fbpx
TRANSCEND

TRANSCEND: SIR LEX KENNEDY

Gracie speaks with filmmaker Sir Lex Kennedy about living his life as a trans man.

the following is a transcript of Gracie’s conversation with filmmaker Sir Lex Kennedy.

GRACIE

He’s a Jack of all trades, next. Welcome back. Today, my guest is an artist and activist breaking out of society boxes, defining and designing himself into the creator that he is today. Sir Lex Kennedy is a director and storyteller who loves film, music, and is all about that vegan life. He has studied film at Spelman, as well as City College here in Los Angeles, striving to shift the center of popular culture to marginalized stories where they rightfully belong. Please welcome Sir Lex Kennedy.

SIR LEX

Thank you for that amazing intro, Gracie. It’s a pleasure to be here.

GRACIE

Thank you so much for joining us. I’m so happy and I’m so grateful that you are here, because you are actually the first trans man that has been a guest on Transcend. So welcome my brother and king. Thank you for joining us.

SIR LEX

Thank you. It’s an honor.

GRACIE

Now, aside from my journey and other trans women that I have spoken with, I know and I share a bit of the understanding of that moment in our early childhood, knowing that there was something different about us. From your perspective as a trans man, when and what was that moment like for you?

SIR LEX

When I think about my journey as a trans masculine person, the moment that really shifted for me as a young person was probably like my fifth birthday. I really wanted to have an Easy Bake Oven and I really wanted to get into my cooking juj, because I spent most of my time in the kitchen with my grandmother. And I remember getting that Easy Bake Oven and then seeing this other Easy Bake Oven type of thing come out, but it was more marketed towards boys. It was like, you can make slime and you could make other like Gak type type of toys, and I was like, “Ooh, I want that too.” And I remember my mom being like, “No, you can’t have that.” And I was just like, “Well, why?” And she was like, “Well, because it’s just for boys.” And she was like, “Your brother can have it, but you can’t have it.” And I was just like, “But I’m a boy.” And I remember her being like, “No, you’re not a boy, and you’re not gonna get this toy.” And I remember being really heartbroken about it and praying that night, ’cause I came from a Christian household, praying to God that I was like, dear God, please make me a boy. When I wake up, I want to be a boy. And I’d wake up the next morning and I was still the little girl that my mom was socializing me as. And I remember distinctively that prayer, praying that prayer, and that being the first time I prayed that prayer, but that not being the last time I prayed that prayer. And it was a prayer that I would say every night before going to sleep.

GRACIE

Wow. That just took me aback for a moment. And as you shared, like I said, with trans women, we can all recall that moment of playing with dolls and playing with our sister’s dolls and being told that we can’t. So it was very, very interesting to hear your perspective. And also when you speak about your faith and when you speak about praying and Christianity, we all know how religion in upbringing plays a part in us that makes us feel ashamed, no matter who we are. What effect has that had on you growing up?

SIR LEX

Coming from a Christian household, that was a very COGIC, so Church of God in Christ household, a very strict, gender binary household, it really forced me to be in the closet for most of my young adolescent experience. I had to not express myself in an outwardly masculine way, because every time that I tried or I attempted to, I was always reminded by my mother that I wasn’t following her rules or I wasn’t being obedient as a child, according to the Word. And it was something that always just stuck with me. So that shame and guilt was always there, and it was always there and present because of my parents’, particularly my single mother’s, COGIC beliefs. I hope I answered that question.

GRACIE

You did. And I mean, you answered it from your perspective and from your knowing, and that’s the thing. And that’s why I said, I feel like we all have this understanding of religion in our upbringing, no matter if you’re a trans man, if you’re a trans woman, or if you’re a straight man or a straight woman. We all know how we’ve been made to feel wrong for us wanting to be different from what the Bible, what the book, what the Word has told us. So you answered it perfectly. Now here you are living your truth to the fullest, even sharing your journey of transitioning on your social media. How has that been for you, and what has the feedback been from your following?

