Golnaz Taherian | Arts Editor
Featured Image: Dueck wants people to think about gender more as an open spectrum. | Golnaz Taherian
Fourth-year film production student Tiana Dueck is in the process of producing and directing a documentary on gender fluidity and gender identity. Her documentary, ‘Other,’ portrays different gender identities (including gender fluid, non-binary and transgender), and whether society accepts them.
Dueck, who is cisgender, was inspired to make this documentary by “seeing lots of people going non-binary or realizing they are non-binary,” and observing “the backlash they get from that,” which impelled her to question her own gender identity.
Dueck’s goal with the film is to spread awareness about the LGBTQ+ community. She wants to provide a platform for the voices of transgender, non-binary and gender fluid individuals to express themselves, rather than letting the media have a monopoly on the conversation.
Dueck notes that York has great professors who are always willing to help, and she lauds the film program as a special community of students. Since the film program, by necessity, requires constant group work, it fosters an environment of mutual solidarity in creative activity.
The documentary features four main subjects who the viewers follow through their lives, and in so doing come to understand their stories deeply. Dueck notes that people in the film, frustrated with the media’s misunderstandings, have been very open to share their experiences and help bring awareness to this topic. Individuals can also submit video diaries to the project, to share their personal stories about gender identity.
On the topic of gender pronouns, Dueck says: “I want people to know it’s not as complicated as it sounds. It’s tricky to get a hold of calling someone ‘them’ because we’re not taught that. We do trip up these days, but hopefully in the future we can do better by calling people what they are.”
Dueck’s goal with her documentary expands beyond raising awareness towards the LGBTQ+ community. She notes: “I want to encourage people to explore their own gender. Some people put themselves into a box and say, for example, ‘that’s a girly thing to do considering I’m a boy.’ I want people to think about gender, less as a boundary and more as an open spectrum.”
Rather than have shouting arguments with their opponents, Dueck notes artists must nurture a peaceful environment for individuals to think and reconsider their prior conceptions.
Dueck’s advice for aspiring LGBTQ+ artists is to fearlessly open up, and bring awareness to this community. Through conversation, art and understanding, she hopes to do her part in forging a more inclusive world.