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ALMOST MYSELF - DVD Reflections on Mending & Transcending Gender

Reflections on Mending & Transcending Gender
BY Tom Murry
(DVD Format 82 min.) TJoe Murray Videos 2007


The DVD contains the 82 minute documentary
ALMOST MYSELF with BONUS material.

BONUS material includes:
Additional Director comments
Scenes from 2005's West Hollywood
Day of Remembrance & Rally
"Road to Trinidad" Music Video


"One could say that this is as much a film about society and the way people who are considered
“different” are treated, as much as a film about the transgender people I met." - Tom Murray


Almost Myself - Reflections on Mending and Transcending Gender. After finding a most unusual web site that was seeking funds to help reverse a sex change, award winning filmmaker Tom Murray set out on a fascinating cross country journey to explore just a small part of the vastly diverse transgender community. The filmmaker in trying to define the film and what he learned in making it said that it could be described as Transgender 101 by and for a Non-transgender person What happens with a young Gay man, struggling not only with his sexuality but also gender, decides to have surgery to become a female, and later in life decides to return to being a Gay man again? Can someone live their life full time as a female, but still have a penis? What s life like for a former male college football player, finally living her life as the women she was always meant to be? These are just some of the stories told in the fascinating, poignant, informative and some may say controversial documentary ALMOST MYSELF. The film focuses primarily on women who are white and older, yet were identified as male at birth. The stories include journeys of boyhood to womanhood and the struggles of mending and transcending gender.


A few thoughts about ALMOST MYSELF and the making of the documentary.

One could say this is as much a film about society and the way that people who are considered "different" are treated, as much as it is a film about the transgender people I met.

My first effort at documentary filmmaking took place rather late in life. The success of my film FARM FAMILY…in search of Gay life in Rural America, was very exciting. The film was inspired by my own upbringing on a dairy farm in the Midwest and struggling between urban and rural environs after coming to terms with being gay. I was honored that the piece won the jury award at the prestigious Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival for “Best Feature Length Documentary” in 2004. It was the same year that I turned 60 ! There's a web link for info on FARM FAMILY on the link page. Some of you may have seen the film on LOGO TV where it has been airing periodically.

During the course of making the film, I was interviewing someone who made a comment about the vast diversity of LGBT culture. While this individual was living in more rural surroundings, he felt that he did not connect with his LGBT peers there, but yet acknowledged that he fully understood the common experience we all have of coming to terms with our sexuality and true being. I thought it might be an interesting idea for a second film……to talk to people about their “coming out” experiences both anecdotal and emotional. The term “LGBT” covers such a wide range of individuals, and it became clear to me that most of my experience and contact had been primarily just the “G” portion. With that in mind, I set out to make the piece broader with it’s scope.

While doing web research for the piece, I happened on a somewhat unusual web site then titled, “Help Me Reverse My Sex Change dot ORG.” The site had been set up and operated by Judy Kirchner, a transgender woman who was approaching her 40th birthday. With circumstances which are more spelled out in ALMOST MYSELF, after being born a male, having surgery and living nearly 20 years as a female, she had decided to become a guy again. One of the reason that I mention now, was her involvement in one of the “ex-gay” ministries.

Ironically, her story set me off on a path of a much different focus for my piece which ended up as FISH CAN’T FLY. This film explores the ways in which some Gays and Lesbians of faith struggle to put their spirituality and sexuality in harmony. I was fortunate to find such a great group of individuals to tell their stories of involvement with these “ex-gay” groups in a very human and understanding manner. (I of course highly recommend the film) I felt that Judy’s story was so fascinating and needed more exploration beyond just the effects of these anti-gay groups, that I decided to use it as a basis of this latest work, ALMOST MYSELF and did NOT include it in the FISH piece.

Judy’s journey, while clearly a less conventional tale, is a large part of the film, but is by no means the entire focus. Having had little previous contact with trans identifying individuals, again I wanted to learn the real world and human stories. Gay themed films and now transgender stories are more and more visible in the media. I did not want to do a film that just re-hashed what’s been done before but wanted again to focus on the human side of it all. Aside what political or religious bias one may have towards the topic, what is it really like? IS THESE PIECE A DEFINITIVE WORK ON WHAT IT MEANS TO BE TRANSGENDER? Not hardly. Will the film explore the vast diversity of what it means to be identified as a male at birth and later to discover one’s true gender? Will this film shed some light and understanding similar to what I have gained from this experience??? That is my hope.

The settings for the stories literally are coast to coast. They range from the farmland of central Florida, to the mountains of North Carolina, and to urban centers where articulate leaders and activists reside. I was fortunate to have the participation of some of the more visible leaders who include, Kate Bornstein, Rosalyn Blumenstein, Holly Boswell and surgeon Dr. Marci Bowers. I was also fortunate to meet and interview Georgie Jessup who speaks about her music and songwriting, much of which has relevant transgender themes.


Current Reviews: 1
This product was added to our catalog on Friday 13 April, 2007.
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ALMOST MYSELF - DVD Reflections on Mending & Transcending Gender
This is a must see!!! I found this film to be as describe ..
5 of 5 Stars!
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