Being Me
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Being Me

2015, Sexuality  -   38 Comments
Ratings: 8.28/10 from 174 users.

It's breakfast time in the Langley home. Located right outside of Melbourne, Australia, the Langley family is the very picture of domestic normalcy. Naomi and Andrew, both successful and attractive professionals, are doting parents to two lovely and precocious little girls. Patty, age 8, and Isabelle, age 11, share words at the table about which of them can claim the Barbie dolls as their own. If an outsider were to view this scene as an ideal - the perfectly happy and healthy family unit - they wouldn't be far off on their assessment.

They could be any family, or at least who we'd like our family to be. Like all families, though, they face unique challenges. In the case of the Langley's, one of those challenges came in the form of an identity crisis. Isabelle, their oldest daughter, was actually born a boy.

Being Me is the sensitive and insightful exploration of Isabelle's revelation, and her quest to realize her true identity through gender transformation. Her story is mirrored by many other pre-teens all across the world. Like Isabelle, these young souls must endure painful doubts about their future, and many of them either turn to suicide or self-harm as a release from their torment. Thankfully, Isabelle's parents are vigorously committed to supporting their daughter with an open heart and mind. "We've only got one job here," her mother Naomi expresses during the film, "and that's to help her create a future that she can thrive in."

Isabelle was born Campbell, and from the start it was clear that she wasn't attuned to the typically masculine identity markers. Weeks before her tenth birthday, she told her mother she didn't feel like she belonged in her own body. Was it just an awkward pre-adolescent phase? To be certain, Isabelle undergoes a thorough examination by no less than five medical professionals. Once a firm diagnosis of gender non-conformity is established, Isabelle begins a lengthy treatment regimen which will assist her in realizing her true identity for the first time in her young life.

Through her story, and the stories of several other young people just like her, Being Me dramatizes the need for open dialogue and acceptance, and the rapidly evolving social perceptions which are just beginning to give children like Isabelle a new lease on a brighter future.

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38 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Louis Ward

    If this isn't child abuse I don't know what is, the parents need serious psychiatric help encouraging the disfigurement of their children like this.

  2. Simone

    Well done to the families for showing their kids love unconditionally!
    Trans is a subject lots of people have an opinion about and I think will for a long time -as it's hard to fit into a box. But LOVE, the family support, that's what I loved seeing in these stories! Love and support is worth so much!
    I take my hat off to these girls admitting their truth for being brave enough to live it ??
    May they have long and happy lives ??

  3. Lily

    May I just say that whether people are transgender or not, it doesn't honestly affect you in any way at all. Little kids all look sort of alike anyway in terms of gender; if you shaved their heads, you'd have a hard time telling them apart anyway. It's the easiest thing in the world to say 'Oh, I'm sorry for calling you he, my mistake. You prefer she, correct?' Or they, or any other pronouns. People who are transgender look like the gender they identify with. So it shouldn't be some huge burden you have to carry. If you think you're the one struggling, put yourself in their shoes. They deal with so much more.

  4. jedi

    When we make our selves the locus of everything and define everything from there; we can go as many directions as there are the number of us on the planet. Somewhere along the way we have to forge norms or we cannot survive as a speci.

  5. Wayne Elliott

    Randy, what an interesting post you have shared. I have always held the view that religion has little to do with God. We are not here to live as others expect us to be, but to live the authentic life of who we actually are.

    I am gay because I was born that way. I didn't wake up one day and "decide" to "choose" to be gay - just like my twin did not "decide" to "choose" to be straight. The only choice is whether to live the truth of oneself or to live a lie.

    Ignorance and bigotry are choices. So is religion.

    1. Louis Ward

      I chose to be gay for a while but am completely straight now. Its ridiculous to say you can't choose ! Of course you can people do it all the time.

  6. Seal

    'Imagine being a young boy and fearing the fact that you might grow breasts and have a menstrual cycle' - that just changed my whole view on what transgender means.

    1. Louis Ward

      Boys don't have a menstrual cycle who the hell told you they did, because they're wrong and giving out misinformation, you'll be saying women have a penis next he he.

  7. Randy

    I think that this is one of the most important documentaries that I have watched. I live in Utah nd grew up Mormon. I was even a missionary years ago. Dealing with being gay was truly difficult, to say the least. With recent events, such as same sex marriage, the dark side of religion can really put a person down if he or she isn't careful. Christians only think of the God who made man and women. There was a good video about inter sex people. After watching it, I don't see how people can keep the same beliefs or why they do not use their brain to see that things are very different than we were raised to believe. I posted it on Facebook so all my Mormon family and friends could watch. I wonder how many di watch it. Mormons and other Christians will often avoid things that will disturb their reality or beliefs. if I try and say something about God or religion, I almost always get silence in return. As far as they are concerned, we have no beliefs.

