Leading as much as Transgender Awareness Week, Black Public Media (BPM) has released “I Am Who I Say I Am,” a docuseries capturing feel-good stories about gender affirmation. Sophia Clark (“First Person PBS”) directs the three-part short film series that’s now available on BPM’s YouTube channel and social media pages.
A part of BPM’s BE HEARD! social media campaign, “I Am Who I Say I Am” follows three different subjects as they discuss the importance of honoring preferred pronouns and of engaging in open, compassionate dialogue about gender.
“‘I Am Who I Say I Am’ goals to start the strategy of changing hearts by first changing our habits, based on the basic belief that almost all people need to embrace and understand others, their differences and their potential to contribute to the greater good,” Clark explained in a press release.. They added that “these movies are for anyone striving to open their mind beyond the binary.”
“How one can Learn Someone’s Pronouns” features Janelle “Jei” Lawrence, a multidisciplinary artist and educator. Within the short, Lawrence discusses the necessity to use gender-affirming pronouns in an expert setting: “Even in the event you’re fascinated by me, [I want you] to be fascinated by me with the suitable pronouns,” they explain in a trailer for the docuseries.
“Discussing Gender Identity with Family” follows mother-son duo Sharon Kidd-Fryer and Brit Fryer as they explore familial acceptance and support for various gender identities.
“Why Your Patient’s Pronouns are Vital” sees pediatric dentist Dr. Maya Thompson explaining why gender is part of holistic healthcare.
The project goals to teach audiences in regards to the respectful use of pronouns, especially as transgender folks proceed to sustain “discrimination, demagoguery and violence, with Black transgender people bearing the brunt of it,” the press release details. Citing the Pew Research Center, the discharge notes that at 26 percent, Black transgender unemployment is double that of other trans folks and 4 times that of the final population.
“With Black transgender and non-binary people facing marginalization at alarming rates, it’s crucial that we view these issues through a Black lens,” said BPM Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz. She added that the docuseries goals to “kickstart conversations that may result in all members of our community being afforded their full humanity, starting with gender affirmation.”
Also a producer, Clark has credits on digital series “These Thems,” a digital series that follows 4 Recent Yorkers of varied sexual orientations and gender identities. It tackles series tackles themes of queerness, gender nonconformity, coming out, and acceptance through a comedic lens.
Founded in 1979 because the National Black Programming Consortium, BPM “supports the event of visionary content creators and distributes stories in regards to the global Black experience to encourage a more equitable and inclusive future” by addressing “the needs of unserved and underserved audiences,” per its website. “BPM continues to deal with historical, contemporary, and systemic challenges that traditionally impede the event and distribution of Black stories.”