Diagnosing Difference was directed by filmmaker Annalise Ophelian, a San Francisco-based human sexuality educator and trans ally with a doctorate in clinical psychology. The film is a feature-length length (64 min) documentary featuring interviews with 13 diverse scholars, activists, and artists who identify on the trans spectrum (transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, and gender variant) about the impact and implications of the Gender Identity Disorder (GID) on their lives and communities.
Historically, non-trans medical and mental health care professionals have positioned themselves as the “experts” on transgender experience, creating standards, guidelines, and diagnoses that inform legalpolicies and mediate every aspect of life. Diagnosing Difference shifts the focus to explore the many complexities of the diagnosis from the perspectives of those it affects most directly and personally, including access to medical care, legal ramifications, social stigma, implications for psychotherapeutic care, treatment trauma, and differences in experience based on factors like race, class, gender orientation, and generation.
Diagnosing Difference humanizes the debate around the GID diagnosis by valuing personal experience as a vital (and often ignored) form of expertise. Rather than trying to create an exhaustive examination of the diagnosis or offer claims of universal representation, Diagnosing Difference is purposefully personal, seeking to expand the experience of the audience,provoke thought, and create as many questions as it answers. Using the diagnosis as a departure point, the participants debunk myths and misconceptions about transgender identities, challenge stereotypical genderexpectations, and offer educative insight into the terms and language used to describe transgender lives. This groundbreaking film is the first to explore the impact of the GID diagnosis on people who identify on the trans spectrum in their own words and images.
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