Becoming Johanna — A Trans Youth’s Story (VIDEO)

Becoming Johanna is a short documentary, and the third film in the Youth and Gender Media Project series, that tells the story of sixteen–year–old transgender Latina kid Johanna whose deeply religious mother committed her to a mental hospital in order to prevent her transition to a young woman.

As you will see from the trailer below, Johanna and her mother’s relationship remains tense.

About the Youth and Gender Media Project

The Youth and Gender Media Project is a collection of films about gender nonconforming youth. Other titles in the series include The Family Journey: Raising Gender Nonconforming Children in which family members relate their struggles but eventual acceptance in raising gender variant children, and I’m Just Anneke which tells the story of a gender fluid twelve–year–old girl who has been given medication to delay puberty until she is older and can decide her gender for herself.

From the Youth and Gender Media Project:

The films introduce radical new concepts for many audiences, from the very idea that a young child can be transgender and have the wherewithal to fight against the pressures to conform to a binary gender paradigm, to the new and still very rare use of hormone blockers to delay puberty. However, since the films are structured around universal themes such as parenting and acceptance, identity and difference, growing up and coming of age, tolerance, love and self-esteem, they remain accessible and deeply moving even to people who are resistant to the idea of transgender youth.

These videos will be used to as part of an initiative to create safe and inclusive classrooms for gender nonconforming youth and, according to the website, are designed to educate teachers, administrators, parents and students in issues that might effect trans and gender variant children.

For more information on this project you can go to

Image taken from film trailer under fair use terms, no infringement intended.


Margo A.
Margo A6 years ago

Richard C.

I know a few Transsexual women.. very feminine and beautiful women... and if you raised your hand toward them for anything other than giving them a 'high-5'.. I promise they could break your arm off. Then, you'd feel REALLY insecure with yourself :-)

Margo A.
Margo A6 years ago

Whether or not a woman can become pregnant before she is considered as a woman is ludicrous. Many genetic females cannot become pregnant for one reason or the other.. or multiple reasons. One's brain is everything a person is.. as it is vastly complex and intricate in it's makeup. There are various differences in the brains of males vs females. Transsexual (HBS or Harry Benjamin Syndrome) people have the brain opposite of their appointed sex at birth.. leaving the individual brain/body 'incongruous'.. therefore, they seek to change the body to match the brain.. in so to have a brain and body to match.. like the vast majority of society.

These people are to be praised, if anything.. for having the courage to follow their own personal convictions in spite of the stigma that societal "norms" and society in general, place upon them. I am speaking of those who are born Transsexual.. as opposed to drag-queens/kings, crossdressers, transvestites and the like.... all or most of which are 'choices' and for whatever reason(s). Being born TS is not a choice.. but, actually doing something about it, transitioning from one sex to the other is a choice.. in so to have a better quality of life because one feels more complete, giving them a higher level of self-esteem.. in lieu of them continuing to feel as though they're living a facade.. a lie. Many of whom were "duds" as men, became more vibrant in their appearance and their personalities, as well as their fervency for life in general

Matilyn D.
Matilyn D.6 years ago

A note for the Males dealing with transphobia.

Medicine and Science have come further than religious or societal values. They have found being transgender is now genetic/biological in our DNA. Fact I was diagnosed and treated medically (not as a psychological disorder) by my doctor and an internal medicine specialist. I am sure I am not the first woman to be treated this way.

Transphobic men are the end of a dying breed of people lived in fantasies instead of reality. And as all your fantasies crumble it makes you angry, because transwoman threaten your notion of gender in existence. "What there's more than 2 genders?" Yes.

No one ever told you there were more than just M or F. They had to keep it simple for the smaller and under developed minds to understand. You have lived in the societal supported fantasies for so long you actually believe your fantasy to be true. 1 in every 500 babies born are gender variant. 1 in every 500 babies born are transsexuals. 6 billion people on Earth you do the math.

