Producer Tom Murray produced this very comprehensive and complex portrait of the lives of approximately 15 women who transitioned at various points in their life from men to women. Each woman was different: different backgrounds, different perspectives, different ways of handling their transition into their own personal acceptance and happiness. Most of the women interviewed knew at a young age that they were born in the wrong body or were more intuned with feminine imagery, some also did grow up with a more stereotypical male background such as obtain football scholarships and joined the military. The absolute truth of the matter that isn’t understood in society and even within the gay community: the transgendered community is more diverse than most people realize, many people can fall along the spectrum of sexual identity and sexual presentation.
Participants in the movie from different locations all across the country also wanted to clear up the perception that in their transitioning there is no confusion about sexual preference and that they know who they love and who they are attracted to. Judy for instance, from North Carolina, discussed how liberating and free it was for her when she went through with the transitional surgery and it finally granted her the ability and freedom to not have to play a role any longer.
Murray spends a great amount of time in this documentary focusing on one participant named Judy from South Dakota who made a site called helpmereversemysexchange.org. Judy’s journey is especially complex, as you can see the influence the ex-gay movement had initially on her life, how she felt that no one was born homosexual, and sought to transition back to being a male by the end of the documentary. Judy becomes Josef but it is not a easy transition, as she discovers the complications involved in particular with having transitioned originally as a male to a female to transition to a male again. At one point in the documentary, Josef views Judy as someone who was a good and nice person, and how they are gone now. Later on in the film and in the bonus materials, Josef seems to be living a more honest life by his standards, seeming to really be almost himself, and more at peace with himself.
Murray doesn’t shy away from controversial topics with participants such as the placement of spirituality in their lives, as well as how their partners lives are securely connected in their personal relationships. Murray also interviews Dr. Marci Bowers, a well-known gender reassignment surgeon, author Rosalyne Blumenstein who wrote Branded T, and author/performer, Kate Bornstein. Each participant has a great story to tell and I really enjoyed hearing all their stories, from Remy from Washington D.C. who had a mental breakdown at 30 and realized that he would not be fully happy with his life and wanted to continue his life choosing to live his life as a woman; to Elane in Virginia who connected to the Native American community who excepted her as a woman; to Elane who served in the Vietnam War and didn’t transition until she was 50; to Holly in North Carolina who does retreats and workshops for transexuals and considers herself a transgendered person who does not need to go through with operations to be secure in her identity and many more amazing lives and stories in this comprehensive film.
As a person who is not transgendered or can personally identify with transexuals, this movie shed so much important and peaceful light into the many lives in the spectrum of transexuality. I encourage anyone who wants to know more about their brothers and sisters in the transexual spectrum of the GLBT community to check this movie out and to not let anyone in the transexual community be left invisible or without a voice. For more information on purchasing this DVD, please visit almostmyself.com.
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