    I want to thank all those who shared their stories and lives. Wow! What amazing kids and their parents are wonderful! We all have the right to define ourselves and our lives. There are a lot of people who still need to learn this! Think about all the pain and unhappiness that does not need to exist in this world! I do believe that we came from somewhere. I don't think we need to know everything or have all the answers. That is the problem with religion. These things should have been learned a long time ago. Life is fascinating. Again, I think we should thank these children for their courage to define their own lives and open up a world that has never existed before!

  8. theMajor

    im sorry theres a lot of pseudo science going on. im glad awareness is here. i just hope it shakes peoples definitions of wrong and right.

  9. PTA mom

    This is confusing. I think this overly pro-lib Pro LGBT society is actually more damaging to young children for this exact reason. I find it weird that people talk about gender as just being social construct, I think this is more damaging to a child's sense of identity, the ability to accept themselves and adapt to life. If my daughter decided she liked to play basketball more than play with dolls does that make her automatically gay or a boy. Gender and hormones, play a significant role in how we develop physically and psychologically - it could be more traumatic to a young child to have to gauge a choice that life altering at such a young age. this child has not even been given the opportunity to go through puberty - to allow them to make such medically and psychologically critical decisions so young is almost cruel IMO. What happens if this child grows into an adult and decides they no longer want to be a girl?

    1. robert elliot

      It's too late if they wait until after puberty. Then they will be permanently shaped like a man or woman. For instance, you will never be able to tell Jazz was born a boy, whereas you can almost always tell if the hormones aren't suppressed at puberty since they will otherwise catalyze the formation of secondary sexual characteristics of the male and female body.

      I didn't think they were saying gender is a social construct. Isabelle felt like and acted like a girl from her earliest memories. I'm more interested in whether there might be a hidden psychological factor. Like suppose the father was much more physically affectionate with his daughter but was afraid to express any affection for his son since he had some latent homosexual feelings and was afraid they'd be expressed erotically if he did, consequently he strictly avoided doing so. His son began to hate his male identity and came to feel that the only way he could get what he yearned for was to actually become a girl. Children do yearn for physical affection, both boys and girls. Not saying that's the case but it's just one possibility.

    2. PTA mom

      Back in the archaic years boys were castrated to slow down their development into manhood. This could potentially be no less harmful, just because "reversible" seems to be a relative term being thrown around. These drugs can cause more psychological and physiological damage than is automatically apparent, probably effecting their liver, pituitary gland, bones and mental health. All that just to slow down the inevitable. Why couldn't these parents just place their child in therapy to deal with their emotional issues regardless if they want to remain the same or go through the change in adulthood when they can legally make the decision wisely. The emotional and social support appears to be there anyway so it is doubtful these kids will experience as much emotional turmoil and depression as a child that does not have that support. These drugs are known to cause depression and these kids will still have self image problems anyway because they will never truly be one sex or the other, therapy and a professional psychologist will need to be employed either way. Just saying

    3. Mikey Nature

      That's ridiculous. Nearly everything you said is just plain not truthful. They don't take drugs, they do hormone therapy. Hormones that are already present in all of our bodies. They didn't used to castrate boys to slow down their developement. They castrated boys in order to have submissive sex toys. You can't make statements like that comparing castration to the struggle of science backed, genetic, chromosomal issues. It's insanely irresponsible. The comparison of trans teens to Eunuchs
      is probably the most medieval and offensive statements I've read in a long time. This is why education is so important. Your false words are out in the public, capable of seriously damaging a person struggling with gender identity. I urge you to do the research, engage trans youth. You have to understand what you're putting out there, and that it is not true, and extremely dangerous.

    4. Lisa Marie Green

      You're assuming the children aren't already in therapy. As part of the requirement for them to be able to access the blockers, I would make an educated guess that they're required to have attended and to attend therapy. Therapy is great. But if you identify as a man and you can take something to stop yourself from rowing breasts, I am sure that you would also want to do that.

      The small risk of depression as a side effect from the blockers is irrelevant in this situation. What child seeking these blockers wouldnt already be depressed? If they cant stop puberty then the will continue to be depressed. Also, you have to consider the risk of suicide in trans kids. It's very high. Its important to support them in being the gender that they identify with.

