My Genderation: Awards and Laurels


2017 was a really good year for My Genderation and the films we make about trans people. Our films have been accepted into a lot of amazing film festivals throughout the year and we are so happy and delighted that our films make it into film festivals and are shown around the world. This is exactly what My Genderation was created for - to be a positive voice and representation of trans people worldwide.

We also recently finished our first feature documentary about being non binary, titled I AM THEY. It covers our personal stories as a non binary couple, as well as us exploring a few different themes and challenges non binary people face in the UK and beyond. We have entered it into film festivals and we are really excited to see what happens and hopefully it will get accepted! You can watch the trailer below.


Trans Activism: Awards for 2017

At the end of the year, we were put on two different lists as influential trans activists. One was by the Metro which listed us on the Trans Power List of 2017-2018. The other one was the Indy100 which listed us as one of the 9 LGBT+ people who defined and defied in 2017. Neither of these outlets are LGBT specific media platforms, so it's good to see people being represented and acknowledged on such platforms.

Obviously it is a great honour to be listed on lists like this, but there is also the flip side of it. There are so many amazing people out there do not get recognised for their achievements and there are so many people working behind the scenes in various places who aren't recognised for what they do. It also has the potential to go to people's head and it is a lot about ego and popularity and who has a platform to be seen in the mainstream media.

It is good to be recognised for the work that you do and we have worked very hard on our projects and we are glad they are making an impact. Our friend and fellow activist Christine Burns actually wrote a post about this which has some interesting points.


Transgender in the Workplace

We got approached by the National LGBT Police Network to make a film for them that would over trans issues in the workplace. Given the history between the trans community and the police force, we realised that it was a sensitive matter. After giving it much consideration we came to the conclusion that this film would ultimately foster understanding about trans issues within the police and workplaces in general and have a positive effect and hopefully build some bridges.

This was an opportunity to work from within and hopefully create change. We are proud to boast that the film was entirely made by trans people, about trans people, for a wider audience, as are all films created by My Genderation. This was an essential part in the making of the film, as trans people had their authentic voices heard and spoke about issues related to the workplace. We think the film will be useful for all workplaces and will be a valuable resource. It will start a conversation about trans issues in the workplace, and is a good tool in raising awareness and can help workplaces make their institution inclusive.

We were lucky enough to be have access to interesting and out trans people that we respect immensely, including helicoptor pilot Ayla Holdom and RAF dog trainer Chrissie Bentley.  We gathered a great group together and our contact Laura Millward at the National LGBT Police Network was wonderful to work with and we made some great connections through the whole making of the film.

We also made a short video about how to search trans people respectfully.

 


I AM THEY (trailer) - Non binary trans love story

The film centres around us (Fox and Owl) who are a non binary couple. They discover different topics and challenges that non binary people face; from legal issues to language, from marriage to hate speech. The film also explores issues and topics faced by older non binary people, non binary youth, non binary people of colour and non binary people from across Europe.

This is the first feature length doc on trans issues by My Genderation (with a record of 60+ shorts over the past 6 years). What makes our films unique is they are created by trans people about trans people for a much wider audience.

I AM THEY is to be released late 2018. Our plan is to take this around a few film festivals (we've applied for 4 so far) first and hopefully it will have impact within film festivals and do well in that circuit.

Thanks to everyone featured and involved in the making of the documentary and a huge thanks to everyone who made it possible, everyone who came to the audience feedback screening, all the wonderful trans people out there making the world a better place and the ones who have come before us. Thanks to all who originally supported the making of the documentary 'Fox & Owl Can't Get Married', of which some of the footage (Illuminate films) was incorporated into I AM THEY, a much bigger (and hopefully more impactful) film.


I AM THEY - Sneak preview at the University of Brighton

Here's a preview of our documentary I AM THEY at the University of Brighton on the 28th of November.

Book your tickets here.

I AM THEY - A NON BINARY LOVE STORY

I AM THEY is one of the first full length documentaries focusing on non binary trans issues. It follows the life of Fox and Owl, non binary trans activists and film makers. Fox first came out as trans on the mainstream documentary, My Transsexual Summer, and has since then been a prominent voice for trans people in the UK.

