Trans Youth

by Karin McKie

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday March 30, 2018

'Trans Youth'
'Trans Youth'  

Transitioning twenty-something Austinites are revealed in this tender, bittersweet 90-minute cinma vrit documentary "Transyouth."

Filmed over three years by director, producer and clinical social worker Rebecca Adler, this accessible work chronicles seven young people who articulate their fraught and freeing transgendered journeys, and search for catharsis by tackling transphobia while transforming bodies that have always "felt like the wrong clothing."

Bespectacled Elliott considers college a four-year buffer as they deal with coming out to their parents, hands shaking on the phone (there's a lot of focus on frightened, fidgety fingers throughout), reinforcing "I know what I'm looking for."

They are considering top surgery and creating a Post-it life timeline on the wall of their temporary housing. They just want their parents not to call them by their "dead" female name.

"Other than my brain not working right," they say, "everything's cool."

In their journey to become female, Ursula became a punk rocker, the first group to embrace their outsider status.

Peter was outed to their family by a high school secretary in his North Carolina hometown.

Winn remains a violin and piano musical prodigy while becoming a woman, but doesn't remember a single day in high school when they weren't pushed into a locker and called a faggot. "I just wanted to be held," they say.

It's reported that one of their fathers said, "trans people are destroying the fabric of America."

Faron and Forest moved to Austin together and worry about finding employment as they transition from male to female, even considering sex work.

But the pair grows strong in their relationship and themselves. "It's time for us to be bold and assertive and stop being oppressed and removing our beauty from the world."

Despite many obstacles, Elliott thinks "it's super cool that so many are coming out so young now."

"You're better than the bad shit that happened to you."

Transgender transitioning involves the grief for self, families, and friends letting go of the former body, and the fear of becoming a new self. Yet it is a journey, worthy of this special movie, which must be pursued and supported, especially under this current cruel and intolerant political administration.

An interviewee says, "Just by being visible, we're activists."

Film and screening information is available at

Karin McKie is a writer, educator and activist at