The short film “Transmormon” is the story of Eri Hayward. Born into a Mormon family and assigned male at birth, Eri struggled with her gender identity as early as five years old.
“When I was explained to myself that I was a boy, it was because God had made me that way, which didn’t make a really great relationship, as a five year old, between me and God.”
In many ways, this is what “Transmormon” is really about. Eri and her family describe her struggles growing up in a religious community in Utah where her search for identity included a time believing she was a gay man, and her pain and despair led her to try to cut off her own penis. Her family’s love eventually led to their acceptance of her as female and they supported her trip to Thailand for a sex-change operation. But though her family embraces her as a woman, her religion does not.
According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Handbook, as a transgender person, Eri cannot get married in the temple or raise children in the faith. Because Eri sought to align her birth-assigned sex and her internal sense of gender identity, she has been marginalized. And yet, her belief in God, so problematic when she was five, has been strengthened even as her religious community has closed to her. This hasn’t caused her to become bitter, though, although she is wistful.
“It’s hurtful to someone who wants to have a relationship with someone but also have a relationship with God and the Church. But, my personal opinion is while it might be nice of them to approach things in a way that is a little more kind, it is their church. You can go find another one. … I looked at my life and I looked at the things that were important to me and I found a way to have family in my life and have a lot of the cultural aspects of my LDS upbringing and still find a way to be happy.” (Source)
“Transmormon” takes a sincere look at gender and belief, God and acceptance, family and faith.