Transkids – Hear Our Voices

Written by Shlomit Ovadia of JCC Denver

Coming to JCC Denver June 13 at 6:30 pm is the showing of Transkids, an Israeli documentary that follows the complex lives of four teenagers navigating the emotional landscape and physical challenges of transitioning. This intimate film not only illustrates the nuances of Israeli society, but it also challenges us to redefine our understanding of family, love, and identity.  

This documentary viewing is brought to you by Moving To Our Center (MTOC), a nonprofit organization that facilitates intentional education, dialogue, and experiences for the Jewish community and beyond, in collaboration with JCC Denver– along with the Mizel Arts and Culture Center.

With Pride just being one month away, Transkids is an excellent opportunity for people to glimpse life through the lens of an underrepresented minority within our community. Register here.

Israeli Director and Producer Hilla Medalia says she was inspired to create Transkids after graduating with a master’s in film from Southern Illinois University. When she moved to New York to start her career, Hilla recalls interacting with transgender children for the first time, including celebrity teen transgender activist, Jazz Jennings. 

“I never saw anything like it in Israel at the time, but I was sure there were, so I started researching more into it.” Yet, between meeting with doctors, psychologists, and other field experts, Hilla was finding it quite difficult to interview any children.  

“We basically were fighting for a way to get to kids and families,” she explains. 

It wasn’t until Hilla and co-Producer, Ronny Medinger met Oshri (one of the film’s featured children) that doors began opening. “A lot of these families are connected to each other through supportive organizations and know each other. So, from there it was much easier.”  

Transkids was the first content about transgender children to be aired in Israel and was initially released as a five-part series. The documentary was met with praise and even used by families to explain their deeply sensitive journeys to others.  

“One Israeli family living in the UK had not visited Israel since their child transitioned, but after the series came out, they said it was a window for them to share with their family and come back to visit after all those years,” Hilla says. 

When viewed by a larger audience, Hilla wants people to understand “that no child or person wakes up one the morning and decides to be transgender, which is important to understand as well as all the challenges and difficulties that accompany that.” 

Hilla says that ultimately, Transkids is about acceptance and love. “We can all learn from the families in this film how to accept and love your children unconditionally because at the end of the day, that’s all they really need.” 

The film not only features an array of families including observant Jews, but it also follows the parent’s journeys. 

“It’s important to show the parent’s perspective when it comes to these kids, because a lot of the decisions require parents to be involved, but also without their support, love, and acceptance, none of this would be possible.” 

Register here to join us on June 13 for the showing of Transkids in the Phillips Social Hall.  

Keep your eyes peeled for other work by Hilla. Her film, Mourning in Lod, which was featured during JCC Denver’s Jewish Film Festival this past winter, is being released on Paramount Plus May 17 in the United States.