Meet Monica (Again) – Mental Health & Chosen Family
by Glenn Holsten
Meet Monica. A strong young woman who was not always so. Her journey for self-acceptance includes rejection from church and family. At a very dark time in her young life, she was homeless, suicidal and vulnerable. However, an inner drive to survive and live a life that was true pushed her through the depression and fueled her search for a brighter future.
I created this film and wrote these words in 2014, and I’m more than happy to share them both with you again. Monica’s story of struggle and strength is desperately needed today, as many of the issues and challenges she faced as a trans youth are being faced by a new generation of young trans people.
Monica’s story is inspiring, as is the impact it has had on the world since it premiered on OC87 Recovery Diaries. It came to the attention of the good folks at Frameline’s Youth in Motion Series, which provides free LGBTQ+ films and curriculum guides to Genders & Sexualities Alliances (formerly known as Gay-Straight Alliances) and educators in schools nationwide. Youth in Motion supports more than 28,000 students in over 1,400 schools in all 50 states. Through our partnership with Frameline, Monica’s story was shared on demand and online on PrideTV, in South Africa; Here TV, and Comcast Xfinity. It even screened as an in-flight entertainment option on Alaska Airlines (!) for a period of months and was featured at the Translations film festival in Seattle, WA.
When I feel down about the lack of empathy and understanding in the world, I am heartened by the tireless efforts of people who share their stories in hopes of creating a better world, one filled with love and appreciation for all. Stories that help us become less scared of each other and allow us to engage with another’s humanness and creativity may be the key to how we move forward as a society. Stories—like Monica’s story—bring us together.
By reaching out to key area health agencies, Monica was connected with wonderful counselors, supporters and a network of friends that helped her work through her dark days and significant challenges. She is loved by a group of friends and admirers. And now, surrounded by a chosen family, she now faces the future with hope. She is Monica. She is unique. She is strong. Now complete.
EDITOR IN CHIEF: Gabriel Nathan | EDITOR: Glenn Holsten | DESIGN: Leah Alexandra Goldstein | PUBLISHER: Bud Clayman
See Related Recovery Stories: BIPOC Mental Health Recovery Stories, Depression, Mental Health Short Films