TransGeneration is a documentary that follows four transsexual students Gabbie, TJ, Lucus and Raci. Each student is at a different stage of gender transition. We are allowed to follow and be apart of the lives of four unique students who come up against identity issues, ‘passing’ issues, economic issues and appropriate gender social interaction issues.
Gabbie (M to F)
Gabbie is a sophomore at the University Colorado at Boulder. She is a resident assistant and a Computer Science Major. Gabbie lives on campus, in a triple with a bath, as she is legally required to use the men’s restroom. The entire freshmen year, Gabbie spent as a woman but isolated herself and made few friends. This year she makes it her focus to be more social and is also on the lookout for someone special. Although she has some gender social interaction issues Gabbie is very open with talking about her identity. Gabbie is also in the process of planning her sex reassignment surgery with the help of her parents. The surgery is going to cost $15,000.
TJ (F to M)
TJ is a Student Affairs Grad student at Michigan State University. He came to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship. TJ is an avid campaigner for LGBTQ rights and has cultivated an extended family of transsexual friends and peers. TJ’s family does not support him with his transition and identity and have blamed western society for TJ’s transition. He and his mother are estranged.
Lucas (F to M)
Lucas is a Neuroscience Major in his senior year at Smith College which is an all women’s college. Due to Lucas’s impressive academic performance Lucas chose to stay at the college as it benefited him personally. Lucas has been researching hormone treatment extensively and is in the process of weighing up the risks. Lucas’s mindset about hormone treatment takes a dramatic turn as many of his transsexual peers have already started hormone treatment and are well on the way to the gender identity that they identify with. Lucas, like TJ, is very active within Trans Gender issues but feels after 3.5 years of campaigning he needs to focus on himself and transitioning.
Raci (F to M)
Raci is an English major at Cal State University. She lives in a house that has multiple people per room and shares a bed with her Aunt. Raci achieved the Presidents Scholars Award and is going to school for free. However Raci is still living in poverty. Raci has not spent much time away from her mother and in the first season of Trans Generation Raci has to say goodbye to her mother as she heads to San Francisco to make money. Raci is also deaf and in one part of the documentary we watch Raci struggle as she misplaces her hearing aid. Out of the four transitioning students Raci is the most concerned about passing and uses her sex appeal to seem more confident. Raci also denies her identity when she is asked questions about the cameras and the documentary itself. Due to Raci being easily pass-able as a woman she lives in fear that someone may find her out and so has not had to come to terms with her identity as much as the others.
Predominantly you only hear from the students which I think is important as we have access to actual accounts from someone who is actually experiencing life and all its complications as a transitioning student.
I do however think that the film is missing topics of race. Which interestingly brings up the concept that race is not a personal identity factor to these four Trans students and on a bigger scale to Trans people in general. To authorities race may be an issue but it is not considered a primary issue to these particular Trans students and that there are many different types of transexuality. It would be interesting to see if TJ or Raci had come up against any racial discrimination.
Raci does seem to have it a lot harder than the other three students. Not only is she dealing with the fact that she is transitioning but she is deaf and living in poverty.
Each student has their own issue with transitioning and life itself. Gabbie is socially awkward, T.J is estranged from his mother, Raci struggles with being open and Lucas fights back and forth over the idea of hormone treatment versus years off his life.
This documentary is very important for the trans community and is a great insight for those who are looking for information and support. Also I would say it is an important documentary for those who are not immediately within the trans community. As an outsider looking in I thought this documentary was very beneficial and that these students were very impressive. I’m not sure I could handle more than college life is throwing at me right now.
TransGeneration received the GLAAD MEDIA Award for outstanding documentary that aired on the Sundance and Logo channels.
Pictures from the worldofwonder.net/productions/transgeneration/