DOC NYC 2018: Family in Transition

Family in Transition

Family in Transition profiles the Tzuk family’s experience in northern Israel as Amit Tzuk undergoes a gender transition.

Transitioning is not a decision that is made lightly.  Some of us transition at a young age while others hold out for as long as possible.  Transitioning isn’t without risks.  There’s the people we care about and transitioning means possibly losing them.  Losing her wife is a risk that Amit makes by coming out as a woman.  While their marriage ultimately ends in divorce after 24 years, Galit held on for as long as possible.

The Tzuk family lives in Nahariya, on close to the Israeli-Lebanon border.  The town is less accepting of their family.  Not every town can be Tel Aviv!  This is the challenge of living as an openly transgender person in Israel.  It’s one thing for family members to be accepting but if your community rejects you, you have to move.

Together, Amit and Galit are the parents of four children.  Having children together also means having to push through transitioning without losing their family.  Early on, it appears that Amit had the full support of her wife.  It looked as though they survive Amit’s surgery but then something happened.  Mentally, Amit didn’t quite recover quick enough following surgery.  Call it stubbornness or something else but Amit’s mental health seemingly took a turn for the worst.  Galit had enough and decided to ask for a divorce.

Amit’s transition led Galit to ask herself the important questions.  Who is she and what does she want in life?  After all, they were married at such a young age.

When Amit comes out at 42 years old, one of the big concerns is the children.  We get glimpses of them talking about being teased in school because of Amit coming out.  This isn’t right at all!

The divorce is where things get tricky especially in Israel were the Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) rabbinate has such a stronghold on religious law.  Worst of all, Amit wouldn’t grant Galit a divorce.  In Jewish law, this is referred to as a “get.”  In some religious interpretations, a get is no longer required following a medical transition.  In any event, Amit is recognized as a woman under Israeli civil law.  Religious law, unfortunately, still views her as a man.

I give Galit a lot of credit for staying with Amit for as long as she can.  In many instances, the spouse leaves almost immediately.  The fact that they have four children shows the urgent need to make it work.  While things ultimately don’t work out, it isn’t for the lack of trying.

In a perfect world, films like Family in Transition wouldn’t have to be made to show that more progress is needed.  The reality is that when it comes to transgender acceptance, there’s still a lot of work ahead of us.  If Amit’s story helps just one person struggling with gender identity or transphobia, this film will be considered a success.

DIRECTOR:  Ofir Trainin
FEATURING:  Amit Tzuk, Galit Tzuk, Yuval Tzuk, Yarden Tzuk, Agam Tzuk, Peleg Tzuk

Family in Transition (Mishpakha BiTrans) held its international premiere during DOC NYC 2018.  Abramorama opens Family in Transition in select theaters on November 16, 2018.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.