Trans Youth on Record

A new documentary aims to tell the stories of trans and non binary cumbria

I guess what I’m getting at is that, what you’re filming and creating is chaotic, and a chaotic process, you don’t really know exactly what you’re going to do next, right?

A leading question asked by me opened the creators of a queer documentary up to reflect on their own minds and practices. I knew what this meant to the group making this film, three queer Cumbrians with something to say. The group is made up of Sophie Broadgate – a film maker with a catalogue of creations to her name going into this project; CJ Pitcher, a photographer in Carlisle and; Emily Ford, who runs Raw Arts and is a youth worker in the city. Art is dictated often by its subject, as much as artists see themselves in what they create it’s not always up to them. This is often the case for film where mistakes, obstacles and changes at the last minute are something you roll with. It seems the trio are more than ready to absorb the impact as they go, as a project led by the creativity aroused by the unknown is underway. Where art is chaos, talent could be interpreted as being measured by how deftly that is approached; it’s like they’re making it their muse, it’s symbiotic. Barebones, it’s a series of interviews with queer young people who, on selection, may be followed up on a year or so from now.

Interviewees, of which I formed a part of, were asked about themselves and the world they live in. Stories of despair and anger were told tenfold, it’s growing rumblings of youth dissident to their times; as the world accelerates the time for action ever eludes them. Sophie comments:

“Because the documentary is led by young people, you know, it’s a bit up and down, things might change, but the project’s quite flexible. “It’s just about being around and capturing what they tell us, being a fly on the wall to things,” “I expected it to be dark but hearing the same things again and again highlights it.”

The filmmakers are queer so the product feels authentic, but being behind the lens, their own thoughts on our world are too changing along with it.

“I think you can be overly gaze-y, when you’re not part of the group you’re putting your own experience onto them, you’re not understanding what’s going on.” “The only thing is I’m not trans so I’m very cautious in that the trans people involved are informing us on what that’s like and what we want to say about it.” “I don’t want to come in with preconceived ideas and putting that on the project “We’re just taking things as they are.”

This is something of great importance to all involved, as authentic queer stories are four leaf clovers in a field of sandspurs that weren’t touched by Russel T. Davies.CJ was especially excited to join this team.

“The main excitement for me was that growing up in Leicestershire in a little village, having all these questions, not having a support network. To be involved in something that can facilitate a support network gives them a lifeline I never had, to be able to teach people art, and how that can be useful, my inner child is very happy with the support I’m giving others. I’m trying to mirror that in there.”

I think it must be a cathartic project for them to work for their own benefit as much as they are for the people they’re documenting.

Speaking to the group on day three, it’s not evident where this journey in filmmaking will take them. In a thrilling time and state the art comes through via learning and adapting to the free radicals through the lens. Much as we learn and adapt to our surroundings they grow ever unpredictable and fierce. It is exciting to imagine how this important piece of documentary film making will evolve.

“Being queer when I was younger there was no visibility, and you were less under attack in a way because of that, but speaking to every single person has had something interesting to say, so it’ll be a really good combination, hopefully it’ll be a big statement to say we’re here and we’re queer.” Sophie concluded.

To take part in the documentary contact Pride in North Cumbria via our Directory page!

Words Seph Santiago

Image Sophie Broadgate