Expanding Gender: Youth Out Front

2015 | Black/African American / Bullying / Documentary / Educational / Gender / Transgender / Youth (18 & Under) | 71m | Canada | USA
Directors: Multiple Directors

These four short documentaries explore the varied identities of trans and gender expansive youth and young adults.

In Tomgirl we meet Jake, a confident and lovable gender expansive seven-year-old who invites us into his world of hockey playing and skirt wearing to explore the transformative power of love and support from adults. Next, experience the true story of a young Hawaiian girl who aspires to become the leader of her school’s boys-only hula troupe, and an inspiring teacher who uses traditional culture to empower her in A Place in the Middle. Monica’s Story traces the journey of resilience and self-acceptance of Monica Rose, a strong young transwoman of color. Despite being rejected by her church and family, Monica sought out support from professionals in the LGTBQ community and today is a proud, confident person with a bright future. Finally Passing profiles the lives of three young transmen of color. This short doc explores what life is like living as a black man, when no one knows you are transgender, and how each man perceives his own journey with gender after many years of being presumed as a cisgender man.

This collection of short films comes with a professionally created curriculum for help in facilitating classroom conversations.

Reviews and Awards

Recommended by Video Librarian:

“This anthology of four documentary shorts explores various situations in which young people, having identified themselves as transgender or gender-fluid, deal with the expectations of others while also finding support from different quarters. In Jeremy Asher Lynch’s Tomgirl, a 7-year-old named Jake plays hockey and engages in other traditionally boy-ish activities, but also wears girls’ clothes and in other ways identifies with female peers. Significant here are comments by Jake’s parents, a therapist, and other adults who talk about supporting Jake incrementally—i.e., getting used to his choices and not trying to sway him otherwise. Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson’s A Place in the Middletells the story of a young Hawaiian girl attending a charter school on Oahu that honors Hawaiian traditions. Here, she finds cultural support for the idea that everyone has both male and female traits with differing ratios, making each of us unique. Passionate about the idea of joining a boys’ dance team, she finds encouragement from a special teacher. Glenn Holston’s Monica’s Story is a touching profile of a teen who was cast out of her family for being born male yet identifying as female. Homeless and endangered on the streets of Philadelphia, Monica found unconditional support at a center for LGBTQ youth, as well as a new best friend. Finally, J. Mitchel Reed and Lucah Rosenberg-Lee’s Passing focuses on three transmen of color, and their discovery of what the world is like for African-American males after their transitions from being female. A solid collection of films about gender issues confronting young people, this is recommended”