news.com.au | February 1, 2019
‘I was scared of anyone finding out about the problem’: Coming out as transgender at 82 years old
Coffs Harbour father and retired policeman Col referred to it as the “problem”. It was only when he was 82, and after his wife died, that he told everyone the truth.
What a sweet, beautiful, gentle film. Loved it. Well done!
I’m trying to find the words to do this documentary justice.
But how do you describe something so powerful?
A beautiful story that touches your soul. It leaves you with tears of gratitude as Colleen’s bravery not only shows the world her true self, but leaves you with the courage and wisdom to know it’s never to late.
I would give this Film a 5plus Star Rating, this is the Third DVD that I have watched that was Produced by Ian Thompson, Ian is a very Talented person with great Vision and Insights into Social Challenges, he is kind and generous with his time and takes on some big Social Issues with consummate ease.
My Wife Judy and I enjoyed becoming Colelen very much, a great Story that will make us all Tolerant and Understanding Diversity, The Story was great and showed that many of us don’t understand if others are different to ourselves, great insights and well told.
I believe sharing Colleen’s story may help others in similar situations understand that they can challenge the old fashioned and narrow experiences in Society and live their Life to the fullest, Only One Life, we should all make every moment count, Colleen did that.
I believe that watching Colleen’s Story will develop more understanding and empathy as a society, I should any way
I would give this film a 5 plus star rating, this is the third DVD that I have watched that was produced by Ian Thomson. Ian is a very talented person with great vision and insight into social challenges, he is kind and generous with his time and takes on some big social issues with consummate ease.
My wife Judy and I enjoyed ‘Becoming Colleen’ very much, a great story that will make us all tolerant and understanding diversity. The story was great and showed that many of us don’t understand if others are different to ourselves, great insights and well told.
I believe sharing Colleen’s story may help others in similar situations understand that they can challenge the old fashioned and narrow experiences in society and live their life to the fullest. Only one life, we should all make every moment count, Colleen did that.
I believe that watching Colleen’s Story will develop more understanding and empathy as a society, I should anyway.
Second screening in Germany at the Oldenburg Queer Film Festival – fully sold out!
The audience all agree that ‘Becoming Colleen’ should also be screened in German television. So, go for it!
We also believe it is a film that should be shown in aged care centres or vocational colleges where people train to become geriatric nurses and carers.
There was one issue raised about the doctor in the film as a so-called ‘expert’ explaining Colleen’s ‘condition’, which is often a common element of documentaries of that kind. The person criticising this, pointed out it would have been better letting another trans person explain theses things/phenomena.
Apart from that there was no critique, everyone liked the film and found it very touching. Lots of people cried.
I myself find it so inspiring to follow my heart and take steps at whatever age to change for good.
Thank you, Colleen! Thanks to Ian and his team!
For the past thirty years or so I have witnessed older LGBTI people working towards a happy life in retirement. There was a lot of fear about nursing homes, especially ones run by religious groups, so alternatives were (and still are) vigorously explored. Meanwhile, I was so depressed that I couldn’t see a future for myself. As I approached fifty, amazed to have made it that far, I decided to pursue gender transition. If I had to stay alive, it was going to be on my own terms. Fast forward to this week, discussing Becoming Colleen with my religious mother. It was the first time we have ever discussed “people like me” and it gave us an opening to talk a little about my own process. I am sure that the sensitive, loving nature of the film made this possible. Thank you.
Beautiful, moving and heartfelt. What a story, what a woman ❤️💜❤️
What a moving story. Such a long arc to arrive at where she did. And so sensitively told and retold, the recreations very well done. Can’t wait to see the fuller version.
Such a beautiful story so sensitively and eloquently told. Respectful storytelling.
Six stars!! Such a great film! It’s a beautiful story that was so nicely crafted and my partner and I so enjoyed watching it, with a little tear in my eye at the end. Thank you for making this, and helping share the stories. I can only imagine the extremely positive impact this has on the transgendered population – to get the message out there about the effects of keeping a secret and to make it more open and accepted. Those involved in the making of this film are just amazing and so talented and it’s probably the most poignant and well crafted film I’ve seen for a long time. It’s a story I will remember for a long time!
I’ve been waiting for ‘Becoming Colleen’ since I saw the trailer in January. The documentary didn’t disappoint me. Colleen and I have the same obsession, SHOES! We even have the same white shoe shelves. The film was very moving and inspiring. I was such a mess after the film ended. It should have been nominated in the Ozflix Independent Australian Movie Awards! Just sayin’. Congratulations Ian Thomson!
