NurseWatch sponsored Becoming Colleen recently – a film about a person called Colin who waited a lifetime to transition and become the woman she always wanted to be. The film sees her at 82, living in an aged care facility in Coffs Harbour, once she has made the move to becoming a transgender woman, happy at last.
With the sub title, Finding the Shoe that Fits, the film shows us Colleen candidly recounting her life as ‘Col’, with all its ups and downs. She lived out many years as ‘Col’, as a husband, father, policeman, projectionist and self-declared shoe fetishist. All of these years were lived in the conservative coastal community of Coffs Harbour on the NSW mid-north coast.
As we watch the film, we see how Colleen starts to negotiate her gender transition later in life. She takes her first steps towards living openly as a transgender woman and quite soon after this, she moves into full-time residential aged care.
As many older LGBT&I people would be, Colleen is apprehensive and fearful about moving into residential aged care as a transgender woman. We watch as she goes on this journey and we see her gain acceptance and finally arrive at a place where she is at peace with who she is, in her new home. Unfortunately, Colleen passed away 6 months before the film’s release but we still find joy in her brave journey.
Becoming Colleen featured at The 4th National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference in Melbourne in early 2019. In Sydney, the film premiered at Event Cinemas in George Street Helen Samphier from NurseWatch attended, contributing to the panel discussion after the screening on diversity in aged care. Others at the discussion included the director of the film, Ian Thomson, Brenda Appleton from TGV, Jayne Cummings from Hall & Pryor and a representative from ACON.
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