Local Parents and Young Adults to Speak at Screenings of Growing Up Trans

On 12/7 (in Piedmont) and 12/9 (in Oakland), ADFS will be screening Growing Up Trans, a film that “…makes viewers feel the struggle, suffering and some of the victories for the children and their parents even as it provides a world of information on coming-of-age transgender.” — Baltimore Sun

One of the post-screening speakers will be Sara Kaplan, whose daughter transitioned to become her son two years ago. Below are excerpts from a blog post she wrote about her experience. (See more about the screening in the 10/30 blog post, below, and under the “upcoming screenings” tab.)

sarafamily11-28-17 at 2.32 PM

“I miss my daughter….

Not in terms of physical pain, but in terms of new emotional grief and heartbreak.

My daughter is gone because she has transitioned, at the age of eight, to become my son. I feel ashamed in many ways of mourning the loss. I think of parents who have lost a child, and of course it is not the same as what I’m going through. But this hurts badly, and she is gone….

As the mother of both a daughter and a son, I have always felt blessed to have a unique love and relationship with each. I had my girl first, and I was overjoyed. I had always wanted to be a mom and didn’t think I had a preference, but when I learned the baby was a girl, I was thrilled and relieved. I didn’t grow up with brothers or boys around…. By the time I was pregnant with our second and was told he was a boy, I felt more comfortable as a parent….

When she turned into a he, I wasn’t sure at first how openly to discuss it.

From my first post on my …[blog], I have included both of my children in my writings and photos. The first time I wrote about the transition, I had Internet trolls tell me that I must be forcing this on my child, that I’m a sociopath, that I am doing this for fame and publicity, and that I’m a horrible parent. But I felt that if I stopped writing about this child because of the transition, then I was allowing fear and shame to win. That is not my truth, and that would be the wrong message to send to my children and to the community I have built. I want to show my children that a life worth living requires living as honestly and openly as possible. I also know that it can be scary to be transgender, and I want my child to know that he is loved and accepted by us, every day, and as either gender.

So instead of hiding, I have decided to share parts of this journey as well: the new fears, and the new joys….

With my daughter, I feared wounding her in the way I have been wounded.

But now that this child is my son, some of my fears are different.

I worry that he will be bullied, targeted, and made to feel ashamed of who he is. I fear that he will be discriminated against. I worry that my need to please and my anxiety have been passed down to him, and he will need better coping mechanisms than he may be able to develop. I fear his reactions to learning how cruel and mean the world can be—and I fear my own….

As much as gender is a hot trendy topic right now, I didn’t give a crap about it before. I didn’t care about gender neutral bathrooms, blockers, hormones, North Carolina’s horrific new laws, transgender civil rights, welcoming school curriculum, gender activists, becoming an ally, suicide rates of gender fluid people, or anything to do with gender issues. …[N]ow it has to become part of my parenting….

…[F]or now, for him, I see beautiful things happening. When I look at pictures of my child before the transition, I can see the unhappiness. I see the mask and the discomfort all over his face. I now better understand the forced smiles and exasperation. It hurts to look at the photos, to think he was there and didn’t feel seen. Or that she was there but feeling weighed down with a big bad secret. Looking at my son now, there is a comfort that pours out of his every pore. He is more confident and happy. He has less drama with friends at school, and his work is improving. He is persistent, consistent, and insistent that his inner person is a boy. He says that this is not a phase and that he is transgender.

And so we are pioneering a new path right now. We are parents in full support of our child. We are going to love him and accept his desire to present as a boy. We are not doing surgery or hormones at this point. There is nothing going on besides our love and acceptance. We are all in individual therapy and working with lots of professionals. We are signed up to participate in support groups, summer camps, gender fluid parenting workshops, conventions, play groups, and more.

My daughter is gone for now. Perhaps she will return one day. I don’t know. But my son is happy and here now. My motherly intuition is that he is here to stay.

… The other night, at bedtime, he grabbed my hand and thanked me for allowing him to be himself. All I could say was, “Of course. I love you so much!””

Growing Up Trans: An Intimate Conversation (with Transgender Children, Their Families, Friends and Doctors) December 7 and 9 in Piedmont and Oakland

The triumph… is that it makes viewers feel the struggle, suffering and some of the victories for the children and their parents even as it provides a world of information on coming-of-age transgender.” — Baltimore Sun

In the opening scene of the documentary film, Growing Up Trans, 9-year-old Lia Hegarty is on a surfboard splashing in the ocean. From the sun, sea and her gleeful little-girl calls as she catches a wave, the sound and images move to her bedroom, where she declares, “I am transgender. I was born male, and I identify female. But I like to say I’m a girl stuck in a boy’s body.”

