Entertainment » Movies

Little Miss Westie

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Oct 9, 2019
'Little Miss Westie'
'Little Miss Westie'  

"Little Miss Westie" is the story of Connecticut family the McCarthys, whose two children are both transgender. The older sibling, Luca, came out to his parents in high school. After some initial confusion, they adjusted well to the news. However, when Ren, his younger sibling, came out later, the parents' immediate reaction was that she was emulating her brother.

Chris and Shelley McCarthy's attitude and approach to dealing with both their children is remarkably measured and calm. Whatever their initial reactions were (and Shelley confessed to a few misgivings) they are totally accepting and supportive of their children and are happy to do whatever is necessary to facilitate their transitioning.

The title of the film comes from a local pageant that Ren is keen to participate in, as long as she can do so on her terms. Luca had taken part when he was younger, and before he had come out as a boy, and he takes on the role of coach for his younger sister. What's important is not the pageant itself, but the way that Ren reacts in social situations like this, given that she has trouble making friends.

The documentary was started in early 2016, before the last Presidential election, and shows the family deeply worried about the rights of their children, and the trans community, if Trump succeeds. They were, of course, proved completely right, as the current Administration has started rolling back as many rights as they can. The siblings will now need the continued support of their parents more than ever.

What strikes one most about "Little Miss Westie" is the mature approach of the two kids and their irrepressible energy. It's by no means a perfect scenario, as we see with Luca's mood swings when he first starts testosterone, but facing incidents like this head on as family makes it a far cry from the experiences of trans kids that end up homeless and suicidal.

"Little Miss Westie," directed by Joy E. Reed and Dan Hunt, makes an important contribution to the continued dialogue about the transgender community, and reminds us yet again of the crucial need for all of us to be totally supportive of their journeys — particularly in the present political climate.

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.

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