Inside Out Transplanetarium
Guest Reviewer: Naruhiko “Sho” Saotome
Sho is a student from Japan and is a transman.
The “Transplanetarium” programme had 6 films, all shorts, based on
various issues faced by Trans people. All the films are powerful and
amazing. They encouraged me a lot and helped me understand myself
better. Transgender activism has been raising awareness of fundamental
human rights so far. However it seems we still have many problems and
there is a lack of awareness, even within the LGBT community.
Unfamiliarity sometimes results in messed up communications and
For realistic portraits of how Trans people lead their lives, I
commend film festivals like Inside Out. I was a volunteer at the
festival on several days. It felt good to mingle with other LGBT
persons and their straight supporters. Let me introduce two short
films, which illustrate the points I am trying to make.
Emilie is sixteen-years-old and looks a beautiful 'girl'. Her mother
wants Emilie to wear a lovely dress at an Easter lunch. But Emilie is
not comfortable with it and wants to wear something more boyish.
Defying her family and despite strong pressure, Emilie decides to cut
his hair short and dress up as a boy.
My favorite scene is the following.
Mother was surprised and upset about his clothing. She tried to
explain to guests, "she has a kind of disease." She turns to a family
member and asks, "What is the name of that disease again?"
Emilie clarifies, “Transsexual."
A guest wonders, "Is that a disease?"
After the lunch is over and the guests leave, mother and child have a
big quarrel. Finally mother comes around and they come to a new level
If you have kids, you need to watch this as they are faced with
numerous problems and we can always improve parent-child
*Explanation of title: Passing is accepted “T” jargon. It means you
are recognised as the gender that you identify with. The three lives
featured are well recognised as black men, however they are “Passing”
so far as their assigned gender is concerned.
This documentary is composed of interviews with three black
Transmen. Their powerful and compelling statements show what it means
to them to pass off as straight while storms rage within.
Some of them are uncomfortable with a culture in which the man is
supposed to be macho, rich, and charismatic. One trans man recalled
that he had a frank conversation to make sure of the values his
girlfriend had before they went out together the first time. Now, his
girlfriend loves him as he is living his real life. She feels lucky to
have an honest man as partner.
Because of cultural background, one Transman had a hard time that his
family would not accept him as a man as they did not understand. They
said, "You don't have a penis." After that, he has lived as a man
which gives him the confidence to live his daily life.
The other episode that makes me think was about a Transman whose past
was not known to the people in his world – everyone assumed that a
person who looks male must have always been a male. Since he was a
girl in his former life, he is embarrassed when his friends make rude
comments about women and he has to defend them. He says that he
encounters racism as well as sexism.