Meet Monica (Again) - Mental Health & Chosen Family

Meet Monica (Again) – Mental Health & Chosen Family


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

Glenn is an award-winning director who loves to create compelling documentary story experiences of all lengths for screens of all sizes. He is an avid reader, studied literature in college, and his passion for stories with strong characters and interesting narratives stems from those years. His career as a visual storyteller began at WHYY (the public television station in Philadelphia) where he worked for 15 years before becoming an independent filmmaker. In addition to his PBS documentaries about arts and culture, he has directed films about justice and human rights, and now, mental health. He was emboldened to undertake his current documentary project, Hollywood Beauty Salon, a colorful feature-length documentary about surviving mental illness and finding the courage for recovery, after his transformative experience directing OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie, along with Bud Clayman and Scott Johnston.