James Bleyer is working hard on making his dreams come true

Photo credit: Allan Naylor

James Bleyer is just like any other young man with a passion for acting. The o difference is, James came into this world as a baby girl but always felt he had been assigned the wrong body. He is most certainly not alone, some reports have found that about one in two hundred people worldwide identify as gender variant.

James describes it as his body and his true self living two lives next to each other. I think that is a great description of what it feels like and have found it to be similar for individuals I know who are experiencing or have experienced similar. I also understand that there are some people who believe it is more of a choice, just like some think being gay is a choice. I am so glad that men and women like James are wiling to speak out now and try to help everyone have a better understanding. There is so much going on in our world and so many lives have been lost, and are lost, due to differences that should not matter to anyone.

I’m going to let James tell you his story through our interview and hope it bridges some gaps, opens some minds, and shuts down some misconceptions:

Q: Can you explain what being transgender means to you in your own words and tell us a little about your own story?

James Blyer: For me it means, that I’ve been born into a wrong body, which I can’t feel good with and really live a happy life. I always explain it this way. My body and I are living two lives next to each other.

Q: What has the process been like for you physically and medically?

JB: Medicaly: One year ago, I started with the hormone treatment and the first things that started changing, where my voice and moods. They changed very quickly and sometimes I could not handle them very well, but they are good now.
On the physical level I started to gain more strength and have more power during the day.

Q: What was the hardest part about telling your family and friends? Were they able to fully understand?

JB: The hardest thing was, that I didn’t know how they would react. I always knew, that they always love me and there could be nothing wrong with telling them, but still I was afraid.
Some of my friends didn’t understand it and didn’t want to loose the person they liked so well. The thing is, they would not loose me, I would only change, and that is something lot’s of people don’t understand. They think the person will be gone, only because they start with the treatment, and that’s completely wrong. Only the look and some small things are changing, but the person will always be the same and be there.

Q: What are some of the misconceptions about being transgender and how do you deal with them when you are faced with people whojust don’t g

Photo Credit: @ChameleonEntertainmet

JB: Well there are people who think that I only do that transition, because I would have a bigger chance with the acting at some point, since men sometimes have a bigger chance. But

Q:What advice would you give to your younger self now that you have come as far as you have?can you imagine that? Doing that, making all those decisions, only because of an easier way of work? That’s rubbish. We are humans, and we are not supposed to be men and woman only, there are so many different genders and I don’t care about those thoughts. Of course they make me angry, but I don’t take them on me.
On the other hand, people in the art world like those new things, they like to work with those things and in my opinion there are more things, than being transgender. One always has more to tell, than only one story, wouldn’t you agree?

JB: I would have told my younger self, that I should have told my parents earlier and not waited so long. Maybe when I went to school or something like that. And I would have told myself, it’s right what I do and feel.

Q: What would you say to other people who are struggling with their own identities and may be afraid to speak about it?

JB:That’s not an easy question to answer, since you never know how your family and friends would react. I know why people are afraid to talk about those things. But I am always talking and not being silent on it. We only live one time and we should always try to live a happy life and that includes being true to ourselves.

 Q: I know you are interested in acting. Do you plan to pursue an acting career?

JB: I went to drama school for three years now and still have half a year to go. In the beginning it was not easy at all, because I simply couldn’t fully let myself go and just play, because I had no hormones, it

Photo credit: @ChameleonEntertainmet

sounded wrong and weird with my voice, felt wrong with that body so all in all I could not really work. Nearly one and a half years ago, I started to understand something about acting and myself and I could work with it. I started working with my inner self and not look so much on my body and then it started to work more than before. I had to allow myself more and find the key to my work.

I plan to go on with acting and find a way for me that works.

Currently I play two roles in drama school, that are definitely male without a doubt and it’s not a problem, that my body is not biological male and to be honest…I don’t care about that.

Q: What other interests/hobbies keep you busy?

JB: I have a lot of interest. I like classical music very much I like reading theatre pieces and literature and enjoy going to exhibitions.

Watching other plays is also very important for me. And when there is some spare time I enjoy a good run or some fitness, but at the moment my drama school keeps me most busy.

Q: Where can people find you online to find out more about you and what you are up to?

JB: On Facebook and on Twitter: @James_Bleyer

Q: When did you first become interested in acting? Are you currently working on anything you can discuss?

JB: I’ve always been interested in acting and watched a lot of German literature films. I always wanted to discover history and different worlds. I want to understand people and life. There are so many wonders.

Q: Who would you like to work with? Actors, producers, directors?

JB: I am always interested in working with new people and certainly there are some big names I would like to work with. But it’s more a dreaming of working in different countries in the first place. I do drama school in Germany and would very much like to work in England, France, Italy, Germany (of course), United States and many many more.
One can only dream and work hard of course.

Learn what BEing KINDred is all about from Mary Elizabeth Boylan

I recently had the opportunity to interview Mary Elizabeth Boylan about her latest project, a documentary called BEing KINDred for The Homo Culture. The film highlights the current struggle of the Transgender and transitioning community by telling their story in hopes that a better understanding can come of it.

