It’s about time we all experienced Brother X

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?

Conner: You can learn more about the film at http://brotherxfilm.com and you can donate at https://igg.me/at/brotherx/x/.

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?

Conner: @connerdemita on twitter and instagram. https://vimeo.com/connerdemita

Elliot: Twitter: @elliotfgf , Tumblr: efgf.tumblr.com , Instagram: @elliotfgf ,

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/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.

 

brotherxfilm.com

https://igg.me/at/brotherx/x/

WINGS Helps Domestic Violence Victims become Victorious

You may have seen me tweeting about an organization called WINGS. I wanted to take some time to explain what they do a bit further and invite you to join in showing your support to victims of domestic violence. Many times a person who is in such a situation feels hopeless, alone, and embarrassed. I believe, and so does WINGS, that with the proper encouragement, and the option of a safe place to go, victims can become victorious. So many times being heard and understood can inspire people to make difficult choices and turn their situation around.

WINGS has become one of the largest domestic violence service and housing providers in the state of Illinois. Single women and women with children are able to receive temporary safe shelter through WINGS housing. The staff provides assistance on an individual, one-on-one basis that allows women to set personal goals which enable them to work, continue education, and take care of themselves and their children.

The statistics are staggering, 19.3 MILLION women in the United States have been stalked in their lifetime. With those numbers, I am sure almost all of us know someone who has been affected by the issue.  The programs WINGS offers helps give them back their lives and their courage.

What WINGS wants to do for Mother’s Day is to give everyone an opportunity to show support for the women and children we know in our lives that have had to deal with this. You can be a part by participating in the campaign, #WINGS2beBOLD. Simply upload a photo of yourself or one with your Mothers holding a poster or paper displaying the hashtag  #WINGS2beBOLD to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. It’s an easy way to offer some encouragement and possibly inspire strength in someone who desperately needs to know we are with them in spirit.

I’m sure you have heard me say that each of us should take any opportunity we have to be a voice for the voiceless. Fear, shame, and hopelessness rob so many of their own voices. Any support we can offer may just help someone to take the steps necessary to turn their lives around and in many cases, even save someone. While we are all enjoying Mother’s Day with our own loved ones, we can surely take a few moments to extend a virtual hug to someone who truly needs it.

If you want to take it a step further, you can also donate to WINGS and find out more about what they do. Their website is full of valuable information and you can donate here: WINGS Program.

VP JOE BIDEN AT GROUNDBREAKING OF WINGS METRO:

US study links pollution to autism risk

US study links pollution to autism risk (via AFP)

Pregnant women who were exposed to high levels of air pollution were twice as likely to have a child with autism as women who lived in low pollution areas, a US study said. According to experts at Harvard University, the research is the first large national study to examine links between the prevalence…


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Jean Stapleton: ‘A great actor whose range was deep and majestic’

Jean Stapleton: 'A great actor whose range was deep and majestic' (via The Christian Science Monitor)

Jean Stapleton is Edith Bunker and Carroll O’Connor is Archie Bunker in “All In The Family”. Ms. Stapleton, who won three Emmy awards, died Friday in New York.(CBS) To most television viewers in the 1970s, Jean Stapleton was the working class housewife ditz with the screechy New York voice who put…


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Trevor Page: Someone You Should Know

I am super excited to introduce you to Trevor Page. He is such a multidimensional human being, an amazing artist, and quite the smart guy. His sound encompasses so many genres and yet has a uniqueness that is refreshing in a time where music seems to have taken on a formulated feel to it.

Trevor has worked with Gabe Lopez, who I interviewed a few months ago so I decided to ask Gabe for a quote about working with Trevor (but Trevor doesn’t know I asked…..yet :) )  Being another extremely generous soul, he had this to say about Trevor:

“Trevor has become such a great pop singer/songwriter and producer.  He has great production instincts – he’s very savvy about his use of synths and sound effects.  And his lyrics – such a great combo of personal, heartfelt words and catchy  hooks.  He’s great live, too.  A very solid singer – complete with range and runs. I have a blast working with him.  He’s the real deal.”

When I first became aware of Trevor, through my interview with Gabe, I immediately looked him up and began to experience his music.  I say experienced because in special cases, you don’t just listen to music, you experience the art of it.  I was extra pleased to discover he is such an approachable and generous person.

Please enjoy this interview as much as I have enjoyed working on it:

Q: Have you always known you had such an amazing talent?  Your voice is very unique and so mature for someone your age.

A: First off thank YOU. Finding myself as an artist wasn’t a completely smooth ride. I was very shy. I always new I loved to sing and loved music but growing up in a small town in Florida wasn’t the most encouraging atmosphere. My parents are very supportive but having this big dream was a bit scary for my mom when I was younger. She never really encouraged me to sing. She is very business minded and always wanted me to have a plan for success doing something a little more solid… and to an extent understandably so. There are NO guarantees in the entertainment business. It wasn’t until I was around 17 or 18 that I started seriously writing music and I didn’t perform any of it until I was 20 or so. It was when I started doing music with Ricky Diamond that I really started to come into my own. The duo was fun and it taught me a lot. So no, it has been a tough, bumpy path but I am far from done.

Q:  I read that you are a child of a multi-racial marriage. Was that challenging for you growing up?  Do you have any advice for people who may be teased and/or bullied for being different than others?

A: I honestly never knew that I was different until I’d be told or reminded by other people but I have been blessed with absolutely the best family anyone could ask for.  Like i said, it was a small town and sometimes tolerance for being different is a little skewed out of fear. I really just try to take that as a learning experience too. Things have gotten better and better but we still have work to do to spread education and love. As far as advice for anyone being bullied… Hmm.. Its so much easier said than done especially if its your family who may be the negative influence. But in the case of racial issues, our race is something we have no control over. So being oppressed over something like that can be detrimental in learning or having negative experiences . Try to surround yourself with positive people. There are wonderful things about ALL of us. Look for positive role models that you can relate to because you are not the only one. Don’t stay silent. Tell a counselor, your parents or a friends parents. Continue reading “Trevor Page: Someone You Should Know” »