    5. Lisa Marie Green

      You made a vague comment earlier about cancer and birth control pills I know that's not the topic here, I just wanted to hear your opinion?

      Do you think the birth control pills should be pulled from the shelves? Do you think the morning after pill should be as well (the morning after pill is just birth control pills)? Do you think abortion also causes cancer?

      Your name is PTAmom, does that mean that you're actually a PTA mom? Or, is it satirical?

    6. dewflirt

      You say that children having the option to change their bodies to suit their gender identity is taking away their ability to accept themselves and adapt to life. Can you not see that that is exactly what they are doing? You're also trivialising this little girls decision by attempting to reduce it to a preference for either trucks or dolls. All she wants is the freedom to discover who she is and support whilst she explores. Just so you know, these kids don't undergo any treatment that isn't reversible until after they turn 18 and even then it isn't as easy as you think.

    7. PTA mom

      How do you know that injecting otherwise healthy children with "blockers" (very strong hormones) is reversible? There has been a link between other types of hormone based therapy even birth control and cancer. I'm curious as to what type of studies there are for this type of hormone treatment on young children and the long term effects on their thyroid and their mental health. I'm not trivializing what this child is going through either, I think just the opposite, feeling not right in your own body and then being offered a quick chemical solution is trivializing it, "honey that's okay you don't have to be a boy anymore we will just give you pills to stop that". what I'm saying is not against allowing your child to be who they want to be. I'm against going to the extreme of injecting them with potentially damaging and life altering hormones at such a young age. The pharmaceutical companies must be giving themselves a big fat pat on the back for being able to reach such young consumers, with this very expensive "Gender Cure".

    8. dewflirt

      Quick question: Do you live in the USA? I only ask because you mentioned pharmaceutical companies and expensive cures in the same sentence, that's usually a clue :) I have no idea how much the treatment might be, not really a thing we have to deal with in the UK. Any medicine has its risks, but with suicide, attempted suicide and suicidal feelings being so prevalent in the transgender community, I'm prepared to believe that the benefits must outweigh them. You really need to give up on the idea that all a kid has to do is express a half-assed desire to dress up and someone will pump them full of hormones. Just getting to the point where hormone therapy happens is a lengthy process. You really, really have to want it to get it. The doctors etc are not pandering to whims, they're treating people.

    9. PTA mom

      Wrong, I live in Canada. And, the pharmaceutical companies will see their profits regardless if it is private or government funded. The estimate is between $1500 - $2000 per month for the blockers alone, so it is a lucrative business either way. The kids will still need psychological treatment and the drugs used like Leuprolide (previously only used to treat actual medical conditions including prostate cancer) are known to cause depression and anxiety along with a host of other physical side effects. Again, I want to reiterate that I don't see how the benefits outweigh the risks in such young children.

    10. James

      This was a very well thought out conversation. It's nice to see this level of maturity in a forum.

    11. PTA mom

      Thanks it is an interesting debate for sure

    12. theMajor

      money or lives? i mean, that's the discrepancy here, isn't it? the fact that caring for wellbeing is an industry aimed at constant growth and monetary benefit definety validates your concerns, but the ballance between health tech (drugs, procedures etc) and social health (pressure to commit suicide, lateral violence over decades, mental health vectors) is out of wack and equal ground must be given there as well. these procedures are filled with invasive questions that shatter entire selves. they are not light desicions. and children are taken care of by their parents (idealy) and as a parent, the responsibility over a life extends past ones own generations and into the potentials of several. a singular approach will not work.

      tldr live and let live and try your best with what you have available

    13. Jeezus

      I am a transgender adolescent, does that mean I don't deserve to have choices?

      I see a future ahead of me that I don't want, you are telling me that I should just wait until that future happens before I do anything about it.
      I think I have as much a right as anyone and I have an opportunity to find a future that I want for myself.
      Why take away the future I want?
      Oh yeah, I am just an adolescent and shouldn't have any choices; derp I ferget stuf sumtymes!11!11!!!!

    14. PTA mom

      I am not trying to be offensive to you or what your experience is. A lot of people experience displeasure with some aspects of their reality including identity - this is not solely a transgender problem. What I am saying is that the drugs used are highly disruptive and can even worsen depression if not cause it. The drugs "blockers" were not developed for this purpose - they were made for potentially fatal medical conditions (hence why increased anxiety and depression, bloody urine, etc. are acceptable risks) So in my opinion as a parent the benefits do not outweigh the risks, especially in children as young as 10. As parents we rely on the health care system to educate us enough to make wise decisions and as parents decisions that will have long term benefits for our children. This is a life altering decision that would have no real benefit to a young child (by real I mean benefits that are medically needed). You make no comment as to whether you have started this type of treatment or the benefits that would not have been achieved had you waited until you reached puberty or adulthood (you make no specific comments about your age or if you have started this drug treatment.) Perhaps you could elaborate more on your specific experience with the medical treatment that is the crux of this debate.

