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The Making of Me, review: a sensitive look at transgender identity

The i logo The i 11/02/2019 Sarah Hughes

a person standing in a room: Julie and Jackie © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd Julie and Jackie Editor's note: The opinions in this article are the author's, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

The Making of Me, Channel 4, 10pm ★★★★

The nature of identity was at the forefront of The Making of Me, Channel 4's new series about transgender people. Made over the course of three years this was a sensitive documentary in which the filmmakers wisely stood back, allowing the participants, their friends and their families to speak for themselves.

The results were brave, honest – and complicated. 'I feel as though some people see me as a bad parody of what a woman should be,' said lovely Vicky, admitting that she longed for her voice to sound more feminine. Her two children had no such concerns, shutting down a question about what it felt like to have a 'transgender dad' with a succinct 'normal.'

a person sitting on a counter: Cairo  © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd Cairo  Young model Cairo, meanwhile, found that transitioning placed his relationship under pressure. 'I'm scared because my vision of the future has also changed,' said his girlfriend Charlie. 'I don't know if I can be with a man.' By the end of the episode the relationship was over. An outwardly unbothered Cairo said he finally felt like himself.

Then there was Jackie and her wife of over 30 years, Julie. At the start of the episode, Jackie was still Simon for some of the time and the film followed her slow transition, covering everything from her longed-for surgery to her first day back at work. Yet this was very much a shared experience, and we saw how difficult the sometimes self-absorbed nature of that journey was for Julie.

'I always thought that if he upset me it would be because we'd split up, not because of a sex change,' she sighed, listening to 'their song'. Jackie, too, couldn't imagine a world without her 'soulmate'. Thankfully by the end they had talked, sobbed, hugged, and renewed their vows.

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