This week I talked with producer Christine Beebe about her new digital documentary series "We've Been Around" that shares five previously untold stories of transgender pioneers. The series is directed by Rhys Ernst, co-producer of Transparent and is presented in partnership with Focus Features, Time Inc. and The Advocate. Beebe teamed up with Ernst and a number of creative collaborators from the transgender community to research, produce and create these important films. From the narrators to the composer to the animator, the series was made with a range of talent from the transgender community. The team includes Transparent actress Alexandra Billings, writer and filmmaker Susan Stryker and trans historian Monica Roberts. The episodes each run under six minutes and include "S.T.A.R." that tracks the modern transgender rights movement from the activism of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera who were participants in the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Then "Little Axe" profiles trans man Wilmer Broadnax a popular gospel singer and his brother Willie Broadnax as they sang their way to success from the 1940s to the 1970s. "Lou Sullivan" recounts the life of Lou Sullivan a pioneering transgender gay man and AIDS activist. "Albert Cashier" illuminates the 19th-century trailblazing of Albert Cashier a transgender man who fought in the Civil War and "Lucy Hicks Anderson" that recounts the story of Lucy Hicks Anderson a woman of color who thrived during Prohibition and stood her ground to protect her marriage rights after being exposed as a transgender woman. I talked to Christine about this groundbreaking digital documentary series and her spin on our LGBT civil rights.
When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Beebe stated:
I would say that my goal is to use storytelling like this series is personal storytelling, and I find that to be very compelling and I hope it resonates with people on a level that they feel like they understand the subject now that they might not have known otherwise. And with this series and other work that I want to do, I want to use the medium to share struggles of those who came before us and this will help lead the LGBT community in the future. I hope that this does that and so a project like this is really fantastic for me on a personal level and on a work level to be involved with something like this.
Christine Beebe produces documentaries, episodic web series, branded content, multi-media spots and music videos. Christine holds her MFA in Film Directing from CalArts. A pioneer in her own right just by living her life, Beebe was one of the few to be officially married in 2007 during that small window of time in California before Prop 8 when marriage equality was legal. She is a mother of two young children. "We've Been Around" which tells previously untold histories of transgender trailblazers premiered earlier this month exclusively across three Time Inc. websites People.com, EW.com and Essence.com as well as on Advocate.com.
To Watch Series: advocate.com