Documentary (Collaboration with Breanne Foster)

The assignment was to do a short documentary on a topic of our choice. I paired up with classmate Breanne Foster and when I shared my idea with her, she was on board. We moved forward in our mission to increase awareness of transgender issues. She brought a lot to the project in that she is friends with the two Reyes brothers we featured. Thus, she interviewed Kris and Alex and I interviewed Dave Garcia at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. My aim was to get candid, concise answers to some of the most common questions concerning the transgender community. Dave graciously met with me and patiently answered all my questions. He was especially valuable in that his focus is on politics and policy.

Background: My inspiration came from reading Virginia Woolf’s Orlando the same day I visited the Oasis Center on campus. There, I saw a sign that caught my eye as I walked towards the restrooms. The signs announced that the restrooms were gender-neutral. I had never heard of such a thing plus I wasn’t aware it was a ‘thing’ nor that there was a need for them. Like most people, I’d seen unisex bathrooms and handicap-accessible restrooms, but gender-neutral? WHAT? I was taken aback. As a longtime ally of the LGBT community, I was a little embarrassed I didn’t know much about this new trend in efforts for campus inclusivity. Therefore, I wanted to speak with people who could enlighten me as to the needs of the trans community. I happened to find this PR article which was exactly what we wanted to explore with this project.

Proposal: Gender identity is quite the story in today’s modern media, yet this subject is as old as time. It seems, as the adage goes, indeed there is nothing new under the sun. While this year’s biggest story is arguably the transition of Bruce Jenner to a woman identifying as Caitlin Jenner, the fact remains that such experiences dealing with fluid sexuality have been around for as long as human history has been recorded. If the trifecta of hot button topics of fluid gender, sexuality and identity isn’t new, then why are we just catching up? Modern culture clearly hasn’t gotten with the times, rather it’s catching up faster in the past decade than it’s done for centuries. The concerted effort of universities like CSUN to be as inclusive as possible to the wide range of students who attend as undergrad and graduate students is evidenced by the gender-neutral or unisex bathrooms seen at the Oasis Center and other locations across the Cal State system. Through the use of interviews with staff from CSUN’s Pride Center and interviews with trans kids and/or students, as well as possibly staff from the Oasis Center, and various online videos, stills, images and documents, we would like to show this story from the students’ perspective and include the voices of those who are either uncomfortable with or confused by the existence of such a thing as unisex bathrooms. We will explain the differences or nuances that vary with terms like fluid sexuality and gender, and unisex and gender-neutral. There are some who feel it’s going too far, perhaps too far-reaching to the small minority of students who would require and/or prefer such a gender-inclusive restroom. We will give equal time to each side of this issue and explore what this inclusivity would mean for immediate and long-range generations.

Full disclosure: This was my first time using iMovie and it was not easy. There is so much to learn and most of the iMovie keyboard commands and shortcuts felt so counterintuitive. In the end, I learned mostly by doing, guessing, and watching Lynda tutorials and YouTube how-to videos.