    15. Lisa Marie Green

      Your whole stance is condescending to parents. It's not the job of the "health care system to educate us." Parents are smart enough to determine if the risks outweigh the benefits or not. For some, they will choose the blockers. Others will not.

      If it were my child suffering, I would probably opt for the blockers.

      The risk of depression as a side effect of the blockers wouldn't even be a concern. As any trans child who is trapped in the wrong body and unable to do anything about it would already be depressed. If a young girl wants to be a boy and identify as one, and her breasts are going to start growing, then the risk of her depression would elevate significantly as well as her risk of suicide.

      Bottom line, parents are intelligent enough to determine if the risk out weight the benefits for ANY drug of treatment their child takes.

      And pharmaceutical companies should get paid for the medications & treatments consumers buy. That's how it works, lol

      It's irrelevant why a medical was developed. That doesn't lessen it's effectiveness. If it works for what its being used for is what's important.

      And how can you even claim there is "no real (medical) benefit" for the patient? NOT being the gender you identify as dramatically increases ones risk for depression and suicide. Preventing puberty when your body isn't the gender you feel internally certainly DOES have a great medical benefit!!

    16. mcbevo

      Blockers are not started in most cases until a child is on the cusp of adolescence in order to block the changes caused by puberty, which makes children even more distraught--imagine how traumatic puberty must be for a girl whose brain identifies as
      as male who must experience the budding of female breasts and menses, or a boy who identifies as female who begin to have facial hair, deepening voice, growing genitals. These children offer deal with bullying which becomes worse in the teen years. Yes, it is worrisome that all effects of blocking or providing hormones opposite the body's own hormones, but if the child commits suicide the longterm effects would have been the lesser of the negative effects. Blockers essentially buy the child some more time to deal with the dysphoria and make a choice for their lives without the negatives of puberty forcing them in a direction they emotionally and mentally do not want to go. Professional psychological care and ongoing monitoring of the blocker's effects will help greatly with the depression and anxiety felt by the children, and while the meds can cause these, the depression and anxiety experienced without them due to the gender dysphoria are often worse.

    17. PTA mom

      Re:"The doctors etc are not pandering to whims, they're treating people." How can you say they are not pandering to whims when they are pandering to young children and adolescents. You say they really have to want it, but how is it even possible to be sure that a child/teen has the mental ability to truly appreciate the severity of taking this course of action to treat their emotional issues. A study on the neurobiological development of the adolescent brain states"Adolescence is a developmental period characterized by suboptimal decisions and actions that are associated with an increased incidence of unintentional injuries, violence, substance abuse, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases" this is the description of the teenage brain. Young children rely on their parent to help make them make wise decisions - a decision like this would be a familial based decision not a child's well informed choice. The more this becomes accepted the more it will happen regardless of the potential impact.Hence my original concern about the prolib pro-LGBT agenda going too far.

    18. dewflirt

      I give up. Have it your way. I have a sneaking suspicion that you carry a concealed bible anyway.

    19. PTA mom

      You give up because you have run out of arguments. And with a weak snide comment to end it is even more clear to me you can't even end it intelligently.

    20. Experienced

      I understand your concern. But you must understand that there is a vast difference between being a tomboy or a feminine male child, than absolutely knowing youre not quite in the right body. I went through all this and now i lead a very normal life. Not many people know what i have gone through, but it was an extremely difficult 5-6 years. I lost everything and had to start again. I have made a sucess of my life now, but please let me reiterate that if you suffer from this, you just know it to be true. Its frustrating to try to explain it. especially when people just assume its a phase. With me, that phase continued till i was in my late 20s. An otherwise happy normal person, that just knew i was being identified in a way that did not sit with me. I urge you to understand that nature makes mistakes and when some wonderful parent is willing to accept this, the childs life can only get better. Those tests to determine Gender dysphoria are extensive, you cant fake through them if youre a kid. Mistakes are only made when adult patients lie to the professionals.

      Your natural feeling of gender is not a 'decision'. The same way as you cant decide to be straight or gay. You are what you are.

