Transgender & Nonbinary Teens Share Their Stories
Five trans and gender non-conforming youth in Providence, Rhode Island, have stepped forward to put their lives on film—to tell the world “What I’m Made Of.”
Their coming of age stories reveal the universals of adolescence, much like the compelling journey shown in Boyhood. However, these teens face a unique task: to challenge the meaning of “boyhood” and “girlhood” itself.
Our feature documentary follows their paths as they realize their authentic identities, discover how to be healthy adults—and, ultimately, change our understandings of gender. Help us follow their lead!
The World Is Listening
We’re at a pivotal point in making this documentary. Attention to LGBTQ issues is at an all-time high. Adult celebrities and actors have pushed transgender awareness to the front pages.
Our documentary seizes this moment to go deeper: to explore not just who is changing gender, but how gender categories are changing today. To do this, we’ve focused on the game changers: teens growing up in America.
Unlike other portraits of trans youth, our documentary includes adolescents who identify not only as male and female but also between and beyond those conventional binaries.
Far from the limelight—in their everyday lives with family and friends, in real and virtual communities, under the care of a ground-breaking pediatrician—the trans youth in What I’m Made Of are pushing our fixed assumptions about gender and our narrow perceptions of physical bodies.
We’ve committed to following them for two years, with extraordinary access as they undergo medical treatment, navigate relationships, and mature in every dimension.
There simply isn’t another coming of age film like this out there.
Make Their Voices Heard!
Timing is critical to complete our project. Adolescents change every day: their bodies, their emotions, their health, their place in the world. We want to be with them at every step.
Your financial support is critical. Our filming began in December 2013. We need to raise enough money to finish filming these five young people now, as they discover and define what they’re made of—and how we define gender.
Help Us Reach Our Goal!
Think outside the box about what you can give to our project—we’re all about breaking boundaries! Give generously, and we’ll raise the $30,000 we need to complete filming. Give with inspiration, and we’ll reach (even exceed) our $50,000 stretch goal—and stay on track for our Spring 2016 release date. Every minute, every donation counts. Thank you!
From doctor’s appointments and surgeries to proms and birthdays, What I’m Made Of is committed to telling the stories of trans youth in a way that’s authentic to real experience, sensitive to real feelings, and awake to new understandings. It follows young people in the care of Dr. Michelle Forcier, an innovative, outspoken Rhode Island pediatrician who’s helping trans teens make the transition to adulthood happier, healthier, and safer.
Entrusted with intimate access to both Dr. Forcier’s clinic and the lives of her patients, filmmakers Jenn Hallam and Jane Renaud give us a chance to witness what it’s like to be a trans teen from the inside.
What I’m Made Of takes viewers into exam rooms for a first-hand look at the leading edge of adolescent health care, then home with teens and their families to see the impact that care can have on everyday life. Raw, fly-on-the-wall footage lets us know the teens in this film in a very personal way—focusing on coming of age through an original, powerful lens.
From the start, the health and well-being of the teens involved in What I’m Made Of has been the filmmakers’ top priority. With the assistance of doctors, mental health providers, social workers, and LGBTQ allies, each participant entered this project with a personalized, comprehensive plan to ensure that their stories are told and shared safely.
Find out more about what it means to be a transgender or genderqueer teen at bitly.com/Trans_FAQs
Jenn Hallam, Ph.D., Co-Director/Producer As a scholar and art historian, Jenn studies visual culture as a locus for gender construction and identity formation. As a producer, she’s committed to projects with historical import and social impact. Her credits include PBS’s Slavery & the Making of America, for which she received an Emmy nomination in Research, and WNET’s cross-cultural series, Art through Time: A Global View. From 2009–12, Jenn was at Sesame Workshop, where she developed digital resources around the show’s core curriculum, as well as outreach initiatives focused on food insecure and military families.
Jane Renaud, Co-Director/Producer Jane is a producer and filmmaker specializing in stories about children and families. After graduating from the film program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Jane produced segments about public education for PBS NewsHour. Her twelve-part series about school reform in Washington, D.C., earned first prize in documentary reporting from the Education Writers Association. In January 2013, the series was adapted for Frontline (PBS) airing under the title The Education of Michelle Rhee. Her most recent project, Rebirth: New Orleans, a feature-length documentary about the charter schools movement in New Orleans, premiered on Netflix in 2014.
Our Professional Advisory Board includes doctors, advocates, social workers, and parents committed to the well-being of all teens: Kerri Kanelos, Director, Youth Pride, Inc.; Jaye Watts, LCSW, MT-BC; Lillian Rivera, Director of Advocacy & Capacity Building, Hetrick-Martin Institute; Tiq Milan, Senior Media Strategist, GLAAD; Jenn Burleton, Executive Director, TransActive Gender Center; Joel Baum, Senior Director, Professional Development & Family Services, Gender Spectrum®; Eric Lulow, public health advisor and youth advocacy specialist; Michele Paliotta, LICSW; Don Laliberte, Director of Social Services, Crossroads Rhode Island; and Drs. Johanna Olson (Children's Hospital LA) and Stephen Rosenthal (UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital). They advise us on matters related to participants’ health and safety and help place our work in a national, medical, scientific, and historical context.
Our Teen Advisory Board is composed of young adults, ages 13 to 22, who identify as transgender or genderqueer or are still figuring out their gender identities. Since joining us in fall 2013, Teen Board members have met regularly to offer feedback on our work; ensure that the stories we’re telling are authentic, accurate, and sensitive to their experiences; and shape our project’s outreach and educational aspects.
Want to know more? Check out www.WIMOdoc.com or email the filmmakers at email@example.com
Want to help more? Here are some things you can do:
- Click the "Share this project" button at the top of the page to spread the word
- Copy a message from bitly.com/ShareWIMO and post it on social media
- Write a message in your own words and share it with your online community. Include a link to bitly.com/WIMOkickstarter. Use the hashtag #WIMOdoc
- Write an email (see our sample bitly.com/EmailWIMO) or make a call to a friend or family member who might be interested in supporting What I'm Made Of
- Contact your child's pediatrician, your family doctor, teachers, school counselors, community leaders, and local politicians and tell them about us!
- Host your own "Kickstarter Coffee Chat." Find out how: bitly.com/CoffeeChat_Toolkit
- Write a blog or an article about the film and mention the campaign
Want to stay connected? Follow What I'm Made Of (WIMOdoc) on social media and join in the conversation. You can also subscribe to the project newsletter at www.WIMOdoc.com
Don't forget to choose one of our great rewards as a token of our gratitude.
And Special Thanks To...
Contributions come in all shapes and sizes, and we couldn't have gotten this Kickstarter off the ground without the following folks, who have donated their time, energy, and considerable talents to the cause!
Risks and challenges
WHAT I'M MADE OF is an ambitious project: 2 years of filming, 100s of hours of footage of 5 teens. Our purpose is to capture their risks and challenges—as they grow up and transition in real time. With your help, at this critical moment, we’ll finish shooting in 2015 and achieve our goal of a Spring 2016 release. But editing is expensive, and we know from experience that the edit room can be unpredictable. That's why we're pushing to reach our stretch goal of $50K so that we can hit the ground running in post-production.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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