Thanks for contacting me about being a peer mentor for the Trans* Docu-Series based on the 21 Day Myth. I’ve attached my contact information and a current photo for your casting manager. I’m also posting the casting call on my blog.
I took the liberty of web-searching your company to get more information on the project. I was surprised to see that some of the other episodes in the 21 Day Myth series consist of Move Into a Tiny House, Is Your Sex Life Too Vanilla, and Do You Want to Look Like Barbie.
I also read up on the 21 Day Myth, a theory erroneously based on “Psycho-cybernetics” published by Dr. Maxwell Maltz in 1960. Dr. Maltz states that it takes 21 days to get used to a change, e.g. moving into a new apartment or adjusting to plastic surgery results. This somehow morphed out of control into 21 days to adopt a new habit or make a major change in your life. It took me about three weeks to get used to myself in my new eyeglasses.
Transitioning is not something anyone should do lightly or under time pressure. Each person needs to determine their own timeline for transition, without a gatekeeper making them prove that they deserve access to services, hormones, or surgery. My trans journey is a set at a slow pace. From the moment that I told my therapist “I’m not a girl” it took me six months to take my next step and choose my name. I waited another six months before I asked my partner, my friends, and my co-workers to use my real (and legal) name. I don’t think I’ve made any trans decisions in a 21 day window, and wouldn’t encourage anyone else to do anything before they were ready.
I think it is important to have accurate and diverse examples of trans-masculine people in the media. I hope your project will treat the participating individuals with respect and not sensationalize their stories.
Looking forward to hearing back from you,
Rachel’s original email to me, including the casting call, is in the Notes section.
I don’t expect that I will be cast as a mentor in this show, although I think I would be a good peer listener. I’m not a stereotypical trans man. I’m not sure I’m “trans enough” for their purposes. I can’t even make a firm decision about the path of my own transition or pick a label for myself. I’m not photogenic. I’m just a middle-aged, middle-class, butch, transgender, blogging fool.
I received Rachel’s email the day after I watched the Bruce Jenner interview. For a media circus event I thought the program was respectful, touching, and remarkably boring. I did think about what I would say if I was in Bruce’s place, but I’m not in Bruce’s place. I’m in Jamie’s place, and this is where I get to tell my story (to 16.9 million fewer people).
Notes: This is a good debunking of the 21 Day Myth from The Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL (University College London).
Below is the letter I received from Rachel, and the casting call:
My name is Rachel and I am a casting associate with Magilla Entertainment, a New York-based television production company that specializes in non scripted programming. I came across your blog from T-Central, and wanted to tell you about a new project we are working on.
Currently we are developing a new documentary series that aims to follow the journeys of different people, changing their lives in different ways. One episode in particular will follow the stories of trans individuals who are struggling at a point in their transition, whether it is coming out of the closet, to beginning HRT, or even contemplating SRS. We would like to pair these individuals up with a mentor who can help them through this period of time in their life, and follow as they embark on their new journey. I was wondering if you would be interested in becoming a coach, and also if you would be able to post our casting call (copied below), looking for potential participants, on your blog. Please give me a call if you have any questions or concerns!
ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH YOUR GENDER IDENTITY?
Are you struggling with who you are? Do you feel like you were born into the wrong body? Are you living life as the opposite gender you were given at birth? Magilla Entertainment and a major cable network are now casting men and women who identify as the opposite gender and who are considering going through a transition for a new docu-series. If you have been struggling with your gender identity and want the support of a coach or mentor as you transition, we want to hear your story. Following the “21 Day Myth” in which people can mentally and physically make changes after this specific time period, this docu-series will capture the excitement and fears of transgender individuals as they work with a mentor over 21 days to make life changing decisions and become who they truly are. If you think you are ready to embark on this journey, please contact us ASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, age, location, occupation, contact phone number, a recent photo and a few sentences about yourself.