We Just Want to Be™

Why this film matters


As survivor's of conversion therapy, and subjects in the development of what is now called Gender Dysphoria, I wanted to tell our story and document the costs to us as children. It should not be a secret that our lives were and are impacted by the medicalization of our identities by these studies and doctors at UCLA. 

Why do our stories of being Assigned Female at Birth (AFAB) and targeted as tomboys matter?

Because LGBTQ children are raised to believe that we are mentally ill.

Many of us suffer from self-loathing and internalize messages that support this.

Many of us self-medicate, self harm or have and continue to commit suicide in response to being subjected to experimental therapies that built a pathology to support the need to "correct" us and our gender and sexual identities.

From 1965 to 1985, UCLA Gender Identity Research Project subjected hundreds of young children to illegal and unethical experiments to extract data to support their theories that gender dysphoria was wrong and needed to be fixed.

This documentary explores the experience of several people who survived this ordeal and, despite the clinicians' best efforts, have lived to tell the story and reject the definition that gender is binary. 

Telling our stories matters for our future generations. It ensures that those who come after will not have to internalize what others project onto them nor the erroneous and dangerous idea that we are mentally ill. 

Sé's Journey in Images

BEFORE

                  How I arrived in the world.

DURING

 My third grade school photo, the year I was at UCLA for the second time.

AFTER

 Me today, as I celebrate my freedom and healing.

How you can get involved

Become a participant in the film  •  Bring Dr. Sullivan to your institution or art gallery  •  Donate funds

Participate in the film

Were you or someone you know subjected to conversion therapy
at UCLA between 1965 and 1985?
If so, please send us an email below.

Bring Sé to Your Community

Dr. Sullivan has a traveling art exhibit, and they also are available for presentations, workshops and longer engagements to help educate communities on the destructive impacts that are a direct result of conversion therapy.

Donate

Please consider a donation of any size. Your financial support helps with equipment, travel expenses, and hiring a first-rate team to produce and direct this film. Together we can get this story out and continue the conversation.

The Hope

"Sullivan's work promises to open other pathways toward more holistic and less alienated ways of understanding the social meanings of gender."

Dr. Tiffany Willboughby-Heard
Associate Professor
African-American Studies, 
University of California, Irvine

The Importance

"I am so grateful and excited that Sé is making a documentary about child survivors of the UCLA Gender Identity Research Clinic. Unfortunately, this kind of medical abuse of gender non-conforming and queer kids is still happening. This film will allow more people to learn how this kind of medical abuse works and how we can come together in resistance."

Dean Spade, J.D. 
Professor
Seattle University

The Vulnerability 

"Sé Sullivan courageously uses their own personal story to interrogate the medical industrial complex's deep investments in maintaining the gender binary. The work is inspiring in its honesty and complexity. Sullivan challenges us to grapple with a violent history and to recognize and celebrate queer resistance in the face of that violence."

Priya Kandaswamy 
Associate Professor + Program Chair
Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Mills College