It has been easy to find the stories of lesbians, gays and even bisexuals in this world. Even growing up, I was exposed to stories involving lesbians and gays. Finding stories that positively portray the transsexual experience is a lot more difficult.
“I Stand Corrected” is the story of Jennifer Leitham. As part of Mel Torme’s band, she won a Grammy. She had a position with Doc Severinsten’s band as well as was the leader of Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” Orchestra. Yet, throughout most of those events, she was known as John. Many years ago, she disappeared like a caterpillar entering a cocoon and emerged into the world as Jennifer.
Jennifer first came to realize that she was in the wrong sex when she hit puberty. For many trans people, this is a normal time for this realization, though some (including myself) discover this disparity between our assigned gender and our true gender much earlier. While Jennifer had always felt like a girl, she was having to endure the horrors of having her body transform into one that was absolutely male. She immersed herself in music and became a great jazz bass player.
Being trans is never easy, and very hard for people to understand. After all, cis people often think of their gender and their sex as being identical. For someone who is trans or, in some cases, intersexual this is not the case, and that can often cause turmoil and depression.
According to the press release:
More than a film simply about a transgender’s ordeal, it’s about the transformation of a beleaguered individual into an amazing musician and a confident stage performer – an extraordinary journey into happiness. This is not either a transgender film per say, but is rather a formidable character study: An intimate and compassionate study of Leitham’s life, the film explores the self-doubts and fears she wrestled with as she rose through the ranks of an often homophobic jazz world, and celebrates the joy she discovered after embracing her female identity. . .Learning about transgender lives can break stereotypes and help audiences see the human side of an issue they may not have encountered personally.
The film is currently traveling the film festival circuit and will be in New York City on 21 June, Frameline San Francisco on 22 June, Outfest in Los Angeles on 16 July and Philadelphia Qfest on 19 and 20 July.
“I Stand Corrected” won the “Audience Favorite Award” for Best Film at the American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs and also won the “Award Choice” for Best Documentary Feature at the Seattle Transgender Film Festival.
“As you watch Jennifer Leitham perform, it’s instantly obvious the tall striking redhead is an original. This world-famous jazz bassist plays her instrument left handed (something virtually unheard of in the profession) and when she takes center-stage – standing to play rather than sitting – her entire body seems to dance with the bass as her mane of long, fiery hair whips and bobs to the blistering pace set by her fingers. Noted jazz critic Leonard Feather referred to her as the ‘left-handed virtuoso of the upright bass.’”
ABOUT “I STAND CORRECTED”:
I STAND CORRECTED, a compelling documentary from filmmaker Andrea Meyerson, charts Leitham’s extraordinary rise to the top as a virtuoso of the upright bass and reveals how she risked it all with her decision to undergo sexual correction surgery. An intimate and compassionate study of Leitham’s life, the film explores the self-doubts and fears she wrestled with as she rose through the ranks of an often homophobic jazz world, and celebrates the joy she discovered after embracing her female identity.
Weaving together “before and after” stills and footage, I STAND CORRECTED incorporates candid interviews with Leitham and several other jazz luminaries such as “Tonight Show” band leader Doc Severinsen and drummer Ed Shaughnessy, along with a broad variety of entertainers and friends of Leitham’s including Roy McCurdy, Denny Tedesco, Sweet Baby J’ai, Gary Chen, talent agent Dale Sheets and jazz entrepreneur Todd Barkin among others.
ABOUT FILMMAKER ANDREA MEYERSON:
Andrea Meyerson is an award-winning creator of film and television programming as well as a successful producer of concerts and live comedy shows. As president of StandOut Productions she has produced and directed more than 25 feature films, television specials and series episodes which continue to air on Showtime and MTV’s Logo Network.
Meyerson is also a prolific producer of live comedy shows and concerts. Since founding StandOut Productions in 1997, she has staged events featuring some of the country’s best-known comics and musical artists including Wanda Sykes, Roseanne Barr, k.d. lang, Indigo Girls and Brandi Carlile. In 2010, she launched CURIOUSLY STRONG COMEDY, a national comedy tour featuring some of the hottest comics on the circuit today.
The recipient of numerous awards for her activism in the areas of LGBT and women’s rights, Meyerson was the recipient of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center’s L.A.C.E (Lesbians Active in Community Empowerment) Award in 2002. PowerUp honored her as one of the “10 Amazing Women in Showbiz” in 2004. In 2006, she received the WIN Outstanding Women Award from the Women’s Image Network and was one of three finalists for PlanetOut’s Entrepreneur of the Year.
Andrea made history in 2007 when she became the first out lesbian to receive the YWCA’s Women of Achievement Award in Arts & Entertainment. In March of 2008, Andrea was honored with the prestigious Human Rights Campaign’s “Local Hero Award.” Meyerson is also the founder of Women On A Roll, one of the country’s largest organizations for lesbians.