“My hope is to raise awareness of this film so young trans, nonbinary, and LGBTQIA people and their families can see themselves reflected back to them, and watch a story featuring a transgender person with a supportive, loving family and a happy ending!” – Donnie Cianciotto
The above is a trailer for the new trans-themed documentary called DONNIE – A TRANSGENDER MAN’S STORY.
After years of denying his true identity, a transgender man fights inequality, insurance companies, red tape, and prejudice, before finally moving across the country to live happily as his authentic self.
Donnie, a musical theatre director and performer, forced himself to believe that being transgender was a ‘choice’, and refused to acknowledge it for almost 20 years. After coming out as a lesbian at the age of 13, Donnie grew up within the LGBT community, and began performing as a drag-king. It was only after he started seeing himself as a man in the mirror, that he accepted and eventually embraced his authentic identity as a transgender man. At 31, Donnie began medically transitioning, so he could finally feel comfortable in his body, and be seen as the man he is.
About the film, Donnie says:
“DONNIE was filmed over the course of three and a half years beginning in June 2015, when I was about 2 years into my medical transition from female to male (though that’s a binary way of stating it.) Initially released as a 10 minute short, DONNIE won a Rocky Mountain Regional Emmy Award. On June 1st 2021, DONNIE was released to the public on Vimeo as a 52 minute feature.
Unlike a lot of fiction and non-fiction stories centring on transgender people, DONNIE is ultimately an uplifting tale of love, success, and happy endings. Though it does touch upon discrimination, harassment, and the struggle to achieve healthcare and gender affirmation surgery (top surgery), it is predominantly about love and support from my family, friends, and chosen family, as well as success in my career as an actor who happens to be transgender – this includes moving across the country from Arizona to NYC, after being cast to play a transgender role by the prestigious Public Theater in the off-Broadway musical, Southern Comfort (based on the grand prize-winning documentary at Sundance in 2001 by Kate Davis), and the creation and success of Trans Voices Cabaret, which highlights members of the trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming musical theater community, with performances at The Duplex in NYC (and has chapters in Chicago and London.)
DONNIE also includes touching footage from my wedding, interviews with my adorable Mom and two gay brothers, discussion about how my experiences as a drag-king led me to my authentic gender identity, and my trip to Baltimore to have top surgery, as well as my recovery, and the successful crowd-sourcing campaign that helped pay for it when my insurance would not.
This documentary has been a labour of love for almost 6 years. The pandemic definitely affected our plans to show and release DONNIE, but the longer we waited, the more we realized we just needed to put it out there, so the people who need to see it would have the opportunity. This is the kind of film that would have truly benefited me to see as a young queer trans person, who was desperately searching for community and answers. If films like this had existed and been accessible to me when I was younger, perhaps I wouldn’t have waited so long to come out as trans. My hope is that DONNIE can inspire and instil hope in TGNC people and their families, especially at a time when trans youth specifically are being targeted for discrimination”.
DONNIE – A TRANSGENDER MAN’S STORY (as well as the trailer) is currently available to watch on Vimeo: www.vimeo.com/ondemand/donnietransgenderfilm
Duration: 52 minutes
Warning: This film may contain mature themes and graphic post-surgical images that some might find challenging. Viewer discretion is advised.
By renting this movie, you are helping keep it available for viewing, and helping cover the expenses associated with distribution and film insurance. Thank you for your support.