Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Katherine A. Baker, Lucas Cheadle, Andrea Gabrielle Gibson, Raci Ignacio, Bryce Abelson
Genres: Television, Documentary
What is it like to be a man trapped in a woman's body? How does a woman become a man? TRANSGENERATION, a dramatic and mesmerizing eight-part series, is a year-in-the-life look at four college students--Gabbie, Lucas, Raci,... more »
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A captivating glimpse that leaves you wanting more...
ScubaOtter | Washington State, USA | 01/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"TransGeneration is an eight-part documentary produced by World of Wonder productions, in association with the Sundance and LOGO channels. It follows the lives of four college students through the 2004-2005 school year.
1. Lucas: FTM (female to male), Smith College, Neurobiology senior.
2. Gabbie, MTF (male to female), University of Colorado at Boulder, Computer Science sophomore.
3. Raci, MTF (male to female), University of California in Los Angeles, liberal arts/drama freshman.
4. T.J., FTM (female to male), Michigan State University, Master's candidate in Student Administration.
This was a captivating look at the successes and difficulties of four individuals struggling through the challenges of college while coming to terms with their own gender identity and sexuality. While some storylines are more compelling than others, all were engaging and offer insightful take-home lessons without hammering us over the head. The directors and producers should be commended for representing them as real and 3-dimensional. This is due in part to their willingness to show each student's warts, foibles, neuroses, and occasional self-absorption as well as their bravery, authenticity and intelligence despite a society that (sadly) largely disapproves of those who don't fit within the mainstream. Yet the series is never overly sentimental. I came out of it with a deeper feeling of empathy, understanding and respect.
Regardless, even the most closed-minded viewer must give these kids credit for putting themselves out there for our scrutiny. They have normal collegiate problems: grades, finances, friendships and relationships, but they're also coping with epic psychological struggles in a largely homophobic and closed-minded society. Bravo to them for not only facing these challenges, but for their willingness to make these intensely personal struggles public in an effort to edify us and further open our hearts.
Credit should also be given to the families and friends who agreed to have their own emotional journeys publicly documented. They run the gamut between intolerance and denial to unwavering love, understanding and acceptance. T.J.'s mother's stalwart refusal to discuss (let alone support) his transition lies in stark contrast to Gabbie's grandparents' sincerity and unconditional support. Gabbie's situation is unique, as she is one of the youngest patients to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Her parents and siblings have to come to terms with her new identity, but her grandparents' supportive, gentle compassion is wonderfully heartwarming. Despite being retired clergy and active in a Christian church community, we see unexpectedly delightful and refreshing enlightenment; unfortunately rare in our current socio-political climate. A particularly moving scene happens at a church service when an elderly friend, Helen, gently reaches out to Gabbie and offers articulate, genuine support and acceptance.
The same can be said of Stacey, an extraordinary woman who becomes involved with T.J. While T.J. wrestles with the sad inevitability of having to return to Cyprus and a family/community which will not accept (and as a result, hinders) his transition, Stacey and her parents starkly contrast as open-minded, gentle, loving people who see beyond labels and love the person within. It's therefore difficult to watch T.J. grow emotionally distant from Stacey while he wrestles with his desire to transition versus an external mandate to return as a female, lest he potentially devastates his mother and sister.
However, the directors and producers fall short in consistently protecting the identity of each individual. I don't know how the students feel about it, but I fear that they might experience negative backlash resulting from post-production carelessness. I deliberately left this criticism vague, as I don't want to draw attention to specific examples, but they do exist. Hopefully Lucas, Gabbie, Raci and T.J. are cool with it.
The epilogues left me with only partial resolution (c'est la vie-I realize that life isn't always neatly resolved), but I longed for more recent updates. Each journey had unique dangers and challenges; they were documented so efficiently that I wanted reassurance that they're ok. There's sufficient resolution that Lucas will be a huge asset to the scientific world and has the support of his extended family and friends. Thankfully, Raci has overcome her anxiety about being openly transsexual and is now safely receiving hormones and has sought out a wider support network. Gabbie also has widespread support of family and friends; hopefully now that her SRS is complete, she will concentrate on maturing and learning reciprocity. Unfortunately, T.J.'s story is left achingly unresolved, as he is unable to begin hormone therapy and must return to his home country, without his support network. Sadly, his relationship with Stacey ended, and after graduation he must return to a family and community situation that will inevitably prolong his anguish.
T.J., your return to Cyprus is the USA's loss. May you eventually find the peace and fulfillment you seek, and may your journey be painless.
