We hit our $35,000 documentary fundraising goal last night at about 10pm PST. We have been celebrating, for sure (and fundraising isn't over yet! We have until Friday - the more budget we have to work with, the better this film will be and the more reach it will have!) Just as we were moving into the home stretch last night we got this message from a skater - the mother of a transgender child who watched our Kickstarter video. We'll let her tell the rest...
My 9 year old daughter has asked that I share her story with the VR. She watched the video on the fundraiser page with me and had tears in her eyes, and when she watched "Winner" [Pet Shop Boys music video featuring a transgender skater] she was just crying.
Thanks to you, she now believes me that not only will she be allowed to play on a girls sports team someday but that there are women out there who were once girls JUST LIKE HER who are already doing it. She wants and needs to hear more.
You see, my daughter was born with a male body. She has been telling us since she was 3 that she was a girl. At first I thought it was confusion. All of my children were boys and she had not had the opportunity to see a girls body. She didn’t know the difference, and so I bought anatomically correct baby dolls from an educational store. Her response to them - "That’s nice. But some girls have penises. SEE?" and she dropped her pants. She loved the baby dolls though, named them, dressed them, pretended to breast feed them and talked about the day she would be pregnant and breastfeed her own babies. The day she realized this was not possible I spent a whole night awake consoling her. Imagine being a 6-year-old girl and knowing already that you would not be able to carry a baby in your body? It was heart breaking for us both.
Before we got to that point she went through some very difficult times. Her behaviour started spiraling downwards. She had always been a very social, very popular child and was withdrawing. She was having accidents in her pants, she was trying to cut off her male body parts with nail clippers among other worrying behaviours and the first time she mentioned killing herself, she was only 5. She demanded to be called Princess Zelda, and a few other names before settling on one that didn’t stand out too much from the other girls she hung out with. We went to our doctor scared of mental illness... After all there is a family history of a variety of things and after talking to us and to her, the doctor said "Have you thought of buying her a skirt?"
We have had many more struggles. It took over a year of her living as herself out in the world for her father to accept her as female. This is even after seeing Canada’s #1 expert on the matter and two of his colleagues more than once. We had to educate the school staff and advocate for her right to use the correct bathrooms and change rooms. We have endured insults and misunderstandings. She has been bullied and thrown into a large garbage bin..... but despite all this she is still a much happier child.
A bit over a year ago I discovered roller derby, and, in my research I found out that there are already regulations in many places for the inclusion of trans skaters so I told Crystal that she would be able to play someday too if she wanted to. She asked me if I knew this for sure and if there were others like her out there. She has met two other trans girls so far, they live quite far away and she has met no trans women. She has also not competed in sports since she has transitioned at school. She said to me today when she saw the VR fundraiser that she NEEDS this movie to be made. "Please mom! Make it happen."
Most people grow up with role models all around them, people at least somewhat like them, but for girls like my daughter that is a bit harder. Many of her fears, most people never had to live with... The fear of her body changing the wrong way as she gets older, the fear of people finding out about her body or her previous name and hurting her because of it, the fear of never being able to play a sport because she can't play with the girls and she isn't a boy. She needs to hear from women who were once girls like her, and she wanted to know if she can join the VR even though she can't skate yet because someday she will get her own skates, and someday she will.
Thank you to all of the women who are making this happen, those making the movie, those telling their stories, those donating to make it possible. You all are helping my daughter to have the strength she needs to grow up and know that no matter how hard it gets others have walked this path and it IS possible.