Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Trans Celebration Shabbat (WOW)

As a filmmaker I get really nervous before showings and that is ok, because usually there are a smattering of people in the crowd. On Friday the 1st of June at the Trans Celebration Shabbat, I had a double dose of the nerves because I was not only showing my film, Clocked: An Oral History, I was also one of the producers of the weekend and my mother was attending from Klamath Falls, OR. I wanted everything to go well for the entire weekend, so much that I came by the synagogue that afternoon to set up the projector and sound equipment about 6 hours before showtime. I readied myself for the 20 people that I expected to show up at the film screening and was surprised to find that more people than seats arrived. The room was filled to capacity and people were spilling out into the hallways, the adjoining classrooms and the stairwell.

The energy was palpable and I felt as if everything would go well for the entire weekend if my little film could drag this many people to the shul on a Friday evening, free food or not. Upon looking around the room for the faces I knew, there were a few, and many I hadn't seen in years. Yet, the majority of those crowding into the oneg room were strangers to me. People sat on the floor, the extra folding chairs, they also stood and peered around the corner while some just closed their eyes and listened to the dialog.

The Trans Celebration Shabbat brought people of every religion, and knowledge of the trans-communities, out of the woodwork to be part of something celebratory and wonderful. There is a line in my film delivered by Cecilia Chung, "In the last 40 years, we spent many years mourning and grieving what we did didn't have or what we've lost, mourning and grieving how we survived a very violent time in our community history; but because of all the progress we make, I think we will see more people feel empowered to talk about what leadership means; what diversity means; what celebrating themselves means. And gender and sexualities are meant to be celebrated, not to be grieved." I think that this is important, as transpeople we need to celebrate ourselves, our gender, our sexuality and our lives in community with others. It is when we touch others hearts and minds that we are blessed in return.