- Director: Gabriel Silverman; Fiona Dawson
- Writer: Jamie Coughlin; Gabriel Silverman
The question is: What do you want from a documentary?
It's a fair question...the best documentaries are those without an [obvious] agenda, those that present the facts, those that [proudly] fly the flag of objectivity, those that present all sides of the case - just like in a courtroom - and allow the audience [jury] to make up their own minds. This kind of documentray is becoming more of a rarity with each passing day!
Sadly, TransMilitary is not one of these deft works of [balanced] reportage. The agenda is as plain as day and the subjectivity simply serves to negate the vast complexities 15,500 trans*personnel are facing on a day-to-day basis. It can't - solely - be about being able and willing to do the job in question...it's so much more complex than that!
The American military is America's biggest employer of trans*people...why? A fact that is [proudly] stated and a question that remains [stubbornly] unanswered. It's even more bamboozling considering trans*people aren't actually allowed to serve in the military...so, there are only two conclusions...either the 'recruitment departments' are not very good at their jobs...or, 15,500 people signed up and after they put their signature on that piece of paper...realised they were trans!
The third conclusion...c'mon, it's not rocket science...everyone is seeking a better/easier life, that's not a crime, it's admirable. Trans*people are flocking to the military for the medical benefits...hey, there's nothing wrong with that...it's a logical, sensible and mature solution to a massive problem...medical benefits in exchange for serving your country. Applause all round!
Filmmakers...you managed to practically ignore the big issue, this actual reality...rather than present sympathies, what about the science?
The cost of Viagra is mentioned as a counter-attack against the [ongoing] costs of transitioning and transition...there's no mention as to why Viagra is prescribed in such huge quantities! Neither is there any mention as to the possible effects of trans*medication.
Remember...medicines carry warnings...do not operate heavy machinery, may cause drowsiness etc. Remember...not all military personnel are deployed to the front-line...as this film - erroneously - leads you to believe. Seriously, it doesn't matter the gender as long as the job gets done...but, both mental and physical fitness have to be scrutinised...regardless of gender. Medical discharges are not uncommon...people are discharged on medical/mental grounds all the time...it becomes a bit of a conundrum when people are actually enlisting because of medical/mental grounds! Discuss...wow, the roar of contempt is deafening!
This 'debate' will rage on until science tells us differently...until then, fillmmakers have a responsibility to state [all] the facts - objectively, science over sympathy. This film preached to the converted [which is a fairly redundant thing to do]...the filmmakers failed to ask the big questions, rejected the science and presented sympathy...it's almost as if these filmmakers are Flat-Earthers!
Within our all-volunteer military, approximately 15,500 transgender people serve their country. These Americans are twice as likely to serve as their non-transgender peers, and yet they have been forced to conceal their gender because military policies ban their service. TransMilitary chronicles the lives of four of those troops as they defend their country's freedom, while ironically fighting for their own. They put their careers and their families' livelihoods on the line by coming out to top brass in the Pentagon as transgender, in hopes of attaining the equal right to serve.