Epoch Times Film Exposing Untold Realities of Youth Transgender Movement Debuts in New York

By Eva Fu
Eva Fu
Eva Fu
Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S. politics, U.S.-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at eva.fu@epochtimes.com
June 17, 2023Updated: June 22, 2023

NEW YORK—“Would you rather have a dead daughter, or a living son?”

This is a dilemma that’s sometimes presented to parents as their children go through a gender identity crisis. The answers are far from clear-cut.

By following the journeys of several former transgender youths, the latest Epoch Times documentary, “Gender Transformation,” unpacks the complexities behind the rise of the transgender movement and the role of societal mechanisms—from the education system to medical and pharmaceutical industries—that propel it forward.

Sold out online, the film debuted on June 16 at New York’s Manhattan Film Festival in Cinema Village. It will premiere on EpochTV on June 19 at 7:30 p.m. New York time.

The film’s director, Tobias Elvhage, said he drew inspiration from watching a Swedish investigative series questioning the transgender narrative. Sweden, Elvhage’s home country and the first nation to authorize legal gender transition in 1972, made a U-turn on gender transitioning following the documentary to begin restricting gender reassignment medications.

That television program drew Elvhage’s attention to the side effects of transgender medication and surgeries on children, which, he noted, are irreversible and little reported.

It’s “like experimenting on children with these drugs,” he said, comparing the physical harms of puberty blockers to “chemical castration.”

“You might not even have future children—how can you make such a big decision as a child? That’s huge,” he told The Epoch Times. “For me, it’s shocking.”

Epoch Times Photo
Tobias Elvhage, director of the Epoch Times documentary “Gender Transformation,” speaks ahead of the film’s premiere in New York on June 16, 2023. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

One mother interviewed by Elvhage said her severely depressed teenage daughter developed unbearable pain from taking cross-sex hormones and eventually killed herself. Another, California lawyer Erin Friday, had child protection services show up at her home telling her that she was a threat to her child.

Both were told by medical professionals and others that if they refused to support their daughters’ medical transition, their daughters would likely commit suicide.

“Everyone was telling me to kill off my daughter and celebrate my new son, to put her on drugs, to call her a new name, make the daughter that I bore out of my body disappear, and cheering her on, celebrating this. I couldn’t bear it,” Friday told The Epoch Times.

Friday was so devastated that one day, she sat in her car at a railroad crossing, “contemplating whether to end it.”

Epoch Times Photo
Mother and lawyer Erin Friday speaks ahead of the Epoch Times documentary “Gender Transformation’s” premiere in Manhattan, New York, on June 16, 2023. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

For a year and a half, her underaged daughter wore a binder, cut her hair, changed her clothes and name, and talked about having her breasts removed, all the while being told to hate her mother.

“A year and a half seems like a short time, but it’s a really long time because she was truly in pain,” Friday said. “She was believing that she was going to commit suicide—that’s what she said to me. She said, ‘transgender people commit suicide, I’m not going to live that long, anyway.’ That’s a terrible thing for a parent to hear.”

To Katherine Welch, a physician featured in the documentary, the push for changing one’s gender identity is misleading to young people and leads to deeper problems.

“They’re being led to think that their mental health problems and the struggles that they are dealing with are pathologized,” she told The Epoch Times. Despite turbulences in childhood and adolescence, “the confusion of gender and sex can be fleeting.”

But, she said, “the whole upending of gender and sex becomes the erasure of women and the whole definition of who we are as humans.”

Epoch Times Photo
Physician Katherine Welch speaks ahead of the Epoch Times documentary “Gender Transformation’s” premiere in Manhattan, New York, on June 16, 2023. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Charlotte Noruzi, an art director in New York and one of about 100 attendees at the premiere, said the documentary brought tears to her eyes.

It’s “so important to have this film be created, and to put it out there, especially in a liberal state, city like New York,” she told The Epoch Times. “It’s awful, it’s just awful what’s happening.”

She added that she felt “quite lucky” not to have to grow up in “this kind of very chaotic, confusing era for children.”

“When I was thinking about when I was 12, and it’s terrifying to think that I would be exposed to that, and how vulnerable I would be,” she said, referring to content promoting the transgender movement.

“If you’re an adult and you’re making this decision for yourself, that’s one thing. But to be a child and to be basically manipulated into making this really life-changing decision that you can’t get back on—to me it’s criminal.”

Epoch Times Photo
Charlotte Noruzi at the Epoch Times documentary “Gender Transformation” screening in New York, on June 16, 2023. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Friday said she hopes that the documentary can show people the life-altering effect the transgender push has on real people.

“It doesn’t have any bounds. It can hit immigrant families, a Catholic family, a liberal family like [mine], a Democrat, a Republican, and it rips the entire family apart,” she said. “This is a cult that kills everything in its wake.”

Once young people regret their decision, she added, “they are dropped like a piece of trash.”

“No one helps them on the other end.”

But, noting the changes in Sweden, Elvhage said he remains hopeful his film can help start momentum in the United States.

“That’s a big thing—awareness,” he told the audience. With more people reflecting on what’s going on, he said, it will open up room for more changes.

Watch the documentary here.