Lia is one of eight youngsters featured in the Appreciating Diversity Film Series’ December screening of Growing Up Trans. Lia says she “transitioned” when she was “6 or 7” to being “more of a girl.” Now, she says, “I’m almost completely female.” This year, she adds, “I changed my name officially. So now, I’ve changed my name, my clothes, my room and my pronouns. That’s really all you need except for the fifth one that I still need: surgery and medicine to help me look like a girl.”

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Though Lia’s statement about her identity is disarmingly straightforward, Growing Up Trans examines the complexities in the situations facing transgender youth. Filmmakers Miri Navasky and Karen O’Connor go deep inside the lives of these children, their families and friends, tracing their path toward gender identity. Told from the perspective of parents, doctors, and most revealing of all, the kids themselves, the documentary takes a powerful look at this new generation, exploring the medical possibilities, struggles and choices transgender kids and their families face today. The film gives viewers a chance to observe not only how amazingly self aware and articulate the youngsters are, but also how easily accepted they appear to be by their young friends. The experiences of these real people provide a striking contrast with the media obsession with celebrity, abuse or bathrooms.

Chief among the decisions facing these families is whether to take “puberty blockers” that delay an individual’s maturation to give them more time before making more permanent decisions about hormone therapies, and then, whether to take hormone therapy. We observe the doctors’ conversations with their patients and their families, and come away with a greater understanding of the thoughtful struggles they engage in while trying to determine the best path forward.

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series will host two screenings of Growing Up Trans. The film will be followed by a panel discussion of parents and transgender youth in both Piedmont and Oakland.

In Piedmont @ 7 pm Dec. 7

Ellen Driscoll Theater / 325 Highland Ave (at Oakland Ave)/Piedmont

Doors open, light refreshments @ 6:30 pm,

Film at 7:00 pm, followed by panel discussion

In Oakland @ 3 pm Dec. 9

The New Parkway Theater / 474 24th Street (btw Telegraph & Broadway) / Oakland

Film at 3 PM, followed by panel discussion


Speakers Announced for 10/25 & 10/28 Screenings of CODE

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series is proud to present “CODE”, a lively and timely documentary that explores the rising organizations committed to educating and inspiring young women to see themselves in the field of coding. This acclaimed new documentary, by Director/Producer Robin Hauser Reynolds, will be followed by two impressive panels of speakers:

On October 25 in Piedmont: Stephanie Griffin, PUSD Director of Technology, with PHS CS students Gabriella Brown & Rafaella Gomes and technology leader Lisa Forssell from Apple. [7 – 9 PM @ Ellen Driscoll Theater, 325 Highland Ave, Piedmont 94611]

On October 28, in Oakland: Danielle Feinberg, Director of Photography for Lighting at Pixar, who is featured in the film. [3 – 5 PM @ The New Parkway Theater, 475 24th Street, Oakland]

More details about the film in the blog entry below!

CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap — Join the Conversation 10/25 & 10/28


CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap exposes the lack of American women and minority software engineers, and poses these questions:

Why aren’t there more women and minority graduates in computer science?

What obstacles lie in the way? What is happening and what more can be done to change this situation?

Come hear the answers to these questions, and learn from the film and our speakers about the great opportunities for women in tech!

Computer code underlies the systems that run our modern world. From cell phones to banking, movie animation to plane navigation—all are driven by code. The more diverse a team of coders is, the broader their perspective of society’s needs, which can ultimately result in products that serve a wider range of humanity. However, the current make-up of leaders, engineers and coders at the top tech companies in the country is notable for its lack of diversity. Recent headlines reveal workplace sexism and discrimination in hiring and advancement.

At the present rate, by 2020 one million jobs in coding will go unfilled because there will not be enough graduates in computer science. CODE examines the reasons why more girls and

people of color have been discouraged from seeking these jobs. Along the way, we meet the new leaders and organizations who offer transformative learning opportunities in technology, specifically for girls and minorities, here in the Bay Area and across the nation.

This film combines a contemporary musical score with a blend of personal stories, expert voices, innovative animation, historic discoveries and moments from popular culture.

CODE aims to inspire changes in attitude, the educational system, startup culture and the way women see themselves in the field of coding.

