Posted by on Mar 3, 2017 in Blog, Film | 0 comments


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Halloween, 1973

Scene: Jamie is lying on an examination table. A tech wearing protective glasses, sterile mask and a large, glittery pin that reads: ELECTROLOGIST taps incessantly on Jamie’s cheek with a probe, which beeps with each touch. Then, she tweezes a hair from Jamie’s face. “I’ve been on this table over 100 hours and it’s far from over.”  Cut to Jamie, clearly upset, entering her bathroom at home wearing a black sports bra, leggings and cloche hat, which she rips off revealing her bald head. “Look at me. This is why I suffer so badly from dysphoria. I look like an old man.” We see a paunch and senior citizen skin.  Jamie shaves her stubble, leaves the bathroom and breaks down crying in the hallway. “It’s too fucking hard sometimes.”  The camera follows her through her bedroom. Still crying, she sits down and begins putting on makeup. When she’s through, she puts on a blouse, spreads her arms like wings smiles broadly, “All better.”Jamie laughingJamie and daughter

Other scenes:

  • Exasperated, Jamie tells us the most common response to her transformation is, “You’re so brave and courageous” and “whatever makes you happy.” With tears in her eyes she says, “I’m not brave. I have no choice. And, I’m certainly not happy. Look at all the people I’ve upset: my daughter, my brother’s not speaking to me. I wish this had never happened.”
  • Jamie’s daughter Tina choking back tears: “I’ve lost my father. My children won’t have a grandfather. I’m grieving. I still call him dad.”
  • We watch Jamie playing Second Life, the online virtual game in her unfinished basement. She tells us she originally created a male avatar but after just three hours switched to a woman. Jamie introduces us to Jami Luvvi, her on the screen alter ego. Late one night two years later, she looked at the screen and realized “that was me. I’m a woman, a tall, blue-eyed blonde, sexy woman.” The next morning she ordered women’s clothes and makeup on Amazon. From that moment on she identified as a woman.
  • Jamie drives to Boston in October to have her breast augmentation procedure. Leaving her house, she lifts her shirt to reveal “my happy, perky before boobs.”
  • Jamie and Dr. Marci Bowers

    Jamie and Dr. Marci Bowers

    Dr. Marci Bowers, one of the top surgeons performing transgender confirmations, who is also transgender, performed Jamie’s surgery.  In an exasperated tone she declares, “It doesn’t get cut off. The genitals get repurposed.” She describes how the head of the penis becomes the clitoris. Animation shows the male to female and female to male processes.

  • Moments before Jamie is wheeled into the operating room she tells us “I’m still not sure if this surgery is covered.” In previous recurring phone conversations with health care providers we learn it’s a race against the calendar. If Jamie doesn’t get her confirmation surgery by December 31st, her 65th birthday, she may never get it. That’s when she loses health insurance and goes on Medicare, which won’t pay for it all. She cries as she tells viewers that because of misinformation she changed health care providers to one that doesn’t even cover transition surgery.
  • After surgery, an angry Jamie tells us she’s suffering from fistula, a leaking bladder, and has been incontinent. She shows viewers the catheter bag which she has to wear. “You think it makes me feel attractive? Fuck no! Oh, and I haven’t been sleeping either, so I look like shit and feel like shit.” Progress with the fistula is another recurring scene.
  • Jamie’s daughter Tina tells us that when her father first transitioned she became an adolescent. “She wore the worst makeup and clothes. I’ve been helping her get it together. But she likes Justin Bieber. Justin Beber!” she shouts laughing. “He used to have such good taste in music.”
  • Jamie share insights about the differences being male and female now that she’s been both: how her anger and macho behavior have subsided. She feels calmer – “more estrogen less testosterone.”
  • Jamie’s making dinner for  Tina when she realizes the oil burner has gone out. They head for the basement where Jamie promptly disassembles the oil burner. She looks on the Home Depot website to see if they stock the motor. “I really don’t want to do this. It will ruin my finger nails.”
  • The conversation between Jamie and Dr. Bowers turns political when Marci talks about intersex states: when babies are born with genitals that are not clearly male or female. “That occurs with a fairly high frequency,” we learn. Elaborating, “It’s a crisis in newborn life.” When this confusion occurs, “everyone is in a tizzy. In such intersex cases, arbitrary decisions are made about whether the infant is male or female and corrective surgeries are often performed. They were getting it wrong about a third of the time, leading to lives of misery for many people.”

Series:

It is our intention to create a television series profiling a few of the many dynamic, smart and surprising transgender people around the country. It will follow the theatrical release of Becoming Jamie and will also be poignant, funny and revelatory.

Learn about the filmmaker: producer, director, cinematographer Roger Sherman

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