Short Film Showcase: Growing Up Transgender and Mormon

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Eri Hayward was born as a boy in Utah and raised in the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Filmmaker Torben Bernhard shot this poignant short, Transmormon, just before Eri flew to Thailand for sexual reassignment surgery. In the piece, she and her family talk about the long and often painful journey it took to recognize and embrace her transgender identity and the role their faith played along the way. “Being LDS was our life,” she says. “It’s one of the reasons I didn’t find out about what being trans was until I was an adult.” I spoke with Torben and Eri about the making of the film.

When did you first hear of Eri’s story?

Torben: I first heard about Eri through a collaboration with KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. They suggested I read a blog interview that had been conducted with her where she discussed her Mormon upbringing, evolving faith, and impending sex-reassignment surgery. When we found out that she would be leaving to Bangkok in a matter of days, we reached out to the Hayward family and were filming with them within the week.

How long did you shoot with her and her family?

Torben: Altogether, we filmed for under a week. However, the editing took roughly six months, partially because our production team all had day jobs and we created the project from our own finances.

Can you share any particularly moving or memorable feedback after the film was released?

Eri: After the video went out there was [a] huge outpouring of support. Messages, emails, Facebook friends. It was a really great experience for myself, my family, and my boyfriend. He was probably the most skeptical of it all, but once the love and support started pouring in he was pleasantly surprised. I —> Read More