Real Boy | Collection
This collection features resources from the moving documentary Real Boy. As 19-year-old Bennett navigates early sobriety, late adolescence, and the evolution of his gender identity, his mother Suzy makes her own transformation from dismay to understanding of her trans son. Along the way, both mother and son find support in their own communities, reminding us that families are not only given, but chosen.
This guide is designed for facilitators of Real Boy screening and engagement events. It includes background information, tips for facilitating discussion, questions for discussion and reflection, additional activities that can be adapted for a variety of settings and participants, and resources for learning more about gender identity and community resources.
A moving and intimate story of a family in transition, Real Boy follows the journey of trans teen Bennett as he navigates adolescence, sobriety, and the physical and emotional ramifications of his changing gender identity. Through the process, his mother Suzy makes her own transformation — travelling a difficult road toward understanding that the daughter she raised as Rachael is now her son Bennett.
In this excerpt from the Independent Lens film Real Boy, Bennett enters the hospital for chest reconstruction surgery and is both touched and surprised that his mom Suzy came to be with him for support, despite her own reservations. She then gets supportive advice from another mom whose son is also transitioning, and who reassures Suzy. “We don’t have to understand it completely but we have to be there, love them and support them,” she tells Suzy. “There’s so many other people in the world who want to bring them down; we have to make sure we’re not those people.”
In this excerpt from the Independent Lens film Real Boy, trans teenager Bennett talks to friend Joe Stevens, a trans folk singer, about trying to grow a beard and how to groom it when it finally does come. Bennett may just have “one chin hair at the moment” but Joe does give him a nifty new haircut as they talk about how they had “girls’ haircuts” forced on them as kids.