Life is complicated for transgender folks. And I can only imagine how terribly complicated it must be to be a transgender teen. It can be traumatic, at the same time that it is a journey of self-identity.
In Transkids, a sensitive and surprisingly heartwarming documentary directed by Hilla Medalia, we meet four Israeli trans teenagers, all of whom are articulate and willing to open themselves up to the camera and let us into their lives.
Romy, born as a boy, is a stunning young woman, learning to be a model.
There are three teens who were born as girls, but are now young men. Ofri, facing breast removal surgery, admits that he defines himself as trans, not as a man per se. Liron is going for egg retrieval before he begins the irreversible gender reassignment process. Noam, growing up in a religious family, was born as a girl, but according to his father, he was “born as a boy in the body of a girl”. Now that the father has endeared himself to us, he admits, in a startling moment that they would not have had him if they had known in advance that he would be trans. As I gasped, I could only imagine how difficult a moment that must have been for Noam.
These four teenagers share their feelings, what it’s like to have to behave in society in a way that you feel is not really you. They talk about sexuality, self-identity, how they are treated by their families, how they are coping. And we learn how the parents are coping too.
In most ways these kids are typical adolescents. But they have the added layer of gender issues. They have to deal with questions such as whether the military framework is appropriate for them, whether they will be able to have families of their own later in life, and whether or not religious identity is impacted by the choices they have made for themselves.
In Transkids (documentary, 103 minutes), you might be surprised to see the acceptance these kids receive from the world around them. It is a beautifully photographed film about four teenagers, grappling with their gender identity, and growing up to be wonderful young adults. This is such an important issue and the film treats it sensitively and the young people are each charming in their own way. Highly recommended. The film is available from Docs forEducation. Watch the trailer here.