It's a terrible thing to know who you are, but feel forced to hide yourself. For many gay, lesbian, or transgendered people, denying the truth can seem the best way to try and fit in. To go unnoticed and to avoid confusion, disappointment, even hatred or violence.
While there are many hidden stories that need to be told, Vancouver director Gwen Haworth's film She's a Boy I Knew is a different kind of personal documentary. Haworth's documentary moves beyond any simple "dear diary" format and tells the story of a family whose son knew he was a woman.
Born Steven Haworth, Gwen knew from a young age she was different. But knowing wasn't enough. For years she tried to live a "normal" life, even getting married. But there always comes a point when you can no longer deny who you need to be, when you have to bring what's on the inside out.
So Haworth began the process from man to transgendered woman. Along the way she recorded footage and after the process was complete, she constructed a film, consisting largely of intimate and candid interviews with her family shot after the final surgery. The result is a unique and touching look at the pain and hope in people, and the strength of love that exists between true family and friends.
I met Haworth in her East Van garden for a chat. Here is an excerpt from our conversation.
So how's the response to the film been?
I've been really happy with the response. It's won six audience awards so far, which is pretty cool. For me I really wanted this film to be a resource. And so I wanted to take my experience in activism from working in the Downtown Eastside and put it into a film that's not just entertainment-based, but can also be used as a resource tool.
Having gone through the transition myself, I knew there wasn't anything that focused on the family struggles and was proactive, and so it was important for me to take my family's experience