Time magazine has proclaimed that America is at a “Transgender Tipping Point,” spotlighted by Bruce Jenner’s recent and very public transition into her new gender identity as Caitlin. But regardless of whether you are rich and famous, it is rarely easy to come out; nor are people’s reactions predictable.
Over twelve years ago, filmmaker Diana Newton’s former brother, Christopher, came out to her as transgender. Suddenly she had a sister, Christine. But would it prove to be a tipping point or a breaking point for their family? Just how strong or fragile would their family ties prove to be?
With these questions in mind, Newton decided then to document her family’s journey of shock and loss, conflict and adaptation to Christine’s transition over time. The resulting story is The Ties That Bind, an hour-long documentary film that reveals our inability to get the pronouns right any more; of being afraid—not only of the truth about Christine, but about ourselves, our beliefs and biases. It is also a revelation about how our family members’ responses to her change also proved surprising, in the best and worst ways.