This is a very important post to me because it is about a family dealing with gender transition. We have seen and heard so much about this topic but I feel like we still haven’t really begun to understand it. It seems like empathy is one of the most difficult things we allow ourselves to feel and it appears to be even more so when it comes to issues of gender. I’m not sure why that is, perhaps none of us want to face our own inner turmoil. Although not all of us struggle with our gender, each of us sure do struggle with something in our own lives. Maybe we just don’t want to face all of our own emotions and for some, I am sure the unknown scares the hell out of them.
Brother X is a very personal story of a brother struggling to come to terms with his new brother’s gender and his own inner turmoil at the same time. I’m hoping it helps all of us to understand this issue of transgendered and transitioning people and that it will help us find empathy for them. No one deserved to be ostracized for who they really are and no one should ever have to suppress their true selves to please family, society, or anyone.
Connor DeMita and Elliot Fletcher were so open in our interview. It was truly an honor to be able to talk to them about the film, about life, and about what they feel the transgendered and transitioning community need from us most. I hope everyone will consider supporting this film because I feel it is a story that must be told and one we need to hear. This isn’t just a news story or a passing phase. This is real life for so many and something that doesn’t need to be such a burden nor a struggle.
Elliot will also be on The Fosters on Freeform TV and I am sure his storyline there will help many as well. I am so in love with that show and the way they handle the issues families face today. Please be sure to check him out there too! I know I will be watching!
Q: Tell me a little about Brother X. What made you want to tell this story?
Conner: BROTHER X is a semi-autobiographical independent short film. It’s the story of a young man in suburban Los Angeles who must learn how to cope with his sibling’s gender transition. While he cannot bring himself to understand his new brother’s experience, he himself spends his nights clubbing in Hollywood dressed as a woman.
The root of the film is derived from personal experience with my own brother, Elliot. When Elliot was transitioning, I was not considerate or even very friendly. I failed as a brother. But my resistance to his transition was not because of any ideological disagreements I have with the concept of being transgender; it was due to a resentment I felt as a child who grew up making a point of never asking anyone else for help. In realizing that I held this resentment, I started to gain a greater understanding of the machinations of my own identity. I began to look at the beliefs I held and inspect them without passing judgment, but attempted to learn their origins and appreciate how they influenced my actions. Throughout that process, I began to understand the dissonances in myself, and that experience is what Brother X is about.
Q: What do you think transitioning and transgender individuals need the world to understand the most?
Conner: The world needs to understand that the trans experience is just as valid and important as all human experiences. All people undergo a process of discovery and development of identity, regardless or their denomination. It deserves the respect that all experiences of self-discovery should receive.
Elliot: The world needs to know that trans people are just people, and the fact that we’re being alienated and discriminated against is unjust. We are just human beings like everyone else. We’re just being our authentic selves, we’re not hurting anyone.
Q: Did you have any reservations or resistance from others about telling the story?
Conner: I personally had a fear of telling the story because of the very personal nature of it. It depicts a character that behaves in a way that reflects how I behaved to my brother, and that I’m not proud of. Elliot also had concerns when I approached him to make the film, because he knows better than anyone that this story is incredibly personal for both of us.
Q: Where can we find out more about the film and the crowdsourcing?
Even after the IndieGoGo ends, you can donate directly through our website. And because of our partnership with Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts organization, all donations are tax deductible!
Q: Where can we find each of you and anyone involved in the film online?
Elliot: Twitter: @elliotfgf , Tumblr: efgf.tumblr.com , Instagram: @elliotfgf ,
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Who was it from?
Conner: The best advice I’ve ever received was from one of my college professors. Darrell Wilson, who teaches experimental film at NYU, has always encouraged me to embrace the un-embraceable, both in myself and in the world.
Elliot: To be open. Don’t be afraid to do what you want to do, and be who you want to be. And to make friends. From my mom.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever given? Are you good at taking your own advice?
Conner: If you don’t like the food you don’t have to eat it. No.
Elliot: Take care of yourself. Make sure to always check in with yourself and make sure you’re okay. No.
Q: What’s one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?
Conner: I could probably live without the Internet, but I would struggle greatly not having the ease of access to a nearly infinite pool of information. It’s too addictive. I wish we could all live without having to sleep. As much as I enjoy sleep, I wish it could be an act of leisure and not a necessity.
Elliot: My phone. Our phones.