimate vignettes and narratives the film opens up the world of transgender people to an audience that may have little awareness of what it means, and what it is like, to be — fundamentally and in your deepest core — in conflict with the gender you were assigned at birth. And it’s a wide and richly nuanced reality, because every story of transition is different, and every transgender journey is different.
Transforming Gender shows we all have something to learn - Review by Vinay Menon in The Toronto Star
From parents who knew that their child was transgender at the age of two, and children with legal name changes at five years old, to a transgender woman who had gender-reassignment surgery at the age of 66, the world of trans people is as rich and as diverse as any community. And like any group fighting for its right to be free and to exist, the path towards the acquisition of long denied civil rights has been marked equally by great pain and great joy. Transforming Gender is a moving and evocative study of the lives of transgender people living in a world that is only just now becoming aware of who they are.
In Memory Of JOHN McMULLAN
Written and Directed by MARC de GUERRE
RACHEL LOW JANINE HEATH
Director of Photography
CINDY ORD TOM SCHIRMACHER
Premier Directeur Information
Ici Radio-Canada TV
in association with the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
© Gender Project Inc. 2015
For Doc Zone