Finding Kim follows the life of 48-year-old trans man and his journey though surgery, testosterone, friendships and his relationship with his family. Set in Seattle, the film invites audiences to see gender in a different light through Kim's transition.
From a very early age, Kim ( who requested his last name not be used in this article ) always felt he was truly a man. He remembers praying before bed as a child that he would wake up and his anatomy would be male. After many years of coping through alcoholism and trying to be something he was not, Kim has finally begun the transition.
Windy City Times: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Kim: I am 53; I use "he" and "him." I consider myself male. I grew up in Huntington Beach when I was young and then moved to Bellevue, Washington, my sophomore year in high school. And in between that time and now, I've lived many places in Seattle mostly and a few places in California; now, I am in Bellingham on the border of Canada in Washington.
WCT: How long have you known your true gender?
Kim: I know it might irritate some people but I don't really identify as transI identify as a man. ... I was the first child [in my family], and then my brothers came and I knew I was like them. It was the '60s so you didn't talk about that. I actually grew up religious and prayed all the time that I would wake up with the right anatomy. It never happened but that's the way it goes. Yes, I always knew. Always.
WCT: When did you finally decide to transition?
Kim: It's interesting. I knew I was going to transition when I was 21 and that was in 1985. I knew a couple people who had done it and it was hard to do back then. Then I became an alcoholic to hide the feelings, then I became a lesbian and I had girlfriends and I was super-depressed. I was drinking a lot. I tried to be a straight girl for a while.
It was the alcohol. ... I was afraid about my family and what they would think. I let fear rule me and I'm not the only one. I think every trans person will tell you the same thing. It's fearful. In 2012, my girlfriend and I had broken up and I was at a party with Aaron the director and I told him, "This is it; I'm doing it. And I'm going to see a doctor this weekI'm getting hormones." And I did it!
In two weeks I did it, and that's not usual. There are many steps to transitioning: mame change, hormones, everything. I did it for myself; I did have some support and advice from people who had done it. Yeah, so that was November 2012, when I got my first shot. We started filming shortly after that.
WCT: What has been the hardest part of transitioning?
Kim: Honestly it has beenI'm embarrassed to say itabout my family. They are elderly, they don't know. I have had top surgery and I have facial hair. It's hard and it's a generation thing. I have other friends who are my age and it's an issue. Some of their parents shunned them and shut them out. ... I am afraid to break their hearts. That is the hardest part of transitioning. Everything else is paperwork.
I don't enjoy giving myself shots. I felt normal for the first time after my first shot. ... I've been very masculine my entire life besides the very brief period when I was trying to be straight. Luckily, that's in my favor because my family has always seen I am masculine. Some people are very girly and then they switch and their families freak out. I was pretty masculine the whole way.
WCT: What has been the best part of the transition?
Kim: It was the lifelong depression, much of it lifted in the first three months of [testosterone injections] and then my top surgery, of course, was pretty much the happiest day of my life.
Making this film was challenging and scary, but also life-changing. It has changed my perspective and made me more open in a way. Like you interviewing me it's hard to wrap my head around it. People want to interview me? What? I'm nobody. If people like the film and if it helps one personthat's why we made it. Because, honestly, there are people my age who are sitting around thinking, "I can't do it." I hope some older folks watch it who think they can't do it and then think "Oh, I can [transition]; that dude was 48."
WCT: Is there anything else we should know?
Kim: I'm obsessed with my dog. I'm not dating anyone. I just have a dog. He is a collie-shepherd mix. I work at a pot store. I go to churchactually, it's interesting to go to a cool Episcopal church. I grew up religious but I avoided church for a long time. I don't knowI mow lawns; I like lawn work.
Finding Kim is on digital platforms and VOD starting Tuesday, June 6.