The more light shed on a subject, the more people can get to understand the circumstances of others. Many of the misunderstandings people are suffering from today come from ignorance. One of the biggest areas people seem to need more understanding in is human sexuality and gender identification. Mary Elizabeth Boylan is working on a new documentary, BEing KINDred, about the struggle of the transgendered and transitioning community which may just help bridge some gaps.
Some have witnessed the journey through friends’ eyes but there are still so many misconceptions in society and there is much progress to be made. Thanks to the strength of public figures like Laverne Cox, there has been more positive attention but when Caitlyn Jenner’s story broke, how many of us were asked if this made us want to make the transition as well? That is proof that there is still a great deal we need to learn as a society. See, it doesn’t really work like that. There is a difference between being gay and being transgendered. Everyone should have the right to be exactly who they are in their hearts and all of us deserve to be understood, accepted, and LOVED. Hopefully, projects like BEing KINDred (Notice the capitalized letters BE KIND) will help to guide us in the right direction.
It is an honor to be able to interview Mary about his project and if you’d like to read more on filmmakers who are working on a similarly themed film called Brother X.
Hopefully, you will be moved to help support Being KINDred and Brother X and these projects open communication as well as our hearts and minds.
Q: Tell us a little about BEing KINDred. What made you want to make this film?
Mary Elizabeth Boylan (MEB): One of my best friends transitioned from Male to Female. During that process, she was slowly and deliberately rejected by her family, including her 3 children. Not only was it heartbreaking to witness, but also the polar opposite of what should have been happening. She was trying to be true and honest with herself, in order to be her best self, largely for them. Sadly hers is not an uncommon story. I wanted to do something to educate and inspire families to support their loved ones in transition.
Q: Can you share some of the statistics that also appear on your page?
MEB: The suicide rates are the most astounding of all the statistics of the Transgender population. 41% attempt suicide in their lifetime, and over half of those people state their reasons for doing so were due to being rejected by their families.
Q: What are the main messages you hope to get across to all people through this film?
MEB: Tolerance. Love. Understanding. These are basic human values. The human race is one family. As our culture becomes progressively more globalized, I feel like we are trying on some level to move toward an understanding of this, which starts at home. We need to teach love, acceptance and kindness above all else.
Q: Where can we find out more about BEing KINDred and how can we all get involved to make sure this film is made?
Our Indiegogo campaign is accepting donations of any amount, all of it going to the production of the film.
Q: What is the most rewarding part about making films such as this?
MEB: I don’t know if it feels rewarding yet as so much as it’s just something I want to do. I know I can do it, and I know it has to be done. So here we are. But most certainly it will feel rewarding if I can save lives in making this film.
One thing that has been fantastic about this film is the new friends I’ve made along the way, especially that of my cousin, Jennifer Finney Boylan. We didn’t know we were distant cousins until we were connected by another Boylan family member during my initial shooting last October. I’m so honored to get to know to someone who not only has her own incredible story, but is such an activist for her community.
Q: You are also an amazing actress. How does it feel to wear the director and producer hats?
MEB: Awe thank you sweetheart!☺I don’t know if I can even answer that, considering how new I am to this side of the camera. Getting Lemons was my first time writing and producing, and now BEing KINDred is my first time directing. I can say though that I’m honored to be working with everyone thus far on this project, and couldn’t do it without them! I can’t wait to see where we are headed!
Q: Do you prefer one of the three more than the others?
MEB: I enjoy being creative and have to all the time. Performing is definitely my first love, but I had no idea I would ever come to appreciate the rest has much as I do.
Q: You always pick interesting and important projects like Getting Lemons and BEing KINDred. Do you feel filmmakers have a responsibility to tell these stories?
MEB: I can’t really speak for anyone else, and again, I’m so new to all of this, but I can say that I definitely felt a responsibility and a desire to do something to help.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Who was it from?
MEB: I’ve had a lot of great teachers and people who helped me along the way. One of my Grandmas once told me “how you do anything is how you’ll do everything.” I try to remember that and give 100% consistently in my work and in caring for my loved ones. And I’m a clean freak so apparently I do that for my house too!☺
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever given? Are you good at taking your own advice?
MEB: Yikes, I don’t know but I definitely know that I’m horrible at taking my own advice! Trying to work on that for sure!
Q: What’s one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?
MEB: I’d say my work is everything to me, and guns can go away forever.
Q: What else are you currently working on and what’s up next for Mary Elizabeth Boylan?
MEB: I’m also Co-writing a TV pilot with the extremely talented writer/actor David Tillman (who Co-wrote the amazing award-winning film I have been lucky enough to be in, Love Is All You Need?). But right now, I’m concentrating as much as possible on fundraising for BEing KINDred. I’ve got so many stories to tell already, and more we need to shoot! This project means the world to me, to the lovely souls we have interviewed, and to the folks whose stories we still need to tell!