Archive for May, 2009
…but I think I better give my readers/viewers all sides.
One of the subjects in my current film told me repeatedly before she died that she was abandoned by her family when she became a woman. KrysAnne Hembrough (born Kevin) had all the proof. She showed me hate mail from her family and throughout her terminal illness only one family member visited regularly before she died.
But since her death KrysAnne’s family has been writing me about how she abandoned them beginning year’s earlier. That they were pushed away.
It may seem like something that is better left alone but KrysAnne’s story is a very important part of our look at the isolation that leaves many LGBT folks without anyone to take care for them.
Was it her own fault as they said?
Then this email was sitting on my computer [sic]:
IF I RECIEVE ONE MORE FUCKING REDICULOUS UNHUMAN EMAIL ABOUT THIS – I WILL SEEK LEGAL ACTION …… Ann Marie Kelly a prourd female Hembrough…..
Subject: Re: I AM SERIOUS…..
Who are you? I have not intentionally been sending you anything.
From AnneMarie@XXXXXXX (address deleted by moderator) wrote:
I am ANN MARIE the tenth of eleven Hebrough children — I had said along time ago to my big brother KEVIN “God have MERCY on your soul” He new that –
So, Was KrysAnne right all along?
Good Evening Stu,
My name is Bill Hembrough, I’m Krysalis’s younger brother by seven years. I need to let you know that neither of Krys’s parents, none of her siblings, children or family at large ever abandoned her.
For quite a few years we looked at her as more or less a recluse. When she did re-connect, much to our shock, it was as a woman. I congratulate you for your efforts. When I became aware of Krys’s issues, I did my best to understand and to learn. She just doesn’t seem to fit the profile. Her family knew her better than most. As an older brother she took that position with honor. Generous, warm and protective. Although, it was always obvious to everyone, that she craved and needed extra attention. An easy enough thing to forgive and to overlook.
I hope, in fact, that her story doesn’t detract from those,who are in my mind, in more legitimate need. Let me explain it this way. If Krys could have changed the color of her skin, she would have done that, in a heartbeat. Simply to cry out “Please look at me”! The note that you displayed on your web page, my guess was sent by who we call “Little Kevin”. He had every right to send it.
He is basically penniless, mentally ill, a recovering drug addict/alcoholic and a child abuse survivor. He is to be congratulated for his efforts and sympathized with for his past. Stu, the story has a myriad of chapters. None of which, could in any fashion, suggest abandonment of Krys by her family.
If we had been sought out prior to Krys’s transformation, we would have been there to love, help and assist. Whether or not we agreed or approved, we loved this person. Thank you again Stu for your efforts.
As production continues on my latest documentary, Gen Silent, the relatives of one of our subjects, KrysAnne Hembrough, are revealing a new side of their troubled relationship with her.
Before her death, Hembrough claimed that she was abandoned by loved ones when she (then known as Kevin) became a woman. Original post
Not true and very oversimplified, according to a younger brother, Patrick, who took the time to email me with his family’s concern about how they were being portrayed.
His very insightful response is unedited below and I’m grateful to be in communication with him- to gain more understanding:
My Contribution to KrysAnne’s Story
Growing up in a family of 11 children is challenging enough. Add to that an authoritarian, unapproachable, and psychologically abusive father and a mother who everyone calls a ‘living saint’. Catholics will understand that all saints must suffer in silence. Our mother excelled at this. But our mother is a nurturing woman – not strong, not powerful – but full of love and empathy for all beings. Her love more than compensated for what we did not get from our father. Not exactly The Brady Bunch but not a family deserving of pity either.
As the eldest son, Kevin followed the only role model he had. As a teenager, man, husband and father he assumed this outwardly authoritarian and unapproachable role. But this was a conflicted role and one that never quite fit. His heart, and often his words, reached out for a more nurturing, harmonious, more ‘family’ environment but he had neither the tools nor the skills to fulfill this role. Frustrated in this role, Kevin chose alcohol, drugs and, finally, he chose complete abandonment of his family…choices made many years before this transformation.
Having lived abroad now for 7 years, I knew Kevin. I did not know KrysAnne except through emails and phone conversations. In these emails and conversations with me over the past few years, the tone remained bitter and resentful for a life ruined by circumstances with blame and animosity for all family members.
