Courageous Journeys

Amos Lassen

Michael Brewer’s “In Full Bloom: Transcending Gender“ follows the journeys of thirteen transgender and two gay actors as they transform their lives through the use of monologue, dialogue and performance art while preparing for the world premiere of an original stage play.

We go behind-the-scenes, to rehearsals and see performance footage interwoven with candid personal interviews with the cast, who talk about how they deal with family, inner conflicts, discrimination, coming out, surgery, hormones and the complexities of sexual identity and orientation. As they share their own journeys, the actors transcend transgender and challenge us to go past stereotypes and see what we all have in common as human beings.

The stage play that they work on and perform, “Lovely Bouquet of Flowers: An Exploration of Non-Traditional Gender Voices,” by Jazzmun Nichcala and director, David Hays Gaddas” is the focus here.

Stereotypes are deep-seated and difficult to overcome (I define stereotypes as widely accepted lies), and this film will help to dispel some of the mystery surrounding transgender issues while shedding light on the beauty of diversity. The documentary humanizes the trans community against a backdrop of media that often sensationalize or poke fun.

Telling these stories normalizes the transgender community by “show[ing] what similarities they have with mid-America.” “Everyone wants to be loved, and I hope that comes through in the documentary.”

Fifteen characters embody the diversity and the sameness of the transgender community. We see how complex and diverse these people are and how much depth there is to them.

Although “In Full Bloom” takes on multiple issues — homelessness, religion, familial support, body enhancement, it is light-hearted as it plays out as an honest portrayal of trans experiences. The people in the film are funny, but what they say is so important.

We are all the same; we have the same emotions and issues that transcend gender, race and everything else. “Wherever you are in life, we can all identify on some level.”

This documentary gives viewers a glimpse into the lives of a marginalized segment of our society that is not well known or understood. Polls show that only less than two percent of Americans personally know someone of transgender experience. Most people get their information about people of transgender experience from the mainstream media, which, in the past, has sensationalized and minimized trans stories and trans lives. The time has come to change that and that is what this film does.



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