Growing Up Transgender
Assigned the designation of female at birth, Gabe knew from an early age that he was a boy. In this touching story, Gabe and Chris Lopez recollect the moment that Gabe discovered he was transgender and his struggle to tell his mother, Chris, that he was not the daughter that she thought he was. Ultimately, Gabe and Chris's story is one of love, self-identity, tolerance, and bravery.
In the wake of the election of Donald Trump and the resulting fear running rampant through the LGBTQ community, this story is especially vital. During the next four years, the LGBTQ community and their supporters will need to dig deep and access all of their collective strength, their will, their love and their bravery to demand that our nation live up to its promise to protect "the huddled masses yearning to breathe free." This story should serve as inspiration to anyone seeking to take up this struggle.
Using Jason Ohler's Digital Storytelling Assessment Traits, I chose to critique this story using the following criteria: Story, Originality / Voice / Creativity, and Economy.
I find this story relevant and necessary. Instead of casting a wide net, Gabe and Chris choose to focus on a couple of specific experiences, particularly a summer that Gabe spent at an outdoors camp, to illustrate the story's main theme of tolerance and love. I think they succeed admirably.
Originality / Voice / Creativity
Though both originality and creativity are present in this digital story, I find its voice to be its strongest characteristic. The love that Gabe and Chris feel for each other is quite evident. You can hear it in the tone of their speech. The story's director, Richard O'Connor, wisely chooses not to embellish much on the dialogue. He simply lets Gabe and Chris tell their story which is powerful enough to keep this viewer captivated.
This story is short (two minutes and thirty four seconds) and to the point, which I find noteworthy. As I have stated in previous posts, I respect storytellers that can communicate complex themes with brevity. Again, O'Connor realizes that this particular story requires nothing more than Gabe and Chris's conversation to communicate its themes. The visual medium chosen, animation, lends the story a light touch that contrasts nicely with the story's serious subject matter. The animation itself is quite minimalistic, which pairs well with the seemingly simple story being told.
Right now, members of the LGBTQ community are concerned that their rights could be severely impinged upon under a Donald Trump presidency. I would hope that any persons intolerant of transgender individuals could at least empathize with Gabe. I also hope that this story serves as a reminder that love and acceptance are not just what we all desire, but are, in fact, inalienable rights that should not be denied anyone.
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I am a Special Education teacher currently pursuing his Master of Arts in Information & Learning Technologies (Option: K-12) at CU Denver. I work at Boulder High School in Boulder, CO. Here you will find my thoughts on education.