Our brothers and sisters have all grown and matured more or less successfully despite the same demons. Each accepts responsibility for his/her fate. I’m afraid I never heard a word from Kevin/KrysAnne accepting responsibility for his/her fate. I received one of those letters. I did not return mine. I opened it and read words of contempt, anger and bitterness. Given the child-like writing, I suspect his own son sent the letter posted in your blog. I can not speak for all of my siblings, however, had KrysAnne made any heartfelt attempt to reach out to her family, as she did to me in the last few years, far more of us would have provided support and made a sincere effort to understand and help.
In her final days, we spoke on the telephone and she still expressed her contempt for our mother’s inability to stand up to the tyrant and ‘protect’ us. That was more than 40 years ago. KrysAnne said she intended to confront our mother yet again about this subject before dying. A sad way to live and a sadder way to die. I will never know the full story of why and what drove Kevin to pursue this remedy for his troubled life. Perhaps this was a new and more comfortable role. However, this new role was still tainted. A bit of the the victim and the martyr came through.
Throughout his life, Kevin threw out the terms ‘sissy’ and ‘fag’ with ease, often directed at me. However, if this new role brought some comfort and peace…even joy, to this tortured soul, I am truly happy.
I no longer feel like I am shouting in the dark. Showing the trailer of our documentary about older gays and lesbians going back into the closet has been an eye opener for many this week here in Boston. I was honored to show our first look at the film at the GLBT Film Festival.
Now we put it out there for the world to react to:
I’m pleased to announce that our latest documentary, Gen Silent, has been awarded non-profit status through the Center for Media Change and we will be accepting donations through its innovative website ReelChanges.org
It’s a big step for this film and a vote of confidence in its important message.
Your gift is now tax-deductible and 100 percent of your donation goes to completion of the documentary. No fees are taken out for processing your contribution; and, a receipt of your donation is emailed to you immediately.
Stu Maddux, Director Gen Silent
A portion of the FAQ:
What is ReelChanges.org?
ReelChanges.org facilitates public micro-financing of quality-screened documentary projects.
Is ReelChanges.org a for-profit business?
No. ReelChanges.org is owned and operated by the Center for Media Change, Inc., a 501c3, non-profit organization based in Palo Alto, California. Donations made to individual documentary projects through this website are fully tax-deductible.
What is the mission of the Center for Media Change, Inc.?
The mission of the Center for Media Change, Inc. is to improve our culture by enabling the creation and distribution of more high-quality documentaries. More…
“I wasn’t concerned about the audience liking the trailer as much as I was the people who have agreed to be in our film,” said Gen Silent director Stu Maddux after the public’s first look at the latest offering from MAD STU Productions. Gen Silent, a full-length documentary looking at the problem of LGBT elders facing so much fear about discrimination in healthcare/long-term care that they often hide their sexuality and forgo medical care.
At Boston’s GLBT Film Festival, applause for the trailer lasted more than a half-minute. “But it was the hugs from those seniors and experts who agreed to be filmed that let me know they are pleased with how we are telling their story, added Maddux. that’s very important to me.”
Gen Silent is scheduled for completion in September.
KrysAnne Hembrough, one of the seniors profiled in the latest Stu Maddux documentary, Gen Silent, died early this morning in her sleep. Hembrough had been fighting an aggressive form of cancer for several years. She was 60.
In the fall of 2008, Maddux chose Hembrough to be one of the seniors profiled in his film about LGBT elders facing fear and isolation in their struggle for adequate health/long-term care. Hembrough, a trangendered woman, had few friends and was estranged from her family. “She was in a desperate struggle to find people to take care of her in her final days and that’s is what will be showing in this film,” says Maddux. “We will also be showing a woman with immense hope and a passion for life.”
One of Krys Anne’s final wishes was to see some form of the finished film and attend its premiere. While the documentary is not scheduled for completion until the Fall, a trailer was just a few week’s from being done. “We knew that her illness was reaching its final stages and we were in our own desperate struggle to get the trailer completed before she passed away,” added Maddux.
Hembrough was able to see the trailer three days before she died. Bob Linscott (LGBT Aging Project), who made the hospital room viewing possible, says that she watched it repeatedly in tears.