Jake Graf

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Jake Graf, born in London, is a transgender actor, writer, and director. Currently living in the United Kingdom.

Graf specializes in short films dealing with transgender issues in an effort to normalize queer and trans experiences to a wider, more mainstream audience.[1] Many of Graf’s films emphasize the daily lived experiences of trans men.

Early life[edit]

According to Graf, he was vocal from a young age about his knowledge of being a boy, despite being raised and treated as a girl. Feeling that he was missing parts that other boys had, Graf felt isolated and reclusive as a child. Around the age of puberty, Graf learned to keep these feelings to himself, until eventually beginning the process of transitioning at 28 years old.[2] This process would serve as the inspiration for Graf's first short film, X-Why.[3]

Early career[edit]

Graf's first work within the industry was a screenplay dealing with his experiences in making a female to male transition.[4] Short films such as X-WHY (2011), Brace (2015), and Chance (2015) have given the film director a way to open up about his gender identity by explaining what it was like to go through the process of being a transgender individual.

Personal life[edit]

Jake Graf and his wife, Hannah Winterbourne, announced their engagement in 2017 after Graf proposed in New York City.[5] Winterbourne is an engineer with the British Army and currently is the highest ranking transgender officer.[6] The couple has expressed interest in having children, and will likely do so through surrogacy.[7]

Short films[edit]

Brace (2015)[edit]

Brace is a short trans-themed film written by Graf. The film is about the relationship between Adam, played by Graff, and Rocky, played by Harry Rundle. As the film progresses, the two men fall in love with each other. Throughout the film, Adam has a secret that he does not know if his partner will ever accept. The film makes it clear that both characters want to be accepted within the society which, to do so, they must accept themselves. The film was described as “a queer film festival favourite…” due to its subject matter.[8]

Brace is loosely based on Graf's own experience of transitioning from female to male. According to Graf, the name Brace alludes to the relationship between the two male leads, described by him as "a pair, a coupling," but it also references the film's theme of bracing oneself for the impact of unexpected news, for example. Graf also attributes the title to a brace as a sort of architectural support that serves to fortify and strengthen a structure.[9]

Chance (2015)[edit]

The protagonist Trevor begins to feel his life has no meaning after the death of his wife. He begins to feel very lonely within his everyday living until he meets up with someone who is going through the same emotions. Both of them share this similarity; they both start to relive their lives. Chance was directed and produced by Graf and was screened at 35 different film festivals.[10]

Dusk (2017)[edit]

Dusk is a 15 minute film about a man born in a female body in the 1950s who, due to societal pressures of the time, lives to old age as a woman. Graf was inspired to make the film Dusk when he received an e-mail from a trans woman who shared her experience of living as a gay man into her seventies.[11]

As an actor[edit]

Graf appears as Gaston Arman de Caillavet in the 2018 film Colette.

Achievements[edit]

Graf became the first transgender film director to appear on four magazine covers, including QX. He also wrote an article for Cosmopolitan titled, "17 things you should never say to a trans person," and after a few of his short films, he is in the process of making another one called Dawn.[10] In 2015, Graf was invited to visit the White House to take part in a Q&A with president Barack Obama.[10] In 2016, Graf has been featured in G Zone magazine, Turkey and the middle East's LGBT Magazine, and is one of the official faces of the FTM Magazine.

In 2015, Graf was one of 101 people nominated for a Rainbow Award, which recognizes prominent lgbtq+ people in Britain. The nomination acknowledges Graf’s work in raising awareness of trans and queer issues through film.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shiel, J. (July 1, 2017). "It seems like a lot of people don't even know trans men exist". Gay Times.
  2. ^ Hinde, N., Driscoll, B. (September 30, 2015). "Jake Graf, Transgender Filmmaker And Cover Star, On Why Trans Men Need Greater Visibility In The Media". The Huffington Post UK.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Interview: Jake Graf talks Short Films and Trans Representation". FilmDoo. 2017-07-11. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  4. ^ "The New Current". The New Current. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  5. ^ Sandeman, G. (September 27, 2017). "Transgender Army Captain to Marry Danish Girl Actor". London, England. The Times.
  6. ^ Gilmour, A. (November 16, 2016). "Hannah Winterbourne, Britain's highest ranking transgender soldier". The Financial Times.
  7. ^ Sandeman, G. (September 27, 2017). "Transgender Army Captain to Marry Danish Girl Actor". London, England. The Times.
  8. ^ Hoff, Victor. "Interview: Jake Graf". LGBT Weekly. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  9. ^ DapperQ (October 15, 2015). "Interview with sharp dressed Transgender Filmmaker Jake Graf". DapperQ: Transgressing Men's Fashion.
  10. ^ a b c "JAKE GRAF - PAVING THE WAY FOR TRANS VISIBILITY - LGBT History Month Magazine UK".
  11. ^ Shiel, J. (2017, July 1). "It seems like a lot of people don't even know trans men exist". Gay Times.
  12. ^ Morrison, S. (November 15, 2015). "Rainbow List 2015: 1 to 101". The Independent.