In the last few years, Fox and Owl have focused their efforts on bringing the conversation of non binary issues to the forefront. Owl is originally from Iceland and is one of the main spokespeople for trans people in Iceland and has taken active part in the European activist community through various organisations such as International LGBTQI Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) and Transgender Europe (TGEU).

This documentary tells the story of two people from two totally different backgrounds finding each other and not only finding deep love for one another, but also a passion for making change for non binary trans people. The documentary is an exploration of what it is to be non binary as well as looking at some of the main issues that non binary people face in society. This includes gender recognition, language, social acceptance and even marriage. Fox and Owl speak with various non binary people from across Europe, MPs from the British Parliament, prepare a protest wedding and push for legal change.

Originally based on Fox and Owl Can't Get Married, a documentary made in partnership with Isabelle Dawson / Illuminate Films. The footage from that documentary has been incorporated to create I AM THEY.


Our film ALICE won an Award

Our film ALICE was selected as a finalist with Stories Lived, a film competition. We are delighted win the Audience Award and will use the $1500 prize to make more content about trans people and continue our film work. This glimpse into the life of poet and trans woman, Alice, is the second film we ever made as part of My Genderation. A shorter version was released as part of My Trans Story series on C4, while working with All About Trans on a project titled Patchwork, featuring 25 short films about Trans people in modern Britain. Our film Alice has also been shown at many film festivals all over the world including BFI Flare, TranScreen Amsterdam, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, SQIFF and Women Over 50.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-34433248

I Received an Honorary Doctorate from University of Brighton

On the 25th of July 2017 I was awarded an honorary doctorate for my contribution to society through my activism and work for the transgender community in the UK.  I never would have believed I would be honoured in this way when I started my journey.

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On the certificate for the Doctor of the Arts, it states: 'in recognition of their major contribution to raising the profile, both nationally and internationally, of issues affecting trans people and the promotion of arts in the media.'

The past 6 years have not always been easy, but acknowledgements like this truly make it worthwhile. I am so grateful for everyone's support and I know there is so much more work left to do.

Here are a few press articles about it, from Gay Star News,  Gscene and the Argus.

Below you can find my speech in writing.

Fox Fisher - Honorary Doctorate Speech, 25th July 2017

Chairman, Vice-Chancellor, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, and those who identify beyond the binary, thank you for this honour .

If someone had told me, even ten years ago, that I would one day be awarded a doctorate, I would have been shocked. Because 10 years ago, I had just finished my MA in Sequential Design & Illustration at Grand Parade campus and I was lost. After working at the British Consulate in America in Business Development, I returned home, for an interview and a change of direction on a creative MA. On the day I returned to the UK, I lost someone very close to me. That winter was a very dark one, where I grieved for the loss of a very close friend and in the new year, I did medical testing, in order to pay for my MA.

It was important to me to return to education, and side-step into something creative. I never thought I would be so heavily involved in film-making, but it was my short films, and not my graphics which got me a place on the course. I was usually withdrawn at school and won the art and english award every single year. Eventually I was told I needed to pick something and stick to I and I thought words were the most important form of expression, and then this drifted to graphic design, illustration, screenprinting and later on film-making.

My passion for screen-printing began at the University of Brighton, after completing my MA. I was in the midst of an abusive relationship and was at an all time low for my self esteem. I enrolled on an Adult Education course for Print-making and fell in love with the process. Jane Sampson taught me to screenprint and has been with me through thick and thin.  I would like to thank Jane for her work at the University of Brighton and her studio: Ink Spot Press, where she continued to employ me and support me, during my medical transition.

A lot has happened for trans people in the past few years. For those who don’t know, I am a non binary trans person that was assigned female at birth and in 2011 I was thrust into the public light when I came out on a mainstream documentary called My Transsexual Summer. The documentary is in most ways very dated now and during the show I was told that I needed to simplify my experiences and tell everyone I was a trans man, and not non binary. I also felt that in order to get access to the health care system I needed to yet again simplify my experience. For those who don’t know what being non binary is, it means that my gender identity falls outside of the binary of being simply a man or a woman. It’s not a lack of an identity or gender, but it’s a very strong sense of self and I experience my gender in a different way. In the past few years I’ve had to constantly defend this identity and very recently I was on Good Morning Britain with my partner Owl where our identities were questioned and debated by Piers Morgan. It’s important to note, non binary people have always existed and they do so in cultures all around the world. Non binary people are even legally recognised in countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Malta, India and Nepal.

