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She scissored the curls away, and toms, grow easily sentimental over their haircuts, but I remembered this sensation very vividly- it was not like she was cutting hair, it was as if I had a pair of wings beneath my shoulder- blades, that the flesh had all grown over, and she was slicing free…

This is the quote that ran through my head today as I watched the inspirational short independent film “Boy,” made by filmmaker Lucas Helth Postma, who is only 16 years old.

This short film depicts a troubled young teenager Emilie, who feels that she is a boy trapped in a girl’s body. Her mother is oblivious and arguably in denial about her daughter’s frame of mind. Her mother’s tact towards her daughter is very questionable.

Should I be worried?… I get worried when you do such weird things! It scares me, Emilie! What is wrong with you?

Emilie’s mother
boy_shortfilm_cut_hairA lot of thoughts arise when watching this film. Is sex a different thing to gender? What influences gender? Culture, class, and race? But behaviour, activities and attributes seen as appropriate in one society may be seen completely differently in another…This film illustrates that sex is a matter of body and gender is a matter of mind. As well as portraying frustrating setbacks transsexual people encounter.

It’s just a confusing phase some teenagers go through.

However, Psychiatrists and Psychologists describe the condition (which they have named “gender dysphoria”) as “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/ expressed gender and assigned gender” which leads to emotional distress. This theme is narrated perfectly throughout the film.

What do you think people did right and people did wrong when interacting with Emilie? I personally favoured Emilie’s brother Simon’s response. He was supportive of Emilie throughout but in a way that encouraged Emilie not to become estranged with her mother. However, it was also motivating when guest Elise warned Emilie’s mother that is annoying when mother’s try to make things look perfect.

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There are a lot of powerful messages and this film has hopefully made the world a better and more educated place. I recommend you watch it (it is only 16 minutes long!). I think amateur and aspiring film makers can learn a lot from it also. I know I did.

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