Eri Hayward shares her story of being a transgender woman in Utah, USA. She is of Japanese descent and was raised in a Mormon community, where she says she didn’t get an “opportunity to learn about things that were different,” like the support available to her as a transgender woman. This short documentary includes Eri and her parents reflecting on what it was like to understand her gender identity. She initially “came out as gay” but her story reflects that at the time this was a stepping stone “to be myself, which is a woman.”
Eri also talks about the difficulties of claiming her own sense of beauty and the moment when she learned about what it means to be transgender. She was visiting her grandmother in Japan, when her grandmother pointed out a parade of transgender people and said, “Oh, this is all about you!” Later, Eri is shown talking with family and friends about her upcoming sex reassignment surgery over a barbecue.
Both Eri and her parents discuss their desire for their Church to make transgender members feel included, including the right to a temple marriage. Eri notes that her faith has been, at times, a source of alienation, as she often feels uncomfortable at Church, but also a source of strength during her transition.
“I think that really being so uncomfortable in my body for the longest time helped me really separate what are physical things and what are my spiritual components. I don’t think I succumbed to my body. I think I succumbed to my spirit and what it needed.
It was just letting go and letting the picture come into focus without me trying to force it to be something that it’s not. But when it comes down to it, the only thing I can believe in is the relationship between me and God. “
This is really beautifully told story about intergenerational family connections and spirituality of transgender people of colour.