This was a wonderful story of tolerance, unconditional love and joy but also, one of fear and secrecy which made it so poignant. I laughed and I cried a bit too and at the end, wished I’d had a chance to meet Colleen. Her story was shared so thoughtfully and respectfully and I believe, helps us to better understand what being transgender is so we can better support those around us. Thank you Ian (and Colleen) for sharing your story with us.
‘Becoming Colleen’ deserves to be seen. It is a story about kindness, bravery and love. Ian Thomson has delivered a documentary that does justice to Colleen’s remarkable life, and her eventual coming out as a transgender woman at the age of 82. The movie takes us on a journey through Colleen’s life, with excellent use of family photos, videos and sensitively handled re-enactments. Ian and his production team had great access to a cast of characters, including the greatest talent of all, Colleen. She speaks openly and honestly on her experiences of growing up, knowing she identified as female from the age of 5. Colleen’s very special relationship with her wife Heather is so lovingly told you will find yourself reaching for the tissues. The film is also laugh out loud funny in parts with interviews with Colleen’s friends at the retirement village and nursing home providing some of the best moments. Congratulations Ian on telling this important story.
A beautiful story told with warmth and respect that will hopefully inspire others to live their truth. Congratulations to Ian and the team for producing a heartfelt documentary with a strong message of acceptance and love that allows the viewer to take a short but memorable walk in Colleen’s (most impressive) shoes.
Beautifully told story of an incredibly brave person. Thank you, Ian, was a great experience watching your movie.
Such a human story – and beautifully shot. Becoming Colleen is an intensely personal and honest insight into human relationships and into another era. Such a gentle soul, Colleen left me sad and inspired at the same time; very moving.
Becoming Colleen is a well crafted documentary which brings to life a moving and truly emotional human story, one that touches all of us with its social message of acceptance and love. Ian Thomson takes his audience on a journey that allows it to reflect on the human experience. He encourages all of us to to find a shoe in which we can comfortably walk in, irrespective of gender, sexuality or ethnicity. The metaphor in this film is universal. Thomson allows us to empathise with Colleen’s experience, not only through her eyes but also through the reflections of those who loved and supported her throughout her life long journey. The enthusiastic applause from the audience is an acknowledgement of its appeal and universality.
Becoming Colleen reminds us of the importance of respecting every person’s right to express themselves authentically. A beautifully shot and moving story about how acceptance and compassion from a few special people allow Colleen’s flowering to full bloom. Loved the shoes!
Congratulations to Ian Thomson and the team for the creation of such a wonderful documentary. In many ways, I didn’t feel like I was watching a documentary – “Becoming Colleen” felt like a narrative with the capacity to enhance empathy and humanity. The rhythm of Colleen’s unfolding story was reflected in the beautiful production values. Essentially, I came away feeling that, while documenting the myriad difficulties faced by Colleen, this is a not a tragic story of thwarted desire, but a story of quiet persistence, small kindnesses, and the innate capacity of people to be their most authentic selves.
Ian Thomson’s docu-drama ‘Becoming Colleen’, is a personal, multifaceted story of transition. This heartfelt tribute to Colleen is a story for all – particularly for those marginalised, and those meandering within the realm of self-definition. It not only crafts the intrinsic experience of displacement and self- inquisition, though questions the institutions and networks that exist to support our LGBTQI / queer communities.
The powerfully modest subject Colleen shows just how complex, and isolating gender transitioning can be. Through her unique story, I’ve become aware of the negligence and lack of contemporary education that still exists in particular organisations, regarding diversity. This documentary highlights the gaps that specifically exist in Aged Care Facilities; being institutions which are supposed to harbour an optimal quality of life for people who are physically unable to themselves.
By sharing Colleen’s personal journey, groups who continue to face these inconsistencies are able to have their story heard. It is through the shared experience of seclusion, that Thomson has been able to empathetically demonstrate how support is possible, and exists. This inspiring story shows how we must fixate on reorienting our services towards greater inclusion & liveability, through the compassionate and moving story of a beautiful woman, Colleen.
Becoming Colleen is a powerful piece of storytelling. Told through the eyes of Colleen – along with her family and friends – this film reveals the complex range of emotions associated with the trans experience. Becoming Colleen has lots of heart, and surprisingly, lots of humour. Even though it’s set in regional Australia, its themes are universal. This is a really beautiful film!
Becoming Colleen is a heart warming documentary about Colleen a transgender woman who decided to transition at the age of 82 in a regional town in NSW. Ian Thomson, writer, director and producer follows Colleen’s journey as she transitions from her former male ex-police officer self to becoming a woman as well as highlighting the impact on her family and friends. Colleen’s story is documented with humour, compassion and thoughtfulness and I highly recommend you watch this. Five stars!
