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Hot Docs: Transformer

Transformer, USA, director Michael de Monte, 2017, part of Toronto Hot Docs Film Festival screened April 27 and 29 and May3.
Transformer, USA, director Michael de Monte, 2017, part of Toronto Hot Docs Film Festival screened April 27 and 29 and May3.

(TORONTO, ON) – Weightlifting champion Matt “Kroc” Kroczaleski was the typical he-man body builder with mutant, obscene muscles. Somewhat of an icon in weightlifting circles, he has held a secret for some time.

He wants to be a woman.

This is not an easy choice in a macho world. Janae, as she is now legally known, has two desires in her life.

One is to be strong and the other to be a woman. But, the two can’t really co-exist, she believes. She loves weightlifting and its camaraderie, but is tortured by her quandary.

A stint in the US Marine Corps was a last attempt to supress femininity, but without success. Janae takes the step to go transgender, but feels constructed and unauthentic. Her parents are not terribly happy about the transgender step, but recognize they can’t change her mind.

Her marriage dissolves and she is left with three children she absolutely adores and feels some guilt about not making the transformation to a woman. What role model would she be if she failed to realize her desire to become a woman?

Kroczaleski stops competing and her major sponsor drops her. Her employer also fires Janae the pharmacist.

She decides to take some serious efforts to become a woman including plastic surgery and vocal chord surgery to change her masculine voice. She’s realized you can’t go on hiding who you really are.

So, she knows that, for her, there is a choice she must make. Her future is uncertain. No job and no complete feminine transformation unless the next operation is between her legs.

I assume just about all of us take our sexual identification for granted. But Mother Nature has mixed up a few of us along the way.

Hopefully you’ll have sympathy for Janae, who can’t control what her brain is telling her she should be. She endures a horrible emotional journey making her final decisions.

Raw documentary film making at its best.

(Transformer, USA, director Michael de Monte, 2017, part of Toronto Hot Docs Film Festival screened April 27 and 29 and May3)

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