Jessica Bair was born Jonathan and raised in the Mormon church, but her specific tale is something more universal and relatable than anyone could imagine. A story of someone seeking acceptance from the people she has devoted so much of her love and life to, This is Jessica is unique in both its voice and scope. While we haven’t all experienced something similar to being a transgender in a conservative religious community, we have all experienced being rejected by people we love and working to find our “tribe”. With this in mind, this is a documentary that anyone and everyone can find something to relate to in. It is powerful, emotional, and – most of all – inspiring.
Jessica’s story is all her own, but begins much like many Mormon males. Placing God and country at the forefront, with a high and tight cut at work and traditional male roles in the home, Jessica (then Jonathan) knew something wasn’t right for quite some time. Hearing her tell the story in her own words, however, is what makes this story more than just any other story. But something else sets it apart, as well.
When Jessica hits walls and speedbumps, she powers through with love and a desire to still be part of the faith community. When the Church persecutes and pushes, we often see people turn their back right off and never look back. While this response is certainly valid, it’s not Jessica’s. Instead, Jessica sought to continue to be part of the church, share her faith, and grow in concert with her community. With varied results, her ability and willingness to keep pushing is not short of magnificent.
Jessica’s desire to continue to seek God and continue to bolster the Mormon community throughout this documentary is simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking. Seeing the community push back and display institutional hatred is at times crushing, but Jessica’s resilience is incredible. Where exactly she lands is something you’ll need to watch to find out, but the continuous push and pull is something so real and so relatable.
In other words, most of us can’t imagine the pain, strength, and preseverance that Jessica’s story represents, but we can certainly understand the gamut of real emotions she displays throughout this fantastic documentary. This is an eye-opening and inspirational portrait that will make even the coldest heart feel something deeper than surface level.
Andrea Meyerson’s documentary is an award winning look at bravery, strength, and transformation. This is Jessica is available to rent or purchase on most major VOD platforms now.