Mother Nature and God do not make mistakes and transpeople belong here. Whether you choose to believe reality or not, we are all one. When we hate or commit violence on others we are actually hating and committing violence on ourselves. You fail to recognize that you are everything in the universe and not just a part of that universe and separate. One. You might want to take a good look at yourself, cause deep inside you really hate yourself. And that is what causes yo

joan grandy
.6 years ago

It would be great if once and for all some positive data/info could confirm the "unfortunate" mix-ups that can occur in male/female developments....and to what degree changes "SHOULD" be made in order to have a well-developed individual...not enough medical details have been available to substantiate the situation

Louise L Tucker
Louise L Tucker6 years ago

It's sad that some people get stuck in the wrong bodies as what there hormones say they are. Pregnancy should have nothing to do with it.....there are plenty of women that choose not to have babies. I can't imagine the fear and frustration that goes along with being true to yourself....

Brenda L.
Brenda Louise6 years ago

Richard C. said, "I'm probably going to be considered negative here, but I can't believe Johanna to be female unless he/she can become pregnant."

So by that statement quoted above, you then must find a woman who can't get pregnant is really a man, even though she was born a girl. The problem you might really have is if and when she decides to get Sexual Reassignment Surgery, you'll consider her genital skin to be a male's. But skin is skin really. Your question should be, "Do I think she has a female brain?", or "Is she going to expect to dominate me? After all, I want to be the top ape in any heterosexual relationship."

I'm glad for her because she had the courage to come out to her parents at a very early age, so that she won't have to spend inordinate amounts of money to get the rest of her feminized.

When I was outed to my parents, I was punished and threatened to be taken to a shrink. Shrinks back in the 50's believen in electro shock therapy. That being said, I mught have mustered up the courage to kill myself then. Unfortunately for me, I chose to hide my feelings, and be the man I wasn't, until finally I worked up the courage at 48 years old to say '"Enough", and antied up my finances to get as much surgery as I could afford.

My last words to you will be that you are most likely very homophobic and insecure of your own manhood. As for your violance, might I suggest that you "beat off" rather than beat on the next person that chalanges your manhood.

Sue D.
Susan L6 years ago

Richard, I appreciate your honesty even though you knew it would not be received well.

I don't agree with you. I would simply ask you to make an attempt at understanding something you obviously will not have to be personally challenged with.

1) There is a transgender "woman" who became a man, married a woman and has given birth - a couple times. He lives as a man, works as a man and has "legally" become a man. When he has the sexual reassignment, is he a man? He will be the children's 'father'. Can you accept him as a man? You would probably never know, so of course you would.

2) The only reason some people are transgender is because because who they 'truly' are is not the body they were born to. Sometimes, they were born into an 'undecided' body and parents had the body corrected to be one gender or another while they were very young or at birth. If a DNA 'boy' were given 'girl' genitalia, and she always 'felt' she were a boy, it would be because she is a boy genetically. SO is it not reasonable to determine that a mistake can be made during the developmental stages of a resulting baby? There is very little in life that is "perfect" and you should accept that. If you had "been dressed and treated and given a girl's name" all the time 'feeling' it just wasn't right, wouldn't you want to change that?

People are not 'sick' because they are different than you. You will be much happier yourself if you can find it in you to be compassionate in your appraisal of others

Emily M.
Emily M6 years ago

@Richard C. Don't be ashamed of who you are. You've probably beaten your girlfriends (or boyfriends) for having the correct belief that you are a hateful douche bag. You're a criminal. And you're jealous that Johanna is more beautiful than any cretin you'll ever be around. You don't deserve to breathe the same air as she does. And the terrible thing is, she has a much greater chance of being murdered for being a brave young woman than you ever will for being a sorry excuse for a person. It's so unfair. The world needs more Johanna's and less of morons like you.

Manuela C.
Manuela C6 years ago

She's beautiful! =)

Ana Patricia Sanchez Calv

Johanna you are beautiful!