So what sort of stories are they focussing on? Bear in mind that a documentary is actually a series of sub-narratives: stories within the overall story.
That becomes a lot clearer as the shooting process progresses.
These are, for now, some of the highlights that we seem to be focussing on (and I would be very interested in feedback, because even if the production team aren’t looking to drop me in it, I’d be interested in perspective from those outside the process).
First off, there’s a lot of stuff around the home: me cooking, serving food, etc. That, I hope, goes some way to explaining the mundaneity of what I am doing. Like, sure, there are some genuine highlights. But to be honest, those highlights are few and far between.
There’s a bit of stuff of me on camera explaining directly why I needed to transition, and a bit more of me talking about what it involves. I can see that being left out, because we got a far more succinct explanation of same from the surgeon we saw down in Brighton. The latter, if it is included, is likely to include some fairly icky stuff, both about the surgical procedure itself and a pep talk (?) after about how I will be expected to dilate and douche.
I’m all for that: I think there is a general cis view that one just blithely wends one’s way through life as one gender. One decides to “change” and hey presto! A quick trip to the operating theatre and one’s a new man – or woman! If the programme succeeds in communicating the seriousness both of the procedure and intent required, the length of time involved and the pain, as well as the risk, then I think that will be positive.
There’s going to be reactive stuff from daughter and partner. They’re also aiming to get some reactive stuff from the local community: maybe the school. Maybe out shopping. That’s mostly likely to be positive.
We also did a lengthy deconstruction of my experience with the local leisure centre. I very much hope that ends up in the final version, since it documents a degree of fear and upset that is now fading, but which deserves to be captured as a long-term rebuke to all those who say its “easy” or that its somehow acceptable to threaten and then think the threat can be taken back by saying “it wasn’t meant to be serious”.
I know the film-makers will see it quite differently, but for me, if any part of this makes the final prog, then this should, as absolute reminder to the cis community that there is a very real consequence to thoughtless bigotry.
Ho hum! There’ll probably be a shopping trip in there somewhere, which is likely to follow on and develop from one of the more embarrassing sequences I did – which involved daughter and friend critiquing my wardrobe. Drat! The problem is that I agree with much of what they said: what I bought last year is just wrong…was mostly clothes bought by someone just finding their feet and obsessed with the notion that the quickest way to feminity was through skirts.
Result: a rather mumsy hippyish look that I now repudiate absolutely. Well, mostly.
And, too, they’ll probably do a sequence of me at my dance class. Ugh! First ten minutes only, please, after which I suspect I get rather obviously red and sweaty. On the plus side, I am rather hoping to persuade the film’s director to take part: guess that comes from a slightly wry impulse and a wish to see her out of puff – but I bet she’ll turn out to be revolting fit, healthy and co-ordinated and show us all up.
And that, so far, is that. I’d be interested in comment from readers: I know some will see this as bound to go wrong, but, for fairly obvious reasons, I don’t believe that. I do think that information needs to be put out into the public and, as I said a couple of posts back, my intuition so far tells me that the team making this have their hearts in the right place. So even if there are some unfortunate moments, the overall direction of filming is likely to be positive.