Film complete - feedback good
The final version of our film has been really well-received by the people who have seen it so far. I think the direct personal accounts from our trans participants really brought it to life and made it more effective.
The final version is six minutes long, which is longer than we originally intended but it seemed like the minimum length we could get away to include what we feel we needed to. We thought it would be a shame to have to lose any of it, and anyway six minutes is still short enough that it can easily be incorporated into meetings/staff training etc without people getting bored. We followed a general pattern which we hope people feel flows logically, where we state some facts and figures, talk about what kinds of things go wrong, then what people have got right and end with the what recommendations can be drawn from all this; some very simple guidance for what to do and what not to do when dealing with trans people.
One of the questions I received at the conference in Newcastle the other week was along the lines of "okay that's all very well but how do we actually go about carrying out the recommendations" which is a good point. Well, first of all there is a little bit more detail in the executive summary than appears in the recommendations at the end of the film, but I think to a large extent this is a topic for future research. Further research could take a similar qualitative, interview approach to explore, for example, what would make a trans person feel that they were "actively welcomed" at a particular location or institution.
Another interesting point that came up in discussions in Newcastle was the difficult subject of "overcompensation". This refers to a problem highlighted by some interviewees where people, albeit in a very well-intentioned, well-meaning way "go over the top" in their efforts to make the trans person feel welcomed and included. In doing so it can actually have a negative effect on the trans person, as it highlights their "difference" from others when "I don't want to be treated any different from anybody else". One reviewer thought this was an important issue, ripe for extra study, as it's quite a tricky area to deal with. How do we get the balance right? As she pointed out, how do you address this with the person doing the "over-compensating" without getting a reaction along the lines of "well I won't bother then if that's the thanks I get" which I suppose is quite a natural reaction in someone who has been really making an effort.
I'll be speaking to the interviewers shortly and asking them to reflect on the whole experience of being part but I think it's evident already that they have enjoyed being part of this project. I know I certainly have, and also our film-maker said the other day that she has too, and learned such a lot from it.