In the spring of 2016, a young multimedia journalist set out to make a video about a black trans person's experience graduating from college. Through countless calls, emails and references, she eventually met her match.
X arrested her. They were exceptionally well-spoken. Friendly. Telegenic. Sharp--sharper than the journalist. It was immediately and abundantly clear that X couldn't have been a better subject for the journalist's short film.
X's story intimidated the journalist. It was more than she had bargained for. How could she do justice to the person living in the shadows of one of America's most notorious college rape cases? How could she depict the marvel of someone who had endured so much pain yet exhibited so much grace? How could she make a film that would make her subject happy? That would make her happy? How could she make this video say that X was beautiful at every stage of their gender transition--even though they feared they might never make it to the other side?
The journalist sat with her questions and self-doubt for so long they gathered dust in the recesses of her mind. She decided it was better to finish and fail than to live with the agonizing rumination over how to move forward. And when the journalist watched X and listened to their voice on the tapes again and again, and many more times after that, she realized she couldn't tell X's story for them. The only way to go forward was to let X speak for themselves.
This video is the culmination of a year's work to do just that. Today, X says they're more affirmed in their voice after having gone through the process of making this film. Thankfully, the journalist feels that way, too.