Produced and Directed by Porter Gale and Laleh Soomekh | Stanford University | Documentary | 13 min. | June 2000
At only 13 minutes XXXY is essential filmmaking. A look at people born with ambiguous genitalia who had the grave misfortune of having their sex surgically decided for them as infants, the film concisely and powerfully conveys horror, injustice and tremendous personal fortitude. And it does all this through its straightforward cinematic visit with 25 year-old Kristi and clinical psychologist Howard Devore, two individuals who endured the experience themselves. The film’s stripped down quality means there’s nothing to interfere with the pair’s stories; the impact is profound. Plenty of others thought so too; after a successful international festival run, the film was awarded a student Academy Award Gold Medal.
The most affecting of the videos that challenge traditional concepts of sex and gender identity is Laleh Soomekh and Porter Gale's XXXY: two individuals born with features of both genders describe hideous multiple surgeries and identity crises that brought them to the edge of suicide, and implore us to protect infants and young children from these operations.