Monday, June 19 from 10:00-11:00 PM ET on PBS
(Check your local listings)
A moving and intimate story of a family in transition, Real Boy follows the journey of trans teen Bennett as he navigates adolescence, sobriety, and the physical and emotional ramifications of his changing gender identity. Through the process, his mother Suzy makes her own transformation — travelling a difficult road toward accepting that the daughter she raised as Rachael is now her son Bennett. Filmed over the course of four years, Real Boy is a love story about a mother and son who rediscover connection with each other and find support from their communities, reminding us that families are not only given, but chosen. Produced and directed by Shaleece Haas, Real Boy premieres on Independent Lens Monday, June 19, 2017, 10:00-11:00 PM ET (check local listings) on PBS.
“All I want is to be loved by my family, but for my family, it’s not as simple as that,” says Bennett. “It’s complicated for them.” Through interviews with his mother and old home movies, we meet Bennett as a joyful, happy child, but that changed as he grew older. Adolescence brought anger, substance abuse, and self-destructive behaviors. When Bennett began to share his true identity as male, he felt happier inside but faced resistance from his family. Finding solace online with other teens facing the same issues, the aspiring musician is also taken under the wing of his idol Joe Stevens, a celebrated transgender musician fighting his own demons.
“The struggle to find our identity, to be our true self is universal,” said Lois Vossen, Executive Producer of Independent Lens. “The discovery of who we really are, versus who we believe we are meant to be, is at the core of Haas’s remarkable film.”
Through observational storytelling that is alternately heartbreaking and humorous, Real Boy offers a clear-eyed look at a family tested by a change they never imagined, the complexity of addiction, the healing power of music, and the unbreakable bond between mother and child.