The TransGeneration documentary was marvelously executed. I hope both the series and the students receive the accolades they truly deserve."
Look around you
Jordan Leigh | California | 02/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most people aught to have noticed by now that not all girls are alike and not all boys are alike. Most people aught to have realized that in spite of some common (not absolute) denominators, there is a LOT of discrepancy along the gender spectrum. In fact, there would be even more were perceptions not pigeonholed by stereotypes, but that's an issue for another time. My point is, if you are a biological male or female you are generally insured a pretty broad range of gender expression without having to fear your gender will be questioned. Long before that, your sexuality would come under suspect.
It makes me sick at heart that anyone could watch a program like this and still come away with such significant misconceptions as "so and so is not convincing as a female". I've known a lot of genetic women who could be considered unconvincing and have never had their gender marker challenged. I know tom boys who are straight, feminine men who are not gay, and masculine men and women who ARE gay. A person need only know how they personally identify to qualify for the right to be treated with the same respect as their non-transsexual peers. No sane person (and you can't transition through legal channels without being medically certified as sane) would put themselves through the unparalleled turmoil that a transsexual does if they didn't feel that it was paramount to their peace of mind. Try living your life - your whole life - in a Halloween costume and you might begin to get an INKLING of what a transsexual feels.
The purpose of this program is to show you that it's not just the "wackos", not the people on the fringes of society who live their lives like a 24 hr rave party, not old men with wives and children going through a midlife crisis, who are transsexuals. It's ordinary people. Young and old. And this documentary does a better job of illustrating it than anything I've seen before by highlighting the lives of four different types of people from different walks of life and not angling for shock value or excessive drama.
It disappoints me that people could watch this and still be left with narrow ideas about the way that things are. The reality is, the world is diverse, and diversity is beautiful. It disappoints me, but I know that I should be content if it changes minds and broadens perspectives even just a little bit, because that's a monumental accomplishment in its own right. And I believe that this program is capable of doing that. It is the quintessential resource among the available media on this subject, in my opinion, for introducing someone to a better understanding of transsexuality. So if you know a transsexual and want to understand it, or are one and want it understood, or simply have a thirst for knowledge or the motivation to challenge your beliefs, I recommend TransGeneration highly.
Watch it. Share it. Help make the world better."
There are more than two points in the spectrum
William Lessley | Champions Gate, FL | 06/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"More than "male" and "female". More than your view or her view or my view or any one person's view of what makes "male" and what makes "female" and everything in between. Sexuality (gay, straight, bi, asexual, etc) is different than gender (male/female) and can have nothing and yet sometimes everything to do with the other.
There are gay men and straight me and bisexual men, too. Whatever they identify as has no impact on whether they are also transsexual and seek re-assignment into a body that fits them more. It's not some sick fetish or crazy delusion. Surgery, hormones, these are RISKY! And they would not be undertaken unless other options HAD been explored and found unable to cease the ache inside.
Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is real. Transition (the process of taking hormones, living as the preferred gender in all things, surgery, etc) is not a CURE but it can make life bearable.
And I think it's funny that still male to female transsexuals are regarded more often as "real" and the female to male transsexuals are ignored.
Raci has known she was trans it appears most of her life. She started taking hormones while she was still in what should have been her male puberty. So, of COURSE she looks "more feminine" but that doesn't make her any more or less of a "real woman" than the other MTF, Gabbie. Gabbie is a lesbian while Raci is straight. See how this works? Gabbie likes women, Raci likes men. It has nothing to do with one being "right" and one being "wrong".
There is a world of difference between a man relating to a woman and a woman relating to a woman. Just as a man relating to a man vs. a man relating to a woman. And it's not all sexual. It is entirely plausible that a man would transition into a woman and still be attracted to women. Hello, the gender changed, not who they were attracted to!
I'm just so tired of seeing so many people picking apart transsexuals. We are not here for your amusement. We are not here to be some star in your porn show. We are real. And these kids do an amazing job showing that. But I see that the majority of reviewers are more wound up over the "sick fetishes" and one MTF being more female convincing than the other.
I would love to see the same folks who brought us this (a more emotional struggle) to also do one documenting the physical changes that happen and how FTMs, in particular, struggle with the emotional effects of T.
Jack Andrew | Oshkosh, WI | 11/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anybody who thinks this is "autogynephilia" needs to actually meet a transsexual. I'm sincerely sick of this explanation and the idea that Raci and Gabbie in particular should have delved deeper into their sex lives. Why should they? This series was not made for the sexual gratification of people watching it. There are plenty of other shoddy transgender documentaries and films which concentrate on sex, go watch one of those."