From Born to Be (2020), dir. Tania Cypriano (image courtesy Kino Lorber)

The Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery is the first medical center of its kind in New York City, holistically offering people gender-affirming care. Opened in the wake of New York becoming the ninth state to require that health insurance plans include gender care in 2015, the clinic has seen a wide array of patients during its first few years of operations. These patients and their doctors are the leads of the new documentary Born to Be, directed by Tania Cypriano.

The core of the story coalesces around the logistical challenges and adjustments that come with forging into a new realm of medicine. Accordingly, if there’s a main character, it’s Dr. Jess Ting, who was brought on to lead the center despite previously having no experience in transgender care, having come instead from the world of plastic surgery. Through him the film explains the unique aspects of trans care, underscoring how crucial institutional compassion is for these people’s physical and mental well-being.

YouTube video

Born to Be is now available in virtual cinemas.

Dan Schindel is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Brooklyn, and a former associate editor at Hyperallergic. His portfolio and links are here.