COMMUNITY VOICES | Fifty Shades of Gender begins to go into production


Fifty Shades of Gender is a project that I have been personally coordinating since around April of 2013.

It’s been started as a documentary project focused on telling the stories and experiences of the transgender struggle from the perspectives of transgender individuals directed by a transgender identified person.

The goals of this project include “looking at the fine points of the gender binary and questioning if these gender definitions are too rigid for us to all be living in. We aim to identify other gender identities, the struggles that we go through trying to fit into these binaries or beyond them, and what we can do to break down the boxes of simply male and female”

“I really just want people to be educated about gender and trans* issues and learn how to treat us with respect and human dignity.  Raising awareness is the first step to changing things.” Says gender-queer identified participant, Ollie Schminkey.

There will be discussions throughout the project on how our society currently defines gender from the day that we are born, the role of patriarchy, and the intersection of various other identities that are affected in relation to our assigned gender and personal gender identities.

Another trans* identified participant, Nikolas Martell, says “I think that society has a very narrow conception of gender, and a very difficult time conceiving of anything that falls outside of that. This includes not only trans* identities but gender performance and gender roles.”

This will hopefully be able to be later used as a tool to open up conversations about gender and it’s affect on the transgender community.

There are twelve transgender and genderqueer individuals sharing their stories in the Fifty Shades of Gender project. There are a variety of different identities being represented from a post-op trans woman to those that don’t identify with a gender at all.

Many individuals will use the same word to describe their gender identity however for each individual this word has a separate meaning. Each of these individuals have the opportunity to express what their gender means to them and how they attempt to express it in a society that assigns gender expectations at birth.

Fifty Shades of Gender is working with First Song Productions to put this project into motion. We are scheduled to start shooting during the end of January of 2014 with hopes to move towards the post production process before December of 2014.

Donations to this project can be made at and all community feedback and suggestions are encouraged by messaging Fifty Shades of Gender on the facebook page or e-mailing me at