Becoming Colleen is a beautiful story about a remarkable woman. The film is masterfully created by Ian and his team. A true credit to a talented man being able to share Colleen’s story in a remarkable way. Thank you for bringing this to our screens.
‘Becoming Colleen’ tells the story of Colleen, as she transitions to her affirmed gender in Coffs Harbour in her 80s after her wife, Heather passes away. The film sensitively deals with a variety of issues; trans issues, LGBT+ acceptance in (Christian) health services, LGBT+ visibility in regional Australia. ‘Becoming Colleen’ is much more than the composite of issues we can draw from her experience; fundamentally, ‘Becoming Colleen’ is a love story, a beautiful retelling of the sometimes surprising and quiet acceptance that Colleen received, that allowed her to experiment with her gender expression under the respectful and loving gaze of Heather. An important story yes, but a beautiful retelling of a kind and supportive relationship. Congratulations to those involved, including Ian Thomson.
I really enjoyed the film Becoming Colleen. The photography is beautiful. I loved the reenactments of Col’s childhood and the recurring photos of the shoes.
Thank you for telling the untold story of such an incredible person. You did a great job !
Becoming Colleen is a touching documentary that shows how powerful love and respect can be in anybody’s life let alone someone who spent so much of her own living her identity as someone she didn’t feel she truly was. The documentary beautifully illustrates Colleen’s story with her family and friends and the wider community who knew and loved her and is told with poignancy and sensitivity. It helps to enlarge a wider dialogue about love and acceptance, struggle and change and how the world would be a much kinder and more peaceful place if we all believed that freedom is about living an authentic life – and helping others to live theirs too – in the most positive sense that this can be experienced. I hope it is seen widely and helps shift attitudes about supporting vulnerable people from being marginalised – whether that is because of their gender identity or sexuality, their cultural background or whatever path they might be walking in their own journey.
A truely moving story. Told with honesty and some lovely humorous moments (usually involving shoes!). The love that Heather clearly had for her husband was generous and inspiring. The courage and determination that Colleen had to become the woman she was, was extraordinary. A beautiful story. A life story that was brave and well told.
I first met Colleen Young in 2014 when she was referred by her G.P for depression. Colleen was then living as ‘Colin’ and referred to herself as having a “problem”. At that time she hadn’t heard of the term ‘transgender’ and I had to write it down for her. She kept the note in her pocket and would take it out to show people when she was trying to explain her situation. That was the beginning of a remarkable journey which has been beautifully documented by Ian Thomson and his production team. As is revealed in the documentary, Colleen loved film and in fact had her own extensive collection of movies. She never would have dreamed that her story would one day become the subject of a moving film that would be watched by so many people. Colleen was a quiet and unique individual who showed enormous courage and determination to live her final days as her authentic self. She hoped that by telling her story on film, it may help others to find their own voice.
Becoming Colleen was a moving and inspiring documentary that sensitively highlights one woman’s struggles with gender dysphoria. It transcends gender binaries and historically and pictorially documents an incredible love story that spans a lifetime.
Becoming Colleen is touching and well realised. I’m not usually easily affected by films, but I found Becoming Colleen to be very moving. Congratulations to Ian Thomson and the team for representing her story so well.
After viewing the documentary ‘Becoming Colleen’ by Ian Thomson, I appreciated hearing Colleen’s story. Her story was so well told.
I was lucky enough to go to the Coffs Harbour premiere of ‘Becoming Colleen’.
I really enjoyed the documentary. It opened my eyes in so many ways, but what I loved most of all was the character of Colleen. What a beautiful person she was. Ian Thomson and the team did such a magnificent job in portraying her true self, in a respectful and thoughtful way.
I would encourage anyone who wants to get a better understanding of the turmoil that a transgender person goes through to come to terms with their Identity to watch this film. It follows a common thread I personally have experienced throughout my journey. Colleen’s story is thought-provoking and emotional, and the people that surround her through her transition are some of the most beautiful people that one could wish for as she moves into a regional aged care facility. I personally give this a five star rating and suggest everyone needs to see this documentary, especially as it recently won The Audience Award in Coffs Harbour at its world premiere at the Screenwave International Film Festival.
This comment is from Sandra Pankhurst known as the Trauma Cleaner, currently the 6th most read book in Australia!
I give a 5 star rating to all the amazing supporters of this project – including you for visiting this website! I’d love to know what you thought of the film, so please leave a review in this comments section if you feel moved to do so.