While a lot has happened for trans people in the past few years, I feel as if we are still struggling with some of the same issues. Trans people’s identities aren’t respected and we constantly have to prove, explain and justify our existence. We are constantly being put down, humiliated and a lot trans people still experience a lot of stigma, discrimination and even violence. Recent reports show that 48% of trans youth have considered or attempted suicide. But a still a lot has changed since I was on My Transsexual Summer and we are often advancing and making progress. Sometimes it just feels awfully slow and the world seems very unjust at times.

I hope that in the future trans people will be respected and recognised for who they are. I hope that non binary people will receive legal and social recognition for who they are, as a part of human diversity. I want all of us to be celebrated for who we are and I want there to be a day where no one has to justify their existence nor debate it with anyone. Because our identities aren’t up for debate, nor should they ever be.

An acknowledgement of this kind helps me feel that I am on the right path and I very honoured to accept it. It speaks volumes when it comes down to trans awareness and it is wonderful to have that acknowledgement, not only for myself but for all trans people.

On another note, I meet with a very secretive trans man who is in the process of documenting his life by writing on a notebook about his experiences. It has been his therapy, bringing up a lot of painful experiences and episodes and his life.  He is now 70 and in poor health. He shared with me the words he wrote about being a young teenager, aged 14 and coming out to his grandad as trans. He came out to his grandad after his mum died, saying he felt that he was in a fact a boy. His grandad did not take it well, and he was placed into a mental hospital up until his 16th birthday which is when he was finally legally allowed to check himself out. This was in the north of England in 1960’s and I will end my speech with this poem he wrote about that time in his life:

'Walk this way.

I can only be this and I cannot be that

It's just the way I am

I can only think thoughts that are only me

For its me and all that I am

You can lock me up, after wiring my head

And say words that I don't understand.

Strip off my clothes but I don't care

For I'm me and all that I am.

It's no big deal to call me names

and drug me 'cos you can

For I know one day I'll leave this place, to be me and all that I am.

And when the time comes when I leave this world,

I will leave it as a man

I will close my eyes, knowing in the end

I was me and all that I am.'

Chairman, Vice Chancellor, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen and those who identify as non-binary, thank you very much again for this honour.


Trans Pride Brighton

Trans Pride in Brighton has just ended and I am immensely proud to be a part of such a wonderful event that is full of heart and soul. It started out as a small event for us 5 years ago and has grown in size every year. The highlights of Trans Pride for me is always the protest march and the event in the park that happens afterwards. The march this year was particularly empowering and over 2500 people showed up to march with us. All along the sides we saw people coming to support us and it was truly an amazing day.

I am so proud to have been a trustee for Trans Pride for the past 5 years, working with the committee on making the event happening, curating the film night and designing the logo and merchandise for Trans Pride. Every year I document the event so stay tuned for our yearly youtube video from the event!


The 5th Annual Trans Pride Film Night

The 5th Annual Trans Pride Film night was held on the 21st of July 2017. It was a collaboration between Trans Pride, My Genderation and Eyes Wide Open. The film night was held at the Komedia this year and we had two screenings, at 6:30PM and 8:30PM. It was a mix of non-fiction and fiction and the range of films was quite diverse.

A panel of judges was put together to review the films and select them for awards. The judges were Kate Adair, Munroe Bergdorf, Romario Wanliss and Taylor le Fín.

The selections were:
Best Fiction: Pronouns
Best doc: Skeleton in a Beret
Best soundtrack: Tailor
Best subject matter / Best plot: Majesty Girls
One to watch / Rising star: Yellow
Best acting: Mum
Best cinematography: Pronouns

Thanks to everyone who made this night happen and special thanks to Jacob from Eyes Wide Open who made this all happen. Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to everyone who entered their films to the film night!


Pride Powerlist

Owl and I were extremely grateful to be listed as a Power Couple as part of the Pride Powerlist, published annually in The Guardian newspaper and create by Out News Global. We were acknowledged for our work in trans awareness, particularly non binary issues. Exciting times and loads more work to do!