Here is an excerpt of the interview, but you can read the entire article here: http://www.thehomoculture.com/2016/07/10/being-kindred/

Q: Tell us a little about BEing KINDred. What made you want to make this film?

Mary Elizabeth Boylan (MEB): One of my best friends transitioned from Male to Female. During that process, she was slowly and deliberately rejected by her family, including her 3 children. Not only was it heartbreaking to witness, but also the polar opposite of what should have been happening. She was trying to be true and honest with herself, in order to be her best self, largely for them. Sadly hers is not an uncommon story. I wanted to do something to educate and inspire families to support their loved ones in transition.

Q: Can you share some of the statistics that also appear on your page?

MEB: The suicide rates are the most astounding of all the statistics of the Transgender population. 41% attempt suicide in their lifetime, and over half of those people state their reasons for doing so were due to being rejected by their families.

Q: What are the main messages you hope to get across to all people through this film?

MEB: Tolerance. Love. Understanding. These are basic human values. The human race is one family. As our culture becomes progressively more globalized, I feel like we are trying on some level to move toward an understanding of this, which starts at home. We need to teach love, acceptance and kindness above all else.

Hopefully, you will be moved to help support Being KINDred and this project opens a greater communication as well as our hearts and minds.

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/

Diversity On Demand CONTEST

Everyone loves a contest, especially when its for a good cause! I was told about a really fun one that is being held by Diversity on Demand by Bianca Chan and I just knew I had to share it with all of you! If you decide to enter, good luck and have fun!

Diversity On Demand is celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month which means the cable industry has partnered with GLAAD to shine a spotlight on compelling, diverse programming.  To help do this, they have launched an LGBT Pride Photo Contest on the official Diversity On Demand Facebook page. The contest gives fans a chance to recreate an original photo inspired by their favorite gay-friendly film and TV shows available On Demand! Whether it’s a western inspired render, political activist pose or choir group capture, three winners will be selected from the submissions to be featured as a weekly cover photo star on the Diversity On Demand Facebook for the month of June.

Here is the official press release:

Cable Industry and GLAAD Honor Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month
Spotlight Instant Access to Diversity On Demand Programming

(National Harbor, MD, May 21, 2012)— During the months of May and June, the nation’s leading cable companies, cable networks and GLAAD are joining together to pay tribute to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in America by shining a spotlight on compelling, diverse programming.

“We’re looking to build awareness about the variety of TV shows and movies available to customers on cable On Demand both about, and for, diverse, and potentially under served, audiences, such as the LGBT community,” said Char Beales, president and CEO, Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM).

Through cable’s On Demand service, customers can instantly access a variety of programs to learn about the contributions and struggles of the multi-faceted LGBT community. The effort is part of cable’s Diversity On Demand initiative promoting the industry’s on-going support and commitment to multiculturalism.

“Thanks to the cable television industry’s Diversity On Demand initiative, millions of Americans will be able to watch popular stories about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people that both entertain and spotlight the common ground that we all share,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “Critics and audiences alike have already applauded many of these titles and now many more LGBT Americans and their families around the country will be able to do the same as part of this year’s Pride celebrations.”

Recognized since 2000 by a Presidential Proclamation, LGBT Pride month (June) observes the impact gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals have had in the world. The cable industry salutes LGBT Month in both May and June with a variety of programming, including:
Documentaries such as The Strange History of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a timely and historical look at the legacy of gays and lesbians in the military.
Musical Comedies including cult classic film Hedwig and the Angry Inch, an American adaption of the stage musical of the same title about a fictional rock band fronted by an East German transgender singer; and the ground-breaking television series Glee, which spawned a rabid group of fans also known as “Gleeks.” The show follows the trials and tribulations of the diverse students that make up McKinley High’s Glee Club.
Inspirational biographies such as Milk, a movie based on the true story of Harvey Milk who dedicated his life to giving hope to a marginalized and vilified LGBT community.
Stunning and stark dramas that capture the yearning of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys in director Ang Lee’s film Brokeback Mountain.
Award-winning “Dramedies” such as The Kids Are All Right that tell the story of the perfect lesbian family that begins to unravel when they meet the man that made it all possible. And Unconditional Love, which explores the value and limitations of unconditional love and the evils of sexism and homophobia.
Ground-breaking television series such as Girl, Sex in the City and The Wire.
Viewers wanting to further explore the cross-section of Diversity On Demand programming can visit www.facebook.com/diversityondemand to discover the TV shows and movies offered by their cable providers.

CTAM, the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, is a non-profit professional association, dedicated to helping the cable business grow. To that end, CTAM provides consumer research, an interactive executive innovation series, conferences, awards and the “CTAM SmartBrief” to its individual members. On behalf of 90 corporate members, the organization leads the Advanced Cable Solutions Consortium and Business Services Council, and facilitates national cooperative marketing efforts, including the Cable Mover Hotline® and Movies On Demand® initiatives. The corporate website is www.ctam.com and CTAM can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.