SIFF Review: Finding Kim

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There has been a recent surge in films about trans people, both narrative and documentary. And it’s about time. Trans rights have long been either lumped in with the rest of the LGBTQ issues, or ignored altogether. According to Kim, a trans man and the subject of Aaron Bear’s first feature documentary, Finding Kim, the Ls, Gs, Bs, and Qs have been some of the worst offenders for undermining trans equality. Trans women in particular have been excluded from women’s events as if they were devious cisgender men in disguise.

Fortunately for Kim, he lives in Seattle, where he has a supportive group of friends and can utilize his health insurance to cover his first surgical procedure, done by a sympathetic specialist. This has been a long time coming for Kim, who didn’t come to terms with being trans until his late 40s. Raised as a girl, Kim was often called a boy by peers, as if it were an insult. His classmates also barred him from using the bathroom at school – any bathroom. He never told his parents what he was going through, resulting in a very lonely existence. When he was older, he thought he might be a lesbian, but after spending time in that community, he still didn’t feel quite right. He finally had his life-altering breakthrough when he met a therapist who told him that all those masculine feelings he had were because he was a man. Within a couple of months, he was taking daily testosterone shots (called “T”) and finally starting to feel at home in his own body…

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SIFF Review: The Joneses

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It shouldn’t be too much to ask of the world to let us live our truth. And yet, for Jheri Jones, and an estimated .3% of American adults identifying as transgender, it often seems an insurmountable request. It wasn’t until Jheri stopped waiting for permission that she could be truly happy. Moby Longinotto’s poignant, heartfelt, and often hilarious documentary, The Joneses, follows transgender matriarch Jheri and her family during another period of transition. Jheri struggles to find the right moment to tell her story to the grandchildren who’ve only ever known her as Grandma. Meanwhile, one of her sons, inspired by Jheri’s bravery, decides to stop hiding his true self. It’s a story filled with equal parts heartbreak and redemption, but, most importantly, it has something missing from far too many stories about transgender Americans: Hope…

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