Call Me Malcolm
(2005, USA, English, 90 min)
Reviewed by Bruce Kogan
For most of his life Malcolm was not called Malcolm. He was raised in a rural area as Miriam for most of his life, but on reaching puberty he knew there was something not quite right about his persona.
As transgendered people do he underwent an agonizing reappraisal of the very essence of who he was. But it was more than deciding he had the outer coating of the wrong sex. Malcolm felt a need to show that Christianity can indeed apply to transgender people. After the surgical transformation he entered the seminary to become a minister in the United Church of Christ.
In fact it is that church that produced this heartfelt film. After seeing Brokeback Mountain and dealing with the real life case of Matthew Shepard, it was interesting to see Malcolm apparently accepted by a whole lot of people. The friends he had as Miriam stayed his friends once they got used to the idea. His family needed a bit of help, but having a gay brother certainly helped there too.
Not to say there wasn't any negativity shown. Malcolm spent some time in the film commiserating with the mother of Fred Martinez, a trangendered teen who was murdered. I'm sure young Mr. Martinez could have used some spiritual comfort from Reverend Malcolm had he the time in his short life.
It was heartwarming to see this film, to see a Christian denomination take a positive stand against homophobia and transphobia. Gay/Lesbian/ Bisexual/Transgendered people have as much hunger for spirituality as the rest of the population. It's easy to forget because they have the money and they scream the loudest, but Christianity is indeed more than Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, or John Hagee.
This documentary should be given the widest possible screening. And I hope Reverend Malcolm comes to my town and preaches a real good sermon. I might even go to church.