Local gay and lesbian center offers arts and culture series

In the documentary “TRANS,” director Chris Arnold set out to tell the world the truth about transsexuals.

“It’s not a lifestyle. It’s not a choice. In fact, it’s a very, very hard road to travel,” Arnold says. “I call (transsexuality) the last frontier in civil rights.”

Arnold’s film, which depicts the stories of six transsexual people at different points in their lives, will be screened Saturday at The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, 401 S. Maryland Parkway. He will also be on hand for a question-and-answer session.

The showing is the latest installment in Centerpiece, a “queer arts and culture series” that is free to the public. The series started last month and continues through October.

This is the first time the Center has been able to offer an ongoing community event of this kind, says program director Mel Goodwin. The Center moved into a larger facility in April and with the extra space came a commitment to community-oriented programming.

“I think the community has really been waiting for something like this but we just haven’t been able to provide it before,” says Goodwin, adding that the first installment in the series drew a crowd of about 35 people. “I thought it was a pretty incredible event. Lots of folks came out who don’t necessarily come to the Center.”

When putting Centerpiece together, they focused on diversity and ensuring that a broad spectrum of ideas was represented, Goodwin says. But they also wanted to raise the profile of underrepresented segments of the community, including women, people of color, transsexuals and asexuals. The idea is to help give a voice to those who aren’t often heard in the media and who don’t use The Center regularly.

“TRANS” is one of three events focused on transsexuality.

“There really isn’t much out there of any real value in terms of films about the trans community,” Arnold says. “We set out to make a film that showed what being trans is really about.”

Among those profiled in the film are a 7-year-old child, a woman who is realizing that she is transsexual, and Dr. Christine McGinn, who served as a flight surgeon in the Navy when she was a man. She is now one of only a handful of surgeons in the United States who performs sex reassignment surgeries.

Arnold hopes that his film helps to educate people who don’t fully understand what it means to be transsexual.

“The public thinks it’s related to sex and it really is not,” Arnold says.

“TRANS” starts at 1 p.m. Saturday .

Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at or 702-380-4564. Follow @StripSonya on Twitter.

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