Simon Aronoff

Transmen on Film: DC Premiere of Israeli Documentary

Filed By Simon Aronoff | December 11, 2008 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Entertainment, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: documentary film, Jewish, judaism, moms, transgender, transmen

On December 8th, I had the privilege of participating in the post-film discussion of Mom, I Didn't Kill Your Daughter at the 19th Annual Washington Jewish Film Festival in DC. The film and panel discussion were organized by the DC Jewish Community Center's Kurlander Program for Gay & Lesbian Outreach and Engagement (GLOE).

About 100 people braved the chilly evening to watch the DC premiere of this Israeli trans documentary. I was joined on the panel by local politico and national gender rights advocate Dr. Dana Byer and Rhodes Perry, field and policy manager at PFLAG National, to answer audience questions about trans issues and Judaism. Although to be fair, Dana had to field all of the questions on Judaism since she's spent years at Yeshiva and Rhodes and I are "Gentiles." Thanks, Dana.

Directed by Orna Ben Dor, Mom, I Didn't Kill Your Daughter documents the lives of Lior and Yuval, a trans male gay couple in Israel. The documentary spans about a year and a half of their relationship in which Lior begins his physical transition, and Yuval quests to change the gender marker on his national ID card from F to M--one of the first people to do so in Israel. Throughout the film, we watch Lior's mother come to terms with her child's transition at 22--progressing from not knowing the meaning of "transgender," feeling that she's lost her "daughter," to ultimately embracing Lior and his partnership with Yuval.

I highly recommend catching Mom, I Didn't Kill Your Daughter. Not only is the film one of the few cinematic stories of gay-identified transmen, but the director captures much of the transmale experience in a respectful, non-sensationalist way. In its 50-minute run time, the film touches on coming out to family and friends, the decision to go on testosterone, surgical options, changing identification documents, and building queer family.

With Loir in the early stages of transition, and Yuval seven years down the road, the audience gets to witness many parts of trans life. Of course, no one transition or transman are the same, but Mom, I Didn't Kill Your Daughter is an excellent look at many shared experiences, and the film is very accessible to general audiences.

During the post-film discussion, many in the auditorium asked about the process of "coming out" to family of origin and resources for parents, so I'd be remiss if I didn't plug PFLAG's Transgender Network (TNET); the book Transgender Child by Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper; and the national support network and resources organized by DC's Children's National Medical Center. Trans Youth Family Allies (TYFA) is also a helpful resource for parents with trans or gender variant children.

More info on Mom, I Didn't Kill Your Daughter at the link.


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Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 11, 2008 11:41 AM

Hopefully Netflix will pick it up?

Yes, I think with all of the positive feedback at film fests around the country, we've got a good chance of seeing the documentary offered on Netflix. One interesting "documentary cross pollenation" moment in the movie shows Lior and Yuval watching a subtitled version of "Southern Comfort" (a US doc on the late transman Robert Eads and his struggle to access life-or-death medical treatment for ovarian/uterine cancer)...speaking to the geographic reach these films can have.

This idea "you killed my (daughter, son, friend etc.) may be one of the true universal experiences among transsexuals both FtM and MtF.

I certainly heard it and most others I've asked have as well. I hope that was one of the topics discussed.

I hope it comes to Netflix. That's where I get all of my LGBT movies. LOL (You know it's not going to play in Indianapolis!)

Start a LGBT film festival! There's a market for it in St. Louis MO, and for that matter, we've had a black LGBT film festival in conjunction with St. Louis Black Pride.

As a trannyfag who wants to move to Israel, OMGEEE. That makes me happy. Hope to see it on netflix.