Is it a boy? Is it a girl? What if it’s neither? This award-winning documentary explores the world of the intersexed (formerly known as hermaphrodites) — those born with any one of 30 conditions that make their gender ambiguous. Presenter Mani Bruce Mitchell — New Zealand’s first ‘out’ intersex person — and director Grant Lahood had to travel overseas to find interviewees who would talk freely. They discuss living in a society with a binary view of gender which, at best, has made them all but invisible; and, at worst, has subjected many to damaging “corrective” surgery.
This documentary traces the life of intersex activist Mani Mitchell. 'Intersexual' is a term to describe a person with atypical combinations of the biological features that usually distinguish males from females. Mitchell's harrowing but ultimately inspiring story is told via candid and articulate interviews, as Mitchell talks about being made a "hospital freak show tour" by doctors, and growing up secretly 'middlesex'. The Dominion Post's Jane Bowron called Mani's Story "one of the great survivor stories". It won the 2004 Qantas Media Award for Best Documentary.
Every year pride parades celebrate LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) culture and pride. But Wellington takatāpui (Māori LGBTI) activist, Kassie Hartendorp, feels alienated from the flamboyant festivity. "It’s glittery, it’s fun, it’s fabulous. It feels empty. I don’t really know what the point is sometimes, you know.” In this Loading Doc short documentary, Hartendorp talks about wanting pride celebrations to be more inclusive of takatāpui. She faces a dilemma when her takatāpui kapa haka group are invited to perform at the Wellington Pride Parade.