ALMOST MYSELF - DVD
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
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
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
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 its 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 CANT 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 Judys 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.
Judys 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
whats 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 ones
true gender? Will this film shed some light and understanding
similar to what I have gained from this experience??? That is
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