“Little Miss Westie”
One Family, Two Transgender Children
Joy E. Reed and Dan Hunt’s new documentary, “Little Miss Westie” is the story of the McCarthy family in Connecticut where both of their children are transgender. The older sibling Luca came out to his parents in high school and after some confusion at first, the parents adjusted well to the change. However when Ren his younger sibling came out later, the immediate reaction was that she was emulating her brother.
Chris and Shelley McCarthy’s way of dealing with both their children is measured and calm. Whatever their initial reactions were (and Shelley confessed to a few misgivings) they are completely accepting and supportive of their children and happy to do whatever is necessary to facilitate their transitioning.
Ren wants to participate in the Miss Westie pageant as long as she can do so on her terms. Luca had taken part when she was younger and before she had come out as a boy, and he takes on the role of coach for his younger sister. The pageant in itself is not that important but the way that Ren reacts in social situations like this is important because she has trouble making friends.
Before the 2016 Presidential election, the family was deeply worried about the rights of their children, and the trans community if the Trump administration succeeded. They were proved correct as the current Administration has started rolling back as many rights as they can, and the siblings need the continued support of their parents more than ever now. We cannot help but be struck by the mature approach of the two kids and their energy. Yet, we see Luca’s mood swings when he first starts testosterone but facing this as a family makes it such a far cry from all the trans kids that end up homeless and suicidal.
We are again reminded of the crucial need for all of us to be supportive of the trans community particularly in the present political climate. The film focuses on the family at a time when they are dealing with so many changes. It’s not just the changes that their children go through with a gender transition but how our country’s political affairs have affected their life.