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series will present “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap”, a documentary by Robin Hauser Reynolds, on Oct. 25 in Piedmont, and on Oct. 28 at The New Parkway in Oakland. All showings are free.

Join us for this lively film! We will have a speaker and representatives from community groups following the screening.

IN PIEDMONT:  Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 7 PM

6:30 pm: light snacks and mingling. Film will be followed by speakers and discussion

Where: Ellen Driscoll Playhouse /325 Highland Ave, Piedmont 94611, near Oakland Avenue map

Cost:  Free, no RSVP needed

IN OAKLAND: Saturday, October 28, 2017, 3 PM

3:00 PM screening, followed by speakers and discussion

Where:  The New Parkway /474 24th Street, Oakland, 94612, near Telegraph Ave map  New Parkway Theater

Cost:     Free, no RSVP needed

(Photo courtesy of Girls Who Code)


And Then They Came For Us to screen 9/27 & 10/1/2017

Members of the Trump administration have raised the specter of a Muslim registry and instituted an immigration ban against people from Muslim majority countries, citing the unconstitutional incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II as precedent for its actions. Social Action Media  As our opening film this fall, ADFS will present the powerful 2017 documentary And Then They Came for Us — a film that demonstrates that the registration and incarceration of Japanese Americans was one of the worst violations of constitutional rights in American history, and features survivors of that experience who are speaking out today.

Photograph of Members of the Mochida Family Awaiting Evacuation

As a result of President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1942 Executive Order 9066, approximately 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry were evicted from their homes on the West Coast of the United States and held in American internment camps across the country. Over two-thirds of the people of Japanese ethnicity that were incarcerated were American citizens. Many of the rest had lived in the country between 20 and 40 years. Most Japanese Americans, particularly the first generation born in the United States (the nisei), considered themselves loyal to the United States of America. No Japanese American citizen or Japanese national residing in the United States was ever found guilty of sabotage or espionage.

Americans of Italian and German ancestry were also targeted by these restrictions, including internment. Eleven thousand people of German ancestry were interned, as were 3,000 people of Italian ancestry, along with some Jewish refugees.

Featuring interviews with George Takei and others who were incarcerated, as well as stunning photos by Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and others, And Then They Came For Us documents the damage Executive Order 9066 inflicted on American citizens and others legally residing in the U.S. Particularly in our current political climate, And Then They Came for Us is a relevant, powerful and moving film you won’t soon forget.

2 FREE Screenings
In Piedmont: Wednesday, September 27
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont

6:30 pm Free reception | 7 – 8:30 pm screening followed by discussion

In Oakland: Sunday, October 1
The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street (near Telegraph), Oakland

3:00 pm

Film Series Celebrates 20 Years, Announces Fall 2017 Schedule

Piedmont’s Appreciating Diversity Film Series kicks off its 20th season of hosting free screenings, speakers and community conversation this fall, with a lineup that continues to celebrate great documentary films and activism.

San Francisco, California. Many children of Japanese ancestry attended Raphael Weill public School, . . .

First up in September will be And Then They Came for Us, co-directed by Bay Area filmmakers Abby Ginzberg and Ken Schneider. In 1942, Executive Order 9066 forced the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans for the duration, an act now understood as a massive abuse of civil rights. The film explores this history and its relevance today, in the face of threats of a Muslim registry and imposition of a travel ban. (Ellen Driscoll Theater, Piedmont: 7 pm, Sept 27; New Parkway Theater, Oakland: 3 pm Oct 1)

CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap will be screened in October. CODE uncovers the history that led to today’s male-dominated tech world, and highlights the efforts of women computer coders to open this field to girls and young people of color, focusing on expanding STEAM education for all. (Piedmont, 7 pm, Oct 25; Oakland, 3 pm, Oct 28)

In December ADFS will present Growing Up Trans, an intimate, enlightening journey inside the struggles and choices facing young transgender kids and their families. (Piedmont, 7 pm Dec 7; Oakland, 3 pm Dec 9)

In January ADFS will screen The House We Live In and Arc of Justice, two films that explore the family wealth gap between white and black Americans arising from deliberate and systemic government policies, and separate efforts to help secure economic independence for African American families. (Piedmont, 7 pm, Jan 11; Oakland, 3 pm, Jan 13)

ADFS films are ALWAYS FREE. Piedmont screenings are at Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave, Piedmont. Oakland screenings are at the New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland.