I have attended the first few days of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and am experiencing a deep sense of comfort that I haven't felt in a very long time.
The calibre of what I have watched so far has been really thought provoking and quite enriching as well as inspiring on many different levels.
Last years festival didn't inspire on the levels that this years has. It disturbed me in some places, partly because I felt insecure as to who I was but also I found a lot of the films I saw last year to be veering slightly on the crappy side. Or just irritated me. A lot.
Some years are like that when it comes to cinema anyhow.
The LLGFF has had its fair share of films over the years that have left me wanting to find the nearest exit as well as those that have left me feeling genuinely moved - I don't know if there was a single person who managed not to cry when The Chinese Botanists Daughter was played a few years ago. I still get a lump in my throat thinking about that film and found it was so beautifully shot.
So far I have been to a really riveting panel discussion about Trans Representation in the media, which had a really great panel that consisted of Jay Stewart, Fox, Paris Lees, Jason Barker and Valentino Vecchietti.
I loved that the panel consisted of trans people who had different relationships with the media and also different opinions about it. It also covered interesting topics such as ways in which trans people are represented as well as other issues such as how trans people are using media themselves. Particularly where the documentation of transition happens.
Many people keep video blogs and go on youtube. I respect that, but this is something that I wouldn't be comfortable with doing. But saying that I hate being in front of a camera. I enjoy being behind one and I like to use words rather than speaking in front of a lens.
I wish I could be more outspoken and have a better confidence with the camera, as I have many opinions and thoughts but sometimes I feel a bit stuck. I don't know how to always articulate myself as clearly as other people seem to be able to do.
I'm also slightly dyslexic which is part of the reason why I write. My grammar may not be perfect but writing something regularly means that I am making the brain work a bit harder and it helps me be more eloquent and enables me to not feel inhibited about communicating.
It can be frustrating yet at the same time I refuse to let it stop me.
The grammar police might come for me from time to time, but as long as people do it in a constructive way, then I am open and welcome feedback.
I got to speak with Paris Lees and Fox yesterday which was really lovely. I enjoyed speaking with them, and I really admire the work that Paris Lees has been doing of late. Her energy and ways of speaking are really inspiring and I have the up most of respect for her.
Another thing I must say I liked about the entire panel discussion was how everyone on the panel was with one another. Rather than being subjected to a halt of a flow because of in-fighting or political agendas hampering discussion; if people disagreed they did so respectfully and openly discussed why they may or may not agree with one another about a subject or an issue.
I really liked that approach. I am seeing it becoming too much of a trend presently for people to disagree and one of the parties in disagreement seems to take a stance that the other person is somehow 'wrong' for having conflicting views and sometimes people start patronising others or being really condescending which I find a bit infuriating.
Everyone won't have the same opinion, but I feel people would benefit from discussing things in a more constructive and positive manner rather than a clash of egos emerging which so often becomes the case.
Online forums are rife with this and there is sometimes a feeling that there is a lot of one upmanship going on. Which I find incredibly tedious and boring. Just as I feel the same about those who troll relentlessly online.
Still this is something endemic within the digital stratosphere in which we are inhabitants of. Media such as Facebook/YouTube et al will be littered with this kind of self importance as these are devices that are reliant on content created by the users of the site.
Therefore it is all a bit navel gazey. As is even my blog.
Although I feel my blog is a bit behind the times because I have no images, no video or audio clips but just my random wafflings about stuff that relates to my transition and life surrounding that
On the same day I watched a film about lesbianism in South Africa as well lesbian parents in South Africa who have adopted children. This was so well put together and was very thought provoking.
Today's documentary that I saw explored gender representation and challenged binary narratives. The short that was put on first also was fantastic. The Q&A that came with this documentary was wonderful and watching the documentary made me feel a sense of homesickness for San Fran once again.
I did start my transition there so in many ways I consider it to be my very own Queer Mecca in certain ways. The freedom in which for expression and to be able to express myself was such a crutial moment to me as well as my very own decisive moment. Where Henri Cartier Bresson applied such a thing to taking a photograph this was where I applied it to my life.
All of the missing pieces started making sense then.
Being in a very queer space has given me a much needed confidence boost, as well as a sense of belonging.
It all started on Thursday night when I took photos for the start of T Club in Dalston Superstore. It was nice taking photos for a club night that was trans inclusive and positive about trans pride and visibility. I definitely take my hat off to Stav B for creating this and for everyone who came and supported the night.
It shall also be back in April so that is also something to look forward to.
People enjoyed themselves and my biggest joy was seeing that people from many different groups and persuasions were mixing together happily and peacefully. We weren't labels but we were people who were united by the fact that we knew there was a space that was designed to be inclusive of everyone but with a positivity towards trans people.
It was nice to socially have a safe space and a nice vibe floating around.
Following that energy on and then entering the film festival has made this really lovely to be able to experience.
Seeing friends at the festival and sneaking into free drinks receptions has also made this fun. I also feeling especially happy as I am seeing another 6 things at the festival!