James Alen Mikael Rios | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

James Alen Mikael Rios 
Member since Nov 4, 2014


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Re: “Passing Ellenville to Hold New York Premiere at the 15th Annual Woodstock Film Festival

This is the trailer and the film is only a short one right now. The film makers hope to make it much longer. A longer film will be able to go into more detail of our lives and what it is like for us to live in Ellenville.

This story is about us (Ashlee and I) and our transition there. It is NOT about the town of Ellenville or the average person living here. The film is called "Passing Ellenville" for two reasons:

1) Both of us were living there at the time the film was made. We were trying to "pass" as out preferred gender in this town.

2) The film makers were just "passing" through and telling a story about two of the trans youth they met in town (us). When you pass through a town, you also pass through some of the towns around it. That is why they showed the prison. Our town is little and Napanoch is our next door neighbor.

I hope that clears up your questions about the film. As for your comment, "What a slap in the face to those of us who grew up there and worked for decades for equality..." I'm sorry you took it that way.

When it comes to racial equality, this is the most diverse town I have ever lived in. The people of Ellenville should take pride in that. I can also see this town taking the steps in the right direction for LGBTQ equality.

The fact that there are people struggling here financially isn't specifically the town's fault. There are people struggling everywhere these days. I'm the minority here because I'm transgender. I'm not the minority here when it comes to living in poverty. You can pretend there isn't lots of poor people in Ellenville but that doesn't make us disappear at the end of the day.

Despite my financial situation, I LIKE living here. When I first started to feel at home here, I realized it had been years since I felt at home anywhere. Even though I never went to Ellenville School, I feel like I grew up here. Everywhere before here, I was just a scared kid that never had a chance. Ellenville gave me a chance to grow up so I did. I'm not doing as well as I would like in this point in time but I've come far from where I started. I have Family of Woodstock and this town to thank for that and I will always have a soft spot for both.

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Posted by James Alen Mikael Rios on 11/04/2014 at 1:14 AM

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