Lesbian Dad

Transparent screening

Last night I tucked away and left the bath-books-bed ritual in the competent hands of the beloved, so’s to catch two films being screened at The Center, San Francisco’s LGBT community space. Frameline and COLAGE co-sponsored the screening of Just Call Me Kade and transparent; the documentaries were followed by a panel discussion/ audience Q&A with folks from COLAGE, Fresh Meat Productions, The Lou Sullivan Society, Our Family Coalition, and Trans Youth Family Allies.

Here’s Frameline’s synopsis of Just Call Me Kade:

Kade Farlow Collins is a sixteen year old FTM residing in Tucson, Arizona. Kade’s parents maintain a supportive and nurturing relationship to Kade regarding the many challenges facing their teenage child. However, it hasn’t always been easy.

And of transparent :

Pink or blue. Male or Female. Mommy or Daddy. Categories that we all take for granted are broken apart in transparent, a documentary about 19 female-to-male transsexuals living in the United States who have given birth and, in all but a few stories, gone on to raise their biological children.

Both films were incredibly moving, and I ate them both up. Though not surprisingly, transparent was my favorite course, and the reason I left the beloved holding (diaper) bag for the evening. There is so much to digest that I’m loathe to try to provide a quickie account in the micro-space available to me today. I know I’ll be coming back to many of the issues here in the future. For the moment, suffice to say that I felt both spoken to, or schooled, and spoken for, or represented.

My biological experiences differ a great deal from the parents in transparent — from the ways we inhabit the bodies we were born into, to our experiences of childbirth. They’ve each undergone tremendous transition, both internally and externally; most of them did much of that after their kids were born, and with enormously varied consequences (from losing custody outright, to experiencing almost unqualified support). My transition to knowing and finding a way to live harmoniously with my gendered self has required of me only internal change; it’s taken place over the course of decades, but I’ve lost neither family nor friends nor kids in the process (not that I won’t always feel some kind of custody jitters, as a non-bio and lesbian parent). For all these reasons and more, I have huge respect for every transparent in the film, and don’t equate my path with theirs in any kind of simplistic way.

Still, their social experiences of parenthood spoke powerfully to mine. Over and over again, the guys in the film said whole complete sentences that have come out of my mouth (“I am my son’s parent — neither his mother nor his father,” or “I am both his mother and his father,” or “I relate to my child as his father, but I don’t have to play that role the way I see other men playing that role,” and so on).

After the Q&A following the film, I was able to talk with Trista Kendall, Frameline’s Distribution Marketing Coordinator. I wanted to be able to pass on to LD readers information about how to see this film, and/or get more people in their community to do so. She was a font of ideas, and even poured more of that font into an email to me this morning, much of which is pasted below:

Where folks can find films:

  • public library ~ all public libraries accept requests for films and other resources. Usually, you have to fill out a form that includes identifying information. It’s good for folks to know that the American Library Association has a non-discrimination policy when it comes to LGBT materials (in addition to other underrepresented groups), so if there is a problem getting the film, run it up the chain to the library board. It helps that these family documentaries can’t be classified in any way as erotica or porn (which is still protected but harder to appeal).
  • local PFLAG chapter/LGBT community center/trans community group ~ Frameline provides 50-70% off all our titles for non-profits and community groups (more info here)
  • nearby film festival ~ good film festivals will take requests, if not for the festival, then for other screenings throughout the year. Your readers can look for film festivals near them on the following lists, if they can’t find anything on Google [they might try] PlanetOut.com or Logoonline.com (seems a little incomplete)
  • colleges/universities ~ student LGBT groups or staff/faculty LGBT groups may be able to request the film from the college library or may have funding to put on their own screenings. One thing to watch out for is that student groups tend to [be unaware of] public performance rights (PPR). Some films are licensed only to be shown in the comfort of your own home, and you need PPR to show the film for a larger audience, whether or not you’re charging admission. Frameline films are generally only available with PPR (we have a tiny home video line), but you’ll want to make sure the screening is on the up and up.

Films from Frameline:

  • Applying for non-profit pricing ~ non-profits and community groups should absolutely apply for discount pricing. Public libraries are also eligible. Once you apply (more info here), we’ll give you a password that will allow you to see the discount prices in our online catalog.
  • transparent ~“ DVD: $250 (colleges/universities); $100 (public libraries/non-profits); contact Frameline for rental rates (distribution@frameline.org)
    description, pricing, ordering here
  • Just Call Me Kade ~ DVD: $125.00 (colleges/universities); $50.00 (public libraries/non-profits); VHS: $49.00 (colleges/universities); $25.00 (public libraries/nonprofits)
    description, pricing, ordering here
  • In My Shoes: Stories of Youth with LGBT Parents ~ DVD: $100.00 (colleges/universities); $50.00 (public libraries/nonprofits)
    description, pricing, ordering here
  • Myth of the Father ~ there are a couple different versions of this one, so check online for prices
  • all our films on family
  • all our trans-themed films

Many, many thanks to Trista for taking the time to pull all this info together and send it; thanks to COLAGE and Frameline for last night’s screening, and to the panelists for their time and spirit. Most of all, I am thankful for the opportunity to know more of the stories of the incredibly brave and inspirational FTM parents in that film.

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