SIR LEX

That has been probably my saving grace, when we’re talking about religion. Grace has definitely kept me. When I think about my grandmother always saying, as I was child in the kitchen with her, she would always say “Grace is gonna keep me. Grace is going to keep me and allow me to stay here.” It’s been the grace of my community and my followers who have been just uplifting me, sharing my story, commenting, sharing their stories with me because I’ve shared my story. I can’t tell you how many folks I have met from just talking about, most recently, my top surgery and sharing that journey. I’ve had countless trans masculine folks reach out to me and just talk about how I’ve inspired them, or just ask questions about my journey to help them with their journey. It’s really been grace that’s kept me, and that grace has definitely come from the audience that I’ve helped to create on social media.

GRACIE

I love how you said that. And to me transitioning my year, also here, like you, here in LA is not an easy thing to do, working in the business to stop from who you used to be to becoming who you are now, and doing it in front of your following. It is a very brave, courageous and graceful act. What are some of the misconceptions and stereotypes that you feel that you hear about trans men?

SIR LEX

Some stereotypes that I encounter on a daily basis when I’m trying to navigate the medical industrial complex, in terms of getting my HRT, making appointments to see my doctor, scheduling pap smears, is that trans men don’t need to see a gynecologist. That’s a misconception that I’ve come up against a lot. Or that I don’t sound like, because I haven’t legally changed my name, I don’t sound like what my name appears. So when I call and I get on the phone and I have a more masculine voice, and they’re like, well, this can’t be you. I’m being accused of essentially impersonating myself. So just this assumption that men don’t need to go to the gynecologist, that men don’t need access to medical needs that also cis women might need, right? Just this assumption around trans men not needing access to an OBGYN or a gynecologist, this is a misconception that I’m really facing a lot more recently and a lot more often that I feel like definitely needs to shift and change so that we can live more healthier and happier lives.

GRACIE

I’m so grateful. And as someone who always call, when I get on that phone, and they’re like, “Sir, sir.” And I’m like “It’s ma’am.” So I know how triggering that can be, so thank you again. Being an activist artist with a passion for storytelling, directing multiple shorts that have made it to many festivals, winning many awards, do you feel that the opportunities are opening up more for trans men the same way that they are for trans women?

SIR LEX

It’s not, right? I don’t believe that the opportunities are opening as much, because I feel like, again, folks, and I didn’t think I said this initially, but I think that folks don’t believe that trans men are like real people. I feel like they believe that because they don’t see a lot of trans man or any trans men in their communities or come into contact with trans men that we just don’t exist. So if those folks don’t exist, it’s easy not to provide an opportunity for them. And I think that also it’s a situation by which a lot of trans men are living more stealth lives because of safety and security, and that sometimes prevents folks from really knowing the T. But I understand why folks would live a stealth life. I’m not trying to shame anybody, but I do feel like it’s a situation by which we’re seen as, oh, we don’t exist. And then we also aren’t as out and public about our transness in the ways that I feel like trans women are. But I do feel like it’s shifting. I’ve seen recently some different initiatives that have been started by Sundance and other organizations that are starting to specifically seek out trans men to have their stories be uplifted and have their stories be funded and told. But currently, do I feel like we are? No.

GRACIE

Listen, I’m a trans woman, and I don’t feel that trans men are treated equally and fairly as trans women are. So when you said honestly, let’s speak honestly, because I do not. I feel like that there’s a difference, and I feel as though that that needs to change as well. Even though we’re shifting and we are moving forward, I feel like that needs to move forward a little bit more as well. You’re currently fundraising to produce your next short, “Retros.” Can you share with us a little bit of what it’s about?

SIR LEX

Yes. So I’m currently producing “Retros,” a short that’s specifically casting trans actors, trans actors in the lead roles, and then trans folks behind the camera. It’s been a blessing to have worked on a film called “Disclosure,” where I really got to see what it would look like to have folks that look like me on both sides of the camera. So “Retros” is really about this OG sneakerhead who has to give up his shop because of COVID and his challenging connection with a young millennial sneakerhead. And we get to see their interaction and we get to see what it looks like when we have an intergenerational conversation about sneakers and sneaker culture and what it means to hold onto the things that we love and the folks that we care about.

GRACIE

I love that. Lex, thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for openly and bravely sharing with us, sharing your journey, sharing your truth. I am wishing you continued blessings and success on your journey. Keep doing you and inspiring along the way.

SIR LEX

Thank you so much.

GRACIE

To watch this episode again, check out our website at pluslifemedia.com and follow us @pluslifemedia. Until next time, it isn’t about becoming another person. It’s more about the willingness to be and see who we’ve always been.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: