The Opposite Sex: Rene's Story

Rene’s Story is a documentary on Showtime which aired the other day.

“The first of two documentaries charting the progress of transgendered individuals undergoing sex-change surgery. Hosted by Emmy winner Dr. Bruce Hensel.”

The reviews for this program have been mostly excellent. Here is one from the Hollywood Reporter.

Here’s another review from the Advocate.

I have yet to see this program. But I can’t wait. It looks to be fascinating, original, and most of all, a frank view into a world I know nothing about. A world I can only imagine being fraught with difficulties and prejudices that I will never know.

So…has anyone seen it? If so, please comment – I’d be greatly interested in Dopers’ opinions.

I didn’t see it from the very beginning, but I thought it was really good. At times, Rene’s overcompensation and self-centeredness, especially with regards to his S.O., made me cringe, but I liked the very realistic portrayal of his feelings and what he had to go through, as well as how he changed & evolved (i.e., from “Bottom line, I want the biggest dick I can get” to “I want something that’s going to make me feel whole as a person”). There was also no way he could be mistaken for, say, a confused lesbian with internalized homophobia/coming out issues - this was definitely a guy who got dealt the wrong equipment. I couldn’t watch all the surgical stuff - I have sort of a phobia about that, but I was glad they showed it because it was informative. And even though I don’t particularly like Rene, I’m glad they picked him for the film because he just doesn’t fit anyone’s stereotype of what a transsexual “should” be like (the religious stuff, the politics, etc. This was no San Francisco transman!) The panel afterwards was great, too. The first transman they introduced (I can’t remember his name) was just so down to earth and frankly, very charismatic. I enjoyed listening to what he had to say about his experience. All in all, I thought it was a show capable of changing minds significantly, which is pretty powerful for a T.V. show.

I’d definitely encourage anyone to watch it when it comes on again.

So, did you get to see it yet, leander? What did you think?

Thanks much for the reply. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen it yet, and probably won’t be able to for a few weeks. It airs here next Tuesday, but I won’t be around for it. So I guess I’ll have to wait, unless they put it on DVD or video sooner.

But from what you (and the reviewers) have said, it sounds fascinating. A must-see indeed. And I loved this line:

That, to me, says a lot about a program.

Thanks again, jellyblue.

(And anyone else who’s seen it please feel free to comment…)

I just watched this documentary and one thing really stuck out, that Rene was acting like a jerk most of the time, his arrogant, often rude comments, her or his all about me attitude made me lose any empathy for her, she treated her family like they didn’t matter and the stupid attitudes about the big dick was just disgusting, he didn’t need a dick, he was acting like one. The statements like “even if I die, I will have died happy”. His or her treatment of his wife was abusive, and to go through all of that surgery to end up with that tiny little lump must have been very disappointing to everyone. He states that he didn’t lie saying he was a MAN, that he had always been a man, when he knew he was born a female, even boys are not born men, and it is not just having a penis that makes a man.

I hope that now that everything could be done to make this person happy that they grow up, start treating others with love, compassion and respect. Rather than throwing a tantrum, verbally abusing the family that loves him, or her, stop worrying about penis and balls and start being a human, I really didn’t like that person and felt so bad for the wife that was lied to, her parents that were lied to regardless what Rene thinks, he lied. I hope his wife will go out and find someone that loves her, not just themselves. I wonder who paid for all of that surgery? Oh well, I am not sure anyone will care about my opinion about this, but I just had to say this. Rene Grow up and stop thinking only of yourself, you came across as a big spoiled baby. Very unattractive in every way, on every level. People need to stop being so self obsessed and count the blessings they have.

God bless and heal you, Wana go find a real man, you were deceived, run away, this person is just so immature and thoughtless…

I came across this documentary by accident and saw only the last 50 minutes of it. I’ll need to watch the entire documentary but, based upon what I did see, I could not agree more with Paindora. I sensed Rene’s partner, Wana, to be the primary victim here.
Rene’s self-centered attitude and the abusive nature by which he treated Wana makes it difficult to believe that he would–or could–find a true sense of fulfillment from his surgery.
Does anyone know if there has been a follow-up to the documentary? I’ m very interested to know what happened to Rene and Wana.

For those people who may not have noticed, the OP was dated 05-05-2004 or in a diff format, that is: 04/05/05 - yet another format is: May 5, 2004.

It bothers me there are so many diff formats for dates. But this program was first broadcast approx ten years ago and for those people who may have not noticed that, it may be difficult for them to find info and/or reviews about this show without knowing that.

I any event, I hope to see it. This program certainly looks very interesting and I wish you all welll with regards to this program.

They did divorce and he is in a new happy relationship