‘Family in Transition,’ New Doc: Israeli Father Comes Out As Trans

Family in Transition is a documentary directed by Ofir Trainin which follows a family in Nahariya, a small traditional town in Israel, whose lives change completely after their father finally decides to tell his family that she’s a transgender woman.

“My main goal in making this film is to explore the life of this unique family, one that can teach us how to accept the differences in one another. They are a family that breaks social conventions, but also one that re-expands the limits of acceptance and love. I think that people of  the faith can align with the overall message of tolerance and loving your neighbor.” — Ofir Tranin

The film will be screen in San Francisco on Sunday, February 17 • 2:00pm • Roxie Theater, as a part of Winterfest 2019.

We bring you an interview with director Ofir Trainin about the film and the issues, conducted by Queerty.

Ofir Trainin

So how did you learn about Amit and her transition?

At the time, I had done a few short films about parents of LGBTQ children, and this story just sort of fell into my lap. When I first heard about the Tsuk family, it was just at the beginning of the transition, so I thought their story would make a very interesting film. I called Galit and told her about my experience with the LGBTQ community and that my oldest brother came out of the closet 20 years ago. I wanted the Tsuk family to understand my motivation to make an important film that advocates the acceptance of everyone.

How long were you with the family?

In total, I spent about 3 years with the Tsuk family. I started filming them about 6 months after their process began. By the time I arrived, there was already a level of acceptance by the children and they called Amit mom. Before that time though, the children had refused to refer to Amit as a female and Yardan, her son, even packed a suitcase and wanted to run away from the house.

Galit (left) and Amir

Israel has something of an image in the US of being very welcoming to LGBTQ people, especially by the standards of the region. Yet the film has examples of homophobia. In general, what’s the Israeli attitude toward the community?

From my previous work, I was familiar with transgender issues and aware that, apart from Tel Aviv, life for a transgender person in conservative Israel can be very difficult and can lead to a lot of negative reactions.  Unfortunately, it is only getting worse, as Israel is becoming more and more conservative, nationalist and a religious society.

One thing the film makes clear is the struggle of certain traditional elements of Judaism to cope with the modern world and evolving concepts like gender. Since Judaism plays such an important role in Israeli society, how do you think the faith needs to adapt to include transgender people?

My main goal in making this film is to explore the life of this unique family, one that can teach us how to accept the differences in one another. They are a family that breaks social conventions, but also one that re-expands the limits of acceptance and love. I think that people of  the faith can align with the overall message of tolerance and loving your neighbor.

Read complete interview in Queerty.