She’s A Boy I Knew
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She’s A Boy I Knew

Canada, 2007, 70 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Documentary, Gender, Male-to-Female, Parenting / Family, Transgender
Program: Documentary
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Gwen Haworth

Director Gwen Haworth turns the camera on herself and her loved ones to tell the story of her transition from male to female, going beyond the clinical aspects (doctor’s visits, surgery) to explore the emotional implications and consequences of such a monumental decision. Through narration, archival family footage, animation and interviews with her closest friends and family, Haworth beautifully captures the essence of transitioning.
What is particularly engaging about Haworth’s film is her emphasis on the experiences of her two sisters, parents, friend and ex-wife. Where many documentaries about sex change devote a great deal of time to the experiences and feelings of the “subject,” neglecting the often traumatized loved ones, Haworth gives space for the people who care about her to confront her directly and speak out about their own trials and tribulations. When Gwen’s father looks directly into the camera’s lens and says that Gwen’s name change was “when I realized I lost my son,” the viewer can’t help but be affected by this family’s struggle towards acceptance.
We are lucky to live in a time when most anyone with something to say (or not) can turn a camera on themselves and beam their story out to hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. Often, these stories hold little interest for those not intimately involved in their telling, but thankfully, Haworth’s self-reflective documentary is not one of them. — KATE CARROLL

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