Watch. Do. Share.

Get inspired and get involved with this film
from our Second Annual UnLonely Interactive FilmFest.

Watch. Do. Share.

Get inspired and get involved with this film from our Second Annual UnLonely Interactive FilmFest.

See this FilmReturn to Lobby

Transgender in the Military: Camouflaged Identity

LGBTQ, Military, Minorities/On the Margins, UnLonely Film Festival 2

Follow the five steps below to get the most out of your UnLonely Film Festival experience!

Step 1: Watch the film.


A portrait of several transgender military members and their struggles to serve openly. The isolation and fear of exposure mix with pride and the struggle for personal freedom, even as they are committed to protecting our collective liberty.

About the FIlmmakers

Gillian Laub is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker based in New York. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in comparative literature before studying photography at the International Center of Photography, where her love of visual storytelling and family narratives began.

Shaul Schwarz is an Israeli documentary film director, cinematographer and award-winning photojournalist. His feature-length documentary Narco Cultura premiered at Sundance in 2013 and he has shot and directed content for TNT, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, and CNN.  He is a regular photographic contributor to TIME Magazine and National Geographic. He is currently developing his third feature-length documentary. Schwarz is the founder of Reel Peak Films.


Step 2: Explore these things after watching the film.

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Reflective Questions

  • Have you experienced the rejection of a loved one for revealing an aspect of yourself that they hadn’t known about? Or have you rejected or closed yourself off to a loved one or family member based on being surprised by a certain aspect of who they were?
  • Have you ever had the experience of trying to hide something in your professional setting? How did it impact your quality of work? How did it feel emotionally and physically?
  • Are there ways that you’ve changed in recent years that have made old pictures of you seem alien? A different lifestyle? Children? The natural aging process? What has the experience been like confronting them?


  • What is your secret identity? Do you feel there is a public you and private you that comes out only after somebody puts the time in to really get to know you? Write about this secret identity: what are the traits that are hidden, what are the traits that are public? How does it feel to live in the skin of the public self vs. the private or hidden self? Are there things the secret self would do that the public self wouldn’t?   
  • A blind self-portrait.  Some artists create a self-portrait relying on a mirror to ensure a likeness to the external self, but here, you will rely only on the interior image you have of yourself as your reference.  After you’ve selected your drawing tools and paper, close your eyes and pull up in your mind an image of yourself. Examine this image closely and try to consider each of the facial features individually. What is the biggest facial feature? What are the distances between the eyes, the eyes, and mouth, the nose, and mouth? Once you have drawn your self-portrait, reflect on your success. Do you recognize it? Do others?
  • Embrace the power of transformation and try your hand at origami. One can purchase origami kits that come with paper and instructions or watch a few tutorials online and use thin or lighter stock paper that you have around the house. It is important to take it slow and count your breaths while applying the steady and strong support it needs.

PS: Looking for even more ways to "creatively connect?"  Follow this link for a few other ideas.

Step 3: Join in the conversation about the film.


  1. Teresa Cox

    So well heard and then expressed. I had no idea what a transgender human had to encounter for being who they ate and in the military. Thank you.

  2. Kathryn Evers

    Makes me sad for them. Their orientation or identity shouldn’t affect their ability to serve like anyone else.

  3. Jake

    Some of these shots come across as excessively voyeuristic (i.e. did we really need to see her get down to her underwear to change?) – one thing that really grinds my gears in media created by cis people about trans people is this hyper-focus on “transformation” – painting gender as a costume that trans people “put on” through these extended scenes of trans people getting dressed and performing basic grooming/hygiene routines.

    That said, it’s good to shed a light on instances of employment discrimination, especially when that discrimination is carried out by the government itself.


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