Joshua M. Ferguson has spent the last years fighting for legal recognition of their gender. In May, after a human rights complaint, they became the first person in Ontario to receive a non-binary birth certificate, denoted with an “X” instead of “M” or “F.”
Soon, the world can get a glimpse into what Ferguson’s life has been like at the forefront of the fight for non-binary recognition in Canada. At a time when gender is a misunderstood and at times controversial topic, Ferguson’s forthcoming feature documentary They Are Joshua is a chance for both demystification and education. The trailer can be viewed below.
“The structure evolved to focus more on a different kind of transition story about a young, genderfluid child who quickly lost who they are because of society telling them that they were wrong, and that they were out of order, and that they needed to be fixed,” Ferguson told VICE.
“In my 30s [is when] I re-claimed myself as who I am,” they said. “The most powerful and vital part of that sort of reclamation of myself was through receiving my true birth certificate.”
Ferguson, a producer of the film, said it’s important for trans people to tell their own stories in the media. Though they were approached by outlets interested in creating documentary content about their journey, they maintained it was “an important part of the process and the plan” to maintain a level of autonomy.
While it’s more common for documentaries to focus on the medical transition of trans people, They Are Joshua is a non-binary person’s odyssey to having their personhood legally recognized—and breaking down systemic barriers for others who will follow in the process.
Ferguson is currently crowdfunding for the doc’s post-production and negotiating with festivals to determine a premiere next year. It is being co-directed and written by Florian Halbedl, Ferguson’s husband, and Jules Koostachin. Ferguson’s book Me, Myself, They is also to be released in 2019.
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