    21. Lisa Marie Green

      Great post. I just wanted to say one thing about it. It's not a mistake. Just like some people are born with or develop disabilities. They're not a mistake either. I believe we choose to come to Earth and under the circumstances that we do. If it's a tough situation that just means that we are extremely strong and brave souls. God doesnt make mistakes. :)

    22. mcbevo

      I agree that God, however each of us defines God, makes no mistakes, but I do feel that nature occasionally does, even if we prefer not to call them 'mistakes.' If baby souls come from a perfect 'heaven,' I don't believe that they would choose to be born with chromosomal syndromes or other physical or mental deficits, or in this case, gender dysphoria, any more than they would choose to be gay or die at birth or be ectopic. But we are physical beings and sometimes things happen in the womb that are outside the specie norm, including the influence of prenatal hormones. I mean, according to UCSF Med Center, 50% of all fertilized eggs are lost before the next menses. The only mistakes are people who cannot accept other people who are different through no fault of their own, whether handicapped physically, mentally challenged, gay, lesbian or gender dysphoric. We are all human just with differing norms that may be hard for some people or societies or religions to accept.

    23. Lisa Marie Green

      They went over that risk in the documentary. They said 99.5% of the kids will not regret their choice to have the blockers. They also cited that the suicide rate is extraordinarily high for kids who are transgender. Particularly those in non-supportive environments.

      So although I initially agree with your concern, I trust they've fully examined the risk vs. benefit.

      Also, it has nothing to do with society, liberals or gays. It comes down to the mind identifying as the opposite gender that their genitals are. Liking basketball means you like basketball. Feeling that you're not the same gender as your genitals is a serious medical condition. And the medical solution includes these hormone blockers. It's kind of ironic you'd blame society, when I just yesterday read a story of a secretly trans man (born a female) in the 1800s or early 1900s. Like ADHD, it's not NEW, we just now have an actual label for it. And by label I dont mean "troubled" or "freak."

  10. Cal

    If someone decided to have plastic surgery to fix their apperance because they have body dysmorphia, would you assume they reincarnated from a beautiful person into a less beautiful? This is on the same spectrum.

    1. Pascalore

      Actually, no. I would attribute that mostly to societies pressures on people to conform to some unreachable standard of beauty. You've seen the African villagers who stretch their necks, put hoops in their ears and lips and apply puncture marks on their bodies? All in an effort to conform to someone elses standards of who you should be. Did John Merrick have plastic surgery? Did the dog faced boy shave his head? No.

  11. Pascalore

    Is this a byproduct of reincarnation? Our soul being genderless but our past life experiences imprinted upon it as one gender for many lifetimes bleeds over into this one causing the uneasiness with the unfamiliar. As we grow older we forget, but many children recall past lives, generally the last most recent, in nearly complete detail of who they were especially noting "The Boy Who Lived Before".

    Nikola Tesla had been noted as having the ability to "see" the design of a machine in his mind, build it and take it apart and even have it operate for months at a time to determine wear on bearings. Was he actually just remembering technology that his spirit was involved with in a past life?

    The saddest part is that there has always been a line between men and women that divides them into two groups, one going west and the other going east and now we find that, like the highway, it is a double line and those who are neither men nor women are relegated to existing in the median with no designated pathway or direction. Perhaps this is the real future. As the lines spread wider, there is less and less room for gender specific, socially directed (controlled), "norms" for all people to fit into and we will all start just being individual people with our own likes and dislikes of our own choosing with the only overarching rule: cause no harm and keep your hands off of my stuff and go play with your own stuff.

    1. DougDeGrave

      There is no "past". The past doesn't exist. Nor does the future. The saddest part is that there has always been a linear perception of time that divides the past and future in order to realize the present.Time, race, gender, are all a "social construct" according to the Marxist and Communist inspired psychologists, sociologists and other so-called "intellectuals". At a secret meeting in 1923 of revolutionary Marxists in Germany, leading Marxist theoreticians proposed the concept of inducing “Cultural Pessimism” to increase the state of hopelessness and alienation as a necessary prerequisite for revolution.This was the beginnings of what would be known as the "Frankfurt School" of social engineering, and the foundation of what is presently coined "Cultural Marxism".They blended Marxist and Freudian psychoanalytic theory that stressed the centrality of sex to personal and social development and added the study of linguistics to create Critical Theory and "deconstruction". Cultural Marxism shares with classical Marxism a vision of a classless society – a society of equal opportunity and equal condition. This vision contradicts human nature since people are different and end up unequal regardless of their starting point. So equality has to be enforced. It is therefore totalitarian in nature.