Sunday, 24 June 2012 16:54

Exploring Gender: Genderf*kation and Gender Redesigner

Written by  Cael


Documentaries are a great way to come to new information, whether about life, science, or gender. They create, in the time of about an hour or more, a look into a specific subject using different methods: interviews, the following of a subject, intriguing graphics, and multiple other approaches. Recently, I have watched a couple of gender documentaries, Genderf*kation: A Gender Emancipation and Gender Redesigner.

Genderf*kation, directed by Chris Durant, concentrates on interviews of gender-variant individuals in Minnesota and their experiences with coming out, transitioning, and dysphoria. Durant portrays the difficulty of living outside of the gender binary through questions about family, jobs, and school, but there is a good balance of hopeful stories versus the disheartening. He manages to create a portrait of the community which not only gives an accurate account of the realities of living a life outside of gender norms but also does so without falling into the overly depressing as so many trans* movies and stories tend to lean. While often being accurate, the predominance of violence and sadness within portrayals of trans* life in this media can be overwhelming. Yes, we do need that knowledge and to see these stories; they are powerful and compelling. But we also need depictions from which we can draw hope. I appreciate Durant’s ability to demonstrate the possibility for that dynamic without compromising the truth in the representation. You can learn more about Genderf*kation on IMDb or purchase it on their website.

Gender Redesigner began as a pilot for a LGBTQ* news show which then transformed into a documentary following filmmaker Johnny Bergmann’s friend fAe—who was originally the anchor of the show—as he transitions. The film begins with the backstory of their friendship and then evolves to encapsulate his thought process before coming out, a small bit of his experience on T, top surgery, and living with his parents in a small farming community during his transition. Bergmann creates a film which gives a view into what transition can be—the trials and rewards—while also attempting to educate those who are viewers from the outside, such as he himself originally was. Although some of the language within the film was troubling, Bergmann’s willingness to portray both fAe’s determination and the confusion and learning of those around him develops an interchange between the two sides which allows both trans* individuals and friends and allies to gain an insight into the process for everyone who is a part of it. As people, we need to appreciate that how our interactions affect ourselves and those around us, and this film helps to facilitate that understanding. You can purchase and learn more about Gender Redesigner at Outcast Films.