The Alliance presents ‘Trans’ documentary for campus

Janessa Ryan, Student Reporter


Students and faculty attended the presentation of Trans, a documentary about the transgender community at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville on April 16.

The event, hosted by UW-Platteville’s Alliance group and University Counseling Services, featured speaker Rachael Ferrero, an advocate for the support group Dubuque Transgender.

Ferrero has been presenting the documentary Trans at schools, churches and various community locations in order to enhance social awareness and educate people about the transgender community.

According to Ferrero, the film is highly educational, and more people have the potential to make influential changes in the future if they are introduced to this film.

Ferrero also mentioned that the movie’s most important aspect was “the humanity of it and the way it gets down to who people are to their soul.”

Secretary of the Alliance Alexis Miramontes found that the movie provided her with a lot of knowledge and insight into the experiences that transgender people face throughout the transition process.

“People are people, no matter how they are,” Miramontes said.

Trans documents the stories of various transgender individuals, illustrating the daily challenges that someone endures when he or she is born in the wrong body.

One story followed Danann, a 7-year-old transgender girl, who was born a male.

Danann’s parents decided that she needed to transfer to a different school in order to live as a girl and conceal her previous experiences of being considered a boy by her peers and faculty members.

From the beginning, Danann’s parents were very understanding after they realized that she was transgender; they did not assume that she was going through a “phase.”

Another story documented an individual’s experiences while transitioning from a male to a female.

This story followed Lt. Commander Christopher McGinn’s life journey of becoming Christine McGinn after being discharged from the military.

Today, McGinn has a wife and two children who biologically belong to the couple.

McGinn’s personal story strives to educate people on the similarities and vast differences between sexuality and gender.

Although a majority of people featured in the documentary have been accepted by their families and have grown to live happy and healthy lives, the documentary also illustrates the obstacles that transgender people face, which ultimately affect multiple areas of their lives.

Trans also presents Pam’s unique story; Pam transitioned from a male to a female during her fifties, and she became estranged from her wife and three children because she wanted to embody her true self.

On the other hand, Chloe, a male transitioning into a female, relocated from her small town in an attempt to become her true self, but her fears of being transgender heightened and she committed suicide.

According to Ferrero, 41 percent of transgender people attempt to commit suicide throughout the course of their lives.

Also, in general, most transgender people realize they are transgender between the ages of five and seven.

Ferrero discussed that gender reassignment surgery is now being referred to as “gender affirmative surgery.”

“It’s [gender affirmative surgery] more about affirming who we are [rather] than changing it.”

According to Ferrero, the term “transgender” is often misunderstood.

“The transgender community is like a big umbrella; people mistakenly include drag queens, cross dressers and transsexuals, along with many others, under the term ‘transgender,’” Ferrero said.

The community is attempting to increase awareness of the true definition of “transgender” and what this term ultimately means.

Alliance member Eric Adams said the movie provided him with “an understanding of what being transgender means,” as well as a clear idea of what people endure throughout their lives.

As awareness and understanding of the transgender community gains traction throughout the world in other countries, such as India, only a few countries are adding a third gender category.

Ferrero discussed how the third gender category can help to alleviate some of the issues with medical records and traveling.

Ferrero believes that a third gender category would be appropriate because, within the transgender community, there is a range of different people, from female to male, male to female and everything in between.

President of the Alliance Carlos Torres reflected on the presentation of the movie, focusing on how the film provides important information about the transgender community.

“[I’m] proud to see the movie, and [I] hope we’ll have a great future for everybody and accept everyone,” Torres said.