This award-winning short film about a trans child will make you believe the world can be good again.
The six-minute film, Raising Zay, has just won second prize in the short form category of the World Press Photo Foundation’s 2016 press photography contest.
In it, we see how a family came to understand the needs of their transgender daughter and helped her prevent puberty with a medical implant. It is an incredibly touching story about family love.
The film was made by producer and editor Meg Vogel for the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Trans child felt ‘trapped in a cage’
In the film, Zay’s dad recounts how reading up on statistics about transgender individuals was ‘terrifying’.
‘Transgender people have a much higher chance of being murdered, of being homeless, of being discriminated against at work, of attempting suicide,’ he said.
Zay talks about how she ‘felt like I was trapped in a cage a million miles away and there was no way to get out’.
But when her parents suggested the implant, ‘I felt like somebody came with a key and opened the cage and said you’re free to go.’
Zay’s mother says: ‘She’s found her place, and she’s a thriving, beautiful young lady now.’
Almost 50% of trans people attempt suicide
Vogel, who made the film, said she was inspired after working at a local newspaper when there was a breaking news story about a transgender girl who committed suicide. The story received increased press attention because her suicide note was posted on Tumblr. Vogel said 600 people came to the funeral.
It was at that funeral that Vogel first saw Zay. Vogel said she was ‘immediately drawn to her’ and the pair forged a friendship as Vogel made the film.
Vogel added that 41% of trans individuals attempt suicide at least once in their life, pointing out that lack of acceptance is what, in most cases, affects a trans person’s mental health.
She added the Cincinnati Enquirer had been very excited to make the film, as the trans community had not received much coverage before in the local press.
Here’s hoping the film’s award helps it to win many more hearts and minds.