#TransAND Series: Intersectional UK Films
July 7, 2019
TransAND is a new mini series made by trans people, about trans people, for everyone. My Genderation co-creators and trans rights activists Fox Fisher and Owl visit some fantastic trans people in the UK.
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Charlie Martin is #TransAND racing driver, virgo, ambidextrous, cat owner, graphic designer, panssexual, travel lover, ninja warrior, explorer.
Charlie Martin is a racing car driver that has just announced she will be training to compete at Le Mans 24 hour race. She is also known for making it to the finals in Ninja Warrior and is a public speaker on equality and diversity, and is Stonewall’s Sports Champion in motorsport.
Charlie: As with any minority, the best people to teach and share their experiences are the peopole themselves. Hopefully by creating our own content we can element damaging stigmas and assumptions the wider public hold. I think most people have probably never (knowingly) met anyone from the trans community, so the idea of ‘being’ trans can seem quite abstract, and therefore when we describe someone as trans, this element can become their defining characteristic in many peoples’ eyes.
Of course we are all individuals, so focusing on this one thing is missing so much of what makes us tick – I know so many trans people and they are from all different walks of life with their own personalities and interests. Showing us as our whole selves is a natural thing to do, after all, we are just like anyone else on this planet.
Being trans, and going through transition, is a very unique life experience that few people can fully appreciate. It’s fair to say therefore, that content made by someone who fully understands what it feels like to be trans will be completely authentic and reflect the nuances of the real world situations that trans people face.
Kuchenga is #TransAND Writer, agitator, public speaker, daughter, sister,
Kuchenga is a prolific writer and public speaker, who writes on topics in response to pop culture and race. She writes articles for various platforms such as VICE and Vogue, and is currently working on her first full length novel, featuring a trans antagonist.
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Kuchenga: There are those who question the sanity and humanity of trans people. The failures of ‘respectability politics’ in the racial justice movement have taught me as a black trans woman that I have nothing to prove to anyone but how wonderfully unique I am. Content that focuses on other aspects of my identity is a celebration of my difference. It’s up to the audience to decide if there’s anything universal in what I offer the page, camera and screen.
Being filmed by trans people for the first time was the biggest act of dysphoria dissipation I’ve ever experienced. I felt seen, valued and respected. I did not need to fear that the shooting or editing process sought to gender me in a way I would not feel comfortable with. I also loved the way my skin looked. Smooth and rich. I loved that the shapes and contours of my body were captured in a way that pleased me. I felt comfortable during and after. I hope I get to experience that comfort again.
Mridul is #TransAND a piscean, a mother, a wife, half-zuriasian, half-hindu, immigrant, runs a rape crisis centre, boss, feminist.
Mridul is a feminist that has women’s aid movement for almost two decades, focusing on the rights of immigrant and migrant women. She is currently the manager of a rape crisis centre in Stirling, Scotland, and is an outspoken advocate for women’s rights.
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Mridul: It’s important that trans people are shown as more than just trans, because we are more than our gender identity. We don’t focus on the cisness of other men and women in our society because they are more than that, and so are we. We have lives with friends, family, careers, ambitions, love, hope, sadness like everyone else in society, and focusing on all of that tells a better story about us rather than just one aspect of our persona.
Our society has consistently failed to do justice in telling stories about the lives of minorities no matter who they are. We have been subjected for a very long time to fit into the story telling narratives of those who hold power in our society, so either we are depicted as the complete other or we are shown as those who are working our way towards fitting into the accepted norms of the majority.
When trans people, create content about trans people, there is an honesty, subtlety and sensitivity in the narrative and also the content is more likely to focus on things that actually matter to us and should matter to wider society.
Leo is #TransAND has cerebral palsy (CP), gay, diversity trainer, a model, dog lover and partner.
Leo is a diversity trainer that does trainings about disability and trans issues, as well as being a life model, and models at various universities, events and art festivals across the UK. He and his partner Alistair live together with their two dogs, Barkley and Tutti.
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Leo: I think that since around 2015 there has been a massive media boom on transgender issues. Unfortunately a lot of the media seem to sensationalise certain aspects, like the process of physical transitioning. It is vital that trans people use their own platforms to remind the would that they are more than their label.
As with any minority, the best people to teach and share experiences about trans issues are trans and non-binary people themselves. Hopefully by creating our own content we can eliminate damaging stigmas and assumptions the wider public hold.
Maki is #TransAND a game developer, self-taught engineer, q’ueer, composer, artist, mentor, night-owl
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Maki is an all round self-confessed nerd, with a passion for coding and bringing old tech back to life as a way of being eco-friendly and not letting great tech end up in the skip. They are also a music composer and game developer. They currently live in Glasgow with their partner, Ren.
Maki: If we only ever made material about how cisgender people are not trans, the media industry would be over in a week. Being trans is somehow so often portrayed as this big thing that seems to drown out any other personal qualities. Being true to yourself is a wonderful thing, but our gender identities are but a fraction of who we are. Trans people are not commodities, and presenting us as such is nothing short of dehumanising.
Trans people are underrepresented in media currently, and misrepresentation can have wide-reaching consequences. I could give so many examples of how misrepresentation is bad, but above all else, it can be lethal. That’s why it’s so important that trans people are creating trans content, because they are the experts. An analogy I sometimes use about cis people making trans content is: Imagine of a buying a car manufactured by a company that previously only made baked beans!
Paige is #TransAND a teenager, make-up artist, sister, daughter, dog owner,
vlogger and fashionista.
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Paige struggled with her self-confidence after bullying in school for her weight and for being effeminate. After coming out at ag 12 as trans she has blossomed, and she has a real passion for helping people feel good about themselves regardless of their bodies, weight, sexuality or gender. She is visited by Charlie Craggs, owner of Nail Transphobia.
Paige: Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves and who they are. I want to help people see that trans people are more than just trans, and that we actually have a lot to offer to the world.
I think it’s important to focus on other parts of our lives to show that it’s no different to anyone else’s life – we’re just people like everyone else. I think it’s important that content created about trans people is created by trans people, as they can relate to what we are going through.