When it comes to international social issues like the visibility, acceptance, and physical health care of the LGBTQ+ community — and in particular, transgender individuals — it's a tricky, and often difficult, topic. Despite the ongoing issues in the United States, there's no question that there are other parts of the world that are distinctly and significantly less tolerant of transgender individuals. Shedding light on the issue is a new documentary called Family In Transition, which tells the powerful story of a transgender woman's journey through navigating gender reassignment in Israel.
Filmmaker Ofir Trainin follows the story of the Tsuk family, who are from Nahariya, Israel, through the years following their father's realization that he is, in fact, transgender. After transitioning socially, Amit seeks gender reassignment surgery, and discovers that the care she needs, as well as the social tolerance she craves, are still out of reach.
In an exclusive clip shared with Romper, entitled "Support," the documentary follows not only the medical process of what it takes to transition, but also how Amit's wife, Galit, is coping through this journey. "[Galit] takes time to digest things. She realizes that with the change Amit is about to undergo, she has to make a decision — whether to stay or to leave. Galit decides to give it a chance," according to the documentary's description.
In the sneak peek shared with Romper, Galit expresses her frustrations that she feels Amit is not recognizing her support following surgery. "Look beyond your pain, look around you, tell yourself, 'my wife is here with me,' don't take it for granted," Galit tells the camera.
The film's creator, Trainin, who is also known for his 2014 film ApolloniA, told HuffPost that he believes this documentary "showcases a unique family who can teach us how to accept the differences in all of us... [they] break social conventions and help change what we thought we knew about gender, parity, parenthood and transgender issues."
Trainin continued to comment not only on what he learned from following the family for so long, but also what he learned about the sociopolitical state of the country. “Israel, unfortunately, is becoming less tolerant and more nationalist and religious,” Trainin told HuffPost in the same interview. “Apart from Tel Aviv, it’s difficult to find other cities where you can live [openly] as a transgender person.” However, he hopes that the film will inspire others to “accept and respect each person as they are, without judgment and prejudice.”
Despite global progress in understanding and being more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, there have been a number of events in recent years that have been concerning for Israel in particular.
In July of this year, for instance, an Israel insurance company deemed transgenderism a "mental disorder," as Haaretz reported. Despite patient protests, the news outlet reported that the company issued a response in which they explained that their policies include a clause that excludes coverage for "mental disorders and/or mental illnesses and/or mental treatments and/or psychiatric treatments," and they will continue to see being transgender as falling under that umbrella.
In September, according to the Times of Israel, another Israeli transgender woman was denied access into Egypt because her passport read "male."
However, it's not all bleak. As Tablet reported in July, Tel Aviv issued an "unprecedented" initiative in which they would begin working to help transgender individuals find employment. A statement issued by civil rights group associated with the effort read: “The principle of diversity derives from an aspiration to an organizational culture that accepts, respects, and cherishes, both personally and professionally, people who come from different backgrounds and who embody these differences.”
The world is certainly at an interesting juncture when it comes to visibility, acceptability and progress, and seeing one family's personal story of transition isn't just inspiring, it's crucial and informative.
The film will premiere in Los Angeles on Nov. 16 and in New York on Nov. 23.