VANCOUVER – A new Canadian documentary is chronicling the emotional process a trans person goes through to become their authentic self.
Gina Hole Lazarowich directed Krow’s TRANSformation, which follows Krow along his three-year journey from a woman to a man. It’s been released in Canada as a part of Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20).
Krow was 16 when he realized he was transgender.
“I had always thought that me wanting to be a boy was weird or unnatural. I didn’t start to physically transition until I was 19, then I started hormone therapy,” explained Krow. “My voice got deeper, my jawline changed, and my fat distribution changed so I started looking and sounding more masculine.”
He put a career modeling on pause to begin his personal journey to his new self.
“I disliked modeling previously because I hated being a female and made to always look like, well, a female. Since the problem of being female was out of the way, I came back to modeling to see how it is on the other side, to see if a trans man could even be a model,” he shared.
“Since my dream has always been to be a singer I actually felt like I couldn’t even start my dream until I was further into my transition.”
At 23, he walked the Louis Vuitton runway during Paris Fashion week.
“I started modeling again three years after I started my physical transition so I already passed the awkward puberty phase of figuring out how my emotions work again,” he laughed.
During filming Hole Lazarowich says there were heartbreaks and triumphs along the way for Krow, and for her and the crew, which had become like a family.
“We had one dip in the first year. When you start taking testosterone, it really affects your mood and your anxiety. And anxiety in the transgender community is at an all-time high to begin with,” remembered Hole Lazarowich.
“We were trying to do a scene–and it’s in the film–of him taking his own [testosterone] shot because he has to take a shot once a week for the rest of his life.”
Hole Lazarowich says Krow was determined to be able to give himself his shot, but when the cameras were rolling, he struggled.
“He’s got the needle to his skin and he just couldn’t do it,” said Hole Lazarowich. After the cameras left, Krow was eventually able to give himself the shot.
“He was wracked with anxiety about doing that,” she said.
Another bump in the road was surgery scheduling. Krow had his top surgery–a procedure to remove the breasts–cancelled and rescheduled twice.
“To have that taken away from him is just so difficult. A quote from the film is he said, ‘When it got cancelled for the second time I almost took a knife to my chest’,” said Hole Lazarowich.
“[Now] I don’t have to compress my chest just to go to the store or go to work,” said Krow.
Hole Lazarowich says wait times for trans people to get the surgeries they need are too long, and many in the medical community seem to treat the surgeries as elective procedures.
“This is a different pain, this is life-threatening pain for many many in the transgender community. If they can’t change and be who they authentically need to be, some consider take their own lives. And this is what drove me to make the film.”
Hole Lazarowich says watching trans kids growing up, going through puberty, with a feeling of hopelessness made her want to show everyone Krow’s story–show them that there is a happy ending.
Krow echoes Hole Lazarowich; one of the main reasons he was open to bringing people along with him on his transformative journey was because he wanted kids who feel lost or confused to have a role model.
“For me, there wasn’t a specific role model I looked up to or could relate to, I only had my transgender friends in my cosplay community who showed me the way so to speak,” he said.
“I desperately needed that role model or icon to relate to when I was young and confused about why I was different. I hope that young people who are figuring out who they are can look up to me and realize it’s okay to be different and you don’t have to rush into who you are or want to be. You can take your time and it shouldn’t affect your dreams.”
Even though the doc is done and being screened, he says his transition isn’t done yet.
“There are surgeries I still want to do but I don’t feel the medical advancements we have now are good enough.”