Review: 'The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone' a Powerful, Poignant Journey of Trans Affirmation

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday September 22, 2022

"The Dream Life of Georgie Stone"
"The Dream Life of Georgie Stone"  (Source:Documentary Australia/Netflix)

"The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone," which premiered Sept. 22 on Netflix, is a powerful and poignant corrective to the tsunami of disinformation that's been unleashed of late regarding transgender youth.

 

Anyone who actually believes that children are being "mutilated" (as some right-wing claims have it), or that loving parents are somehow "abusing" their children when they take steps to help address the rage, fear, grief, and suffering that can accompany a deep-seated, unchanging gender identity that's at odds with a person's physiology, needs to see this documentary. It's only a half hour long, but for those who truly wish to understand (rather than spewing ignorant anti-trans talking points), it will change perspectives... and could very well help save lives.

 

The film begins as Georgie, at age 18 — no longer a minor, and now legally eligible — goes in for her long-yearned-for gender affirmation surgery. She and her family have already been in the trenches for years, fighting a battle to reduce onerous government interference in the lives and health decisions of trans youth. At age 10, she won a court case that allowed patients to begin using puberty blockers without needing a court order — a needless legal roadblock to the first step in the physical change of gender, giving pubescent trans girls the time they need to avoid developing, physically, as males.

 

But Georgie is still fighting the system: Her current battle is to strike down a requirement of a court order for the next stage, which is to begin hormone therapy. Despite what panic-peddling anti-trans pundits and politicians like to claim, these are hardly "untested" treatments, and they do not involve making guinea pigs out of kids.

 

Director Maya Newell captures touching moments and underscores the long, difficult journey Georgie — and her supportive family — have been on by weaving home movie footage into the film. Pausing as she leaves home for the hospital, Georgie looks back. Seeing footage of her and her twin brother playing as young children lends insight to her emotional state, and gives us background on who Georgie is, who she is becoming, and who she has always been — namely, she had always been female. In footage taken when she was much younger, we hear Georgie explaining that while she might not be a girl "on the outside," she knows she is a girl "on the inside," and she wishes that other people would understand this.

 

Georgie has made history in other ways. As an actor, she was the first transgender cast member on the popular soap opera "Neighbors." You get a sense of how comfortable she is with the camera. But one role she's not acting is that of her genuine self — and that comes through.

 

Newell has wisely chosen to allow Georgie to express moments of emotional complexity. At one point she says she wishes she weren't a transgender girl; what you finally understand her to be saying is she wishes she were (or simply allowed to be) a girl, full stop.

 

Her supportive parents and brother are always on the periphery, and you have the sense that while they, too, have suffered along with Georgie, it's not because Georgie is trans; it's because of the way others have reacted to, and failed to understand, her transness. As is often the case, the misery an LGBTQ+ person experiences has nothing to do with who they are, but rather with how self-appointed police over matters of gender and sexuality want them to be something else — a problem, for sure, but not a problem that belongs to the person at the center of such punitive attention, nor one they should have to deal with.

 

Georgie, who is naturally gifted with eloquence, explains all this, and more. If the latest headlines about cynical politicians exploiting public misperceptions about trans issues has left you exhausted and worried for your transgender family members and friends (or fearful for your own safety, autonomy, and legal status), this film is a tonic and a ray of hope. May Georgie's dreams of being heard and respected come true for everyone.

 

"The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone" is currently available to stream on Netflix

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.