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Thursday 10 November 2016

Preview: From This Day Forward

Posted in: Movies
By - 3rd May 2016

It isn’t very often a documentary explores the complexities of gender identity and transition from the perspective of a trans person’s adult child.

Trisha came out as transgender when her daughter Sharon was navigating the awkward pre-teen years and trying to figure out her own identity. Interviewing and spending time with her parents ahead of her own wedding, Sharon works through lingering resentment and begins to understand concepts of gender and identity that for an seven year old were just to complex.

A documentary that is layered with emotion, it at times appears to be a therapeutic journey for Sharon, one that simultaneously allows Trisha to reflect on her transition and its impact on both her wife and her children. Trisha says when she came out publicly, it was very much a process that she went through without thinking about the impact it may have on her family, for her it was a matter of life or death. Throughout the documentary, we can see hints the pain this has caused her, at times it’s evident that in fact Trisha is still holding back aspects of her identity to accommodate her family.

From This Day Forward is also the story of Trisha’s relationship with her wife Marsha and the deep love that the couple share. Marsha, who has known about Trisha’s identity from the very beginning of their relationship, identifies as straight and has stuck by Trisha throughout their most turbulent times. It is this relationship that has defined Trisha’s coming out, she reveals that she desires to express her femininity more in-depth but her concern lies with her spouse.

With the story told from Sharon’s perspective, much of the film is narrated by her and her presence is inescapable. Scattered throughout are small moments in which Trisha, who is an extremely talented artist, films on her own however she reminds us that Sharon has asked her to do so. Perhaps the most revealing aspects of Trisha’s own contemplations come in the moments that focus on her stunning oil paintings that delve into the deepest depths of her identity and her imaginings of human experience.

Like all families, this one is far from perfect. Be prepared to watch the film and hear Sharon refer to Trisha using male pronouns and the word “father”, this in itself is an aspect of the documentary that is continuously teased apart, delving deep into the workings of this family dynamic.

Check out From This Day Forward at the Doc Edge Festival

Wellington 4-15 May, Roxy Cinema, Miramar

Auckland  18-29 May, Q Theatre Auckland CBD

- 3rd May 2016

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