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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, and T.S.--who are juggling the challenges of academia with their commitment to transition from their birth sex.
Faced with life-altering choices--about how to deal with parents and society, whether or not to take hormone therapy and undergo sex re-assignment surgery--these four remarkable individuals deal with their deeply misunderstood identities in starkly unique ways. In every moment of this radical, paradigm-busting film, these collegiate transgendered students blow up stereotypes while coming to terms with how to change their bodies to fit their minds.
EPISODE 1: Meet Raci, Gabbie, Lucas, & T.J.
EPISODE 2: Lucas visits family & Raci seeks illegal hormones.
EPISODE 3: T.J. & Lucas write home to explain their decisions
EPISODE 4: Gabbie visits her grandparents & T.J. plans a trip home to Cyprus.
EPISODE 5: Raci's class attendance drops while Lucas takes on campus politics.
EPISODE 6: Raci openly attends a LGBT meeting as Lucas celebrates a turning point.
EPISODE 7: Gabbie gets a pre-op dinner party and T.J. prepares to return home.
EPISODE 8: One last visit with Raci, Gabbie, Lucas, & T.J.
Told with compassion and insight, the fascinating eight-episode documentary TransGeneration focuses on the lives of four college students struggling to fit into a society that doesn't understand why they are the way they are--that is, transgendered young adults trapped in bodies that belie their true selves. Gabbie and Raci deal with their issues in vastly different ways. Sex-reassignment surgery is expensive, and is a procedure many transgendered folks can't afford. But money is no object for Gabbie--the first-born son of an affluent family--and she literally counts the days until her scheduled treatment.She has no problem telling her classmates she's transgendered and believes surgically ridding herself of her penis will complete her life. Raci, also 19, is deaf and poor. An immigrant from the Philippines, she resorts to purchasing female hormone shots off the street because that's all she can afford. Though she's hopeful at the start of the school year that the kids are "tranny friendly," Raci lives in constant fear that she will be ostracized if her true identity is found out. When people ask her about the camera crew following her around, she mumbles that she's part of a documentary about women in college.
The two female-to-male subjects are no less complicated. Lucas is tired of being asked about transsexuals and transgendered people, but he's also aware that as one of the few males at an all-female school (Smith College), people are curious about his beginning college as a woman and graduating as a man. A neuroscience major, he's worried about hormones potentially shaving years off his life. TJ, an Armenian grad student, is self-assured and a leader on campus. But when he calls his mother back home, he's reduced to an unsure child who doesn't want to disappoint his family. In Cyprus, where he grew up, TJ was known as Tamar, a gorgeous gamine of a girl. He wants to return home as TJ, but is worried about the ramifications against his mother in their tight knit community.
Transitioning into adulthood is an awkward and painful phase for many teens, who're unsure of who they are and what they want to be. The four subjects of TransGeneration know they don't want to be what they were born as. The documentarians are careful not to present them as martyrs or perverts, but rather as full-dimensional people who're scared, curious, and hopeful about what the future holds in store for them. --Jae-Ha Kim
- Deleted and extended scenes
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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.
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