Friends and chosen family of the late transgender filmmaker Christopher Lee will gather in Oakland this weekend for screenings of four of his films and to celebrate his life nearly a year after his death.
Lee, who was also known as Christoph, died by suicide December 22, 2012. He was 48.
On Saturday, December 21, several organizations will present “Christopher Lee: A Community Celebration and Film Screening” at the New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street in Oakland’s Uptown district. Program 1, which will screen Trappings of Transhood and Christopher’s Chronicles, is scheduled for noon to 1:45 p.m. Program 2 will take place from 2 to 4:45 p.m. and includes Alley of the Tranny Boys and Sex Flesh in Blood. Tickets can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com or at the door. The cost is $10 per program. Onsite childcare will be available.
Lee was long involved in local film circles and helped found Tranny Fest, now called the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival.
Organizers said that following the screenings, representatives from the Transgender Law Center will provide information on new legislation that they plan to put forward next year in collaboration with Equality California. The legislation was sparked in part by Lee’s chosen family’s work to have his death certificate reflect his chosen name and gender identity.
In addition, organizers are inviting attendees to bring fliers, brochures, or other materials related to supporting the health, resilience, art, and culture of transgender people and their families, and to share them at resource tables that will be available.
“It’s so important to celebrate and honor those who we have lost,” TLC executive Director Masen Davis said in a statement. “Christopher’s legacy will live on in so many ways, one of which is inspiring the momentum to change the law so that all Californians can have their gender identity respected upon their passing.”
Chino Scott-Chung, a member of Lee’s chosen family, said that Lee was his brother, best friend, and confidante.
“He had that way of looking right into your eyes, looking for that place where he could find you, where his deeply etched smile lives,” Scott-Chung said. “Christopher lives.”
A number of community leaders who were featured in Trappings of Transhood will be present, including writer and public health consultant Willy Wilkinson, who noted that the film is a historic documentation of the lives of a multicultural group “of transmasculine individuals at a time when few genuine representations of us existed.”
In addition to TLC and the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival, some of the other co-sponsors include Dragon’s Blood Rising, the New Parkway Theater, Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women and Transgender Community, Lolo Cooperative Health, and Fresh Meat Productions.
Christopher Lee (Photo: Courtesy Shivaun Nestor)