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.

Homestretch Screenings 4/26 & 29: Plus Local Teens and Mentors Talk about How They Manage being Homeless in High School

An “authentic, no-frills portrayal of what it means to be young and homeless in America.” Terrance F. Ross, The Atlantic.

On April 26 and 29, ADFS will present the award-winning documentary film, The Homestretch. Following the film, local youth who have experienced homelessness will join local administrators to talk about how youth here in the East Bay deal with homelessness in high school. Among the panelists is Darius Aikens, the eldest of 5 children. His father died when he was 9; his mother suffers from bipolar disease. Despite these obstacles, he has stayed in high school and hopes to study politics at UC Berkeley.


The film follows three homeless teens – Roque, Kasey and Anthony – as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future. Roque was separated from his family due to immigration issues and was sometimes forced to fend for himself, beginning in his sophomore year of high school. Anthony spent his childhood in foster homes and went out on his own at the age of 14. Kasey spent over a year bouncing around between friends, family members and sleeping on the street, ultimately dropping out of high school her senior year.   see trailer:

Although the film is set in Chicago, homeless youth here in the Bay Area face precisely the same challenges. In 2014, the Bay Area had over 20,000 homeless students. (KCBS Cover Story Series: Our Homeless School Kids, Dec. 15, 2014). Berkeley alone currently has over 300 homeless high school students.

This film connects us deeply with issues of poverty, race, juvenile justice, immigration, foster care, and LGBTQ rights. The discussion will help us understand what is being done, and what can be done to help these youth. “In the end, Homestretch is the story of a broken system, not broken people. After watching, one can’t help but wonder if a small tweak in policy could make a world of difference for thousands of youth.”  Matt Pollock, Chicago Magazine.

 2 FREE Screenings

In Piedmont: Wednesday, April 26
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611

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

In Oakland: Saturday, April 29*
The New Parkway, 474 24th Street (near Telegraph), Oakland, CA 94612

3:00 pm* Check to confirm date/time of Oakland screening (may conflict with Warriors’ playoff broadcast there).

Melina Abdullah to Speak at Friday Screening of 13th

Professor Melina Abdullah, one of 30 activists who helped to form the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013, will be the speaker for the post-film conversation at this Friday’s screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary, 13th. The film and conversation are aimed not only at understanding how we got from abolishing slavery with the 13th amendment to imprisoning more people than any other country in the world – but also at helping participants find approaches to steering these delicate conversations in meaningful and powerful ways.


Abdullah is Professor and Chair of the Pan-African Studies Department at Cal State LA, and a recognized expert in the field of race relations. She is a featured speaker in 13th.

Friday’s program is co-sponsored by UC Berkeley’s renowned Bay Area Writing Project, whose lead teachers will facilitate the conversation; and the Appreciating Diversity Film Series. The screening is FREE and open to the public. The screening is also the first part of a two-day BAWP Professional Development Program for Teachers, which will continue at UC Berkeley the following morning.

What: FREE Screening of 13th and BAWP-Facilitated Discussion with Professor Melina Abdullah

When: Friday, April 21, 6 PM Reception; 6:30 – 9 PM Screening & Discussion

Where: Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave, Piedmont 94611

No RSVP needed.