4100 Redwood Rd #406
Oakland, CA 94619

THY WILL BE DONE: A transsexual woman's journey through family and faith

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Human Rights: Civil Rights, Gender, Religion, Sexuality, Social Exclusion
Politics: Activism, Ethics & Value Systems

Project Geography

US: National

Identity Niches

Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Transgender, Religious, Women


Raised to date: $18,700.00
Estimate to complete: $137,039.00
Total Estimated Budget: $155,739.00
The budget numbers above are accurate as of 06/30/2009


Post Production

Media Type


Project End Use


Key Personnel

Alice Bouvrie
Alice Bouvrie - Producer/Director
25 years of film and documentary experience. M.S. in Film Production from Boston University and M.A. in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University.  Active member of the Director's Guild of America, and former board member of Women in Film & Video/New England.  Graduate of the DGA Producer's Training Program, New York.  Worked as an Assistant Director on feature films, TV series and specials, commercials and industrials for 10 years.
Producer of award winning independent documentaries since 1994.
2005-06 Filmmaker-In-Residence at WGBH, Boston

Outreach/Engagement Plan(s)

We are committed to an audience engagement strategy that is informed by LGBTI rights issues within broader faith communities as well as in secular domains.  Using our extensive list of Churches, interfaith groups, affinity groups, LGBTI organizations and related non-profits, we will offer the film for their use in caucuses, discussion groups and community building. (ie; Transgender Religious Leaders Network,  PFLAG, Interfaith voices for Peace and Justice, National Religious Leadership Roundtable, Outspirit etc.) Screenings with discussions will be arranged nationwide.  Members of the LGBTI activist community (ie; Lambda Legal, More Light Churches) will be given the opportunity to include the film in their outreach efforts and presentations.  An agent has been hired to help with promotion and outreach and will engage in permission marketing, blogging and other management strategies.
Transgender internet news groups, online blog sites and discussion venues, will facilitate getting information about the film out to thousands of readers, as well as reposted to other groups.  Using applied technology, from social web sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIN, to twitter and cell phones, interested parties will have the opportunity to arrange screenings in local and regional venues.  Distribution and cable broadcast offers will be solicited, (Logo, HBO, Sundance) as well as  participation in niche and general audience festivals.  Calendars and notecards with portraits of transsexuals and related images, with text from the film and contact information, are in development to support editing and early outreach. 


Open Meadows Foundation$1,000.0006/05/2010
E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation$10,000.0001/22/2010
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence$1,000.0007/17/2009
Arlington Cultural Arts Council$700.0001/01/2006
Misc Donations$12,000.0005/01/2005
Private Donor$3,000.0004/01/2003
Arlington Cultural Arts Council$1,500.0001/01/2003


143 Woodside Lane
Arlington, 02474

Short Synopsis

THY WILL BE DONE follows Male-to-Female Transsexual Sara Herwig in her path to ordination in the Presbyterian Church.  Efforts have been made to block her ordination by the evangelical conservative groups who don't recognize her as female and question her fitness to be a Pastor..... but who also challenge her candidacy because she is in a same-sex relationship, with a woman. At issue is the organized Christian Church, with all its political and financial power, as one of the fiercest battlegrounds for LGBT rights and gender recognition.


THY WILL BE DONE: A Transsexual Woman's Journey Through Family and Faith  is a feature length documentary video that addresses issues of gender justice and sexual equality in the faith communities.

More than anything in the world Sara Herwig, a Male-to-Female Transsexual, hopes to become an ordained Minister in the Presbyterian Church.  In September 2002, Sara was accepted as a candidate for ordination.  She is now on the path to becoming a minister with a church of her own, but her openness about her personal history has made the road to completion difficult.  Sara's sexual transition goes against many members' ideas of biblical guidance and her possible ordination is a divisive issue among the church presbyters and congregation.  Efforts have been made to block her ordination, but if Sara is successful, she will be the first openly transsexual to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church.

Recently, Sara's chances for ordination have come up against yet another stumbling block.  In March of last year, she married Jenn, a biological female.  Presbyterian policy states that anyone who is in a same-sex relationship is not eligible to be ordained. The Church's conservative groups do not recognize Sara as female, but rather see her as a gay man.  And yet, they will not acknowledge her eligibility as a candidate for ordination because she is in a "same-sex" relationship….. as a woman.

The Pastor at First Waltham is Jean Southard, who officiated at the wedding ceremony and who has been a supportive and strategic mentor to Sara.  Now, Jean too is thrust into the limelight for her "insubordination" because she has violated yet another Church policy - marriages in the Church can only be between a man and a woman.  Jean is now fighting charges made against her by the Presbyterian Church, which may potentially strip her of her status as Minister.  The complex and contradictory nature of these issues cannot be overstated, as we see a major religious institution caught between established policy and social conservative groups on the one hand, and the push for progressive social changes on the other.

In addition to issues of acceptance and justice in the professional arena, this is also a film about acceptance and faith in relationship and family.  In confronting obstacles and pursuing her goals, Sara needs acceptance from family and friends - their support is crucial to her professional success and mental health - but that too, has been a long struggle. Although two of her three brothers still refuse to speak to her, Sara's mother and daughter describe the conflicted feelings they had as they tried to understand, accept and make sense of their relationship with Sara. Their sense of loss, their devotion to Sara, and the complicated love that followed, forced them to redefine their faith.  Sara's ex-wife Billie presents an emotional narrative of their early courtship and marriage, of their life as the model young couple who struggled in vain to follow conservative evangelical interpretation of scripture that sees transsexualism as a sin.

THY WILL BE DONE explores these complex issues as they are contextualized in the Presbyterian Church in particular, and in the broader religious community in general. The film promises to empower those affected and motivate those who may be in positions of power to make changes.  At issue is the organized Christian Church, with all its political and financial power, as one of the fiercest battlegrounds for LGBT rights and gender recognition.  And as for Sara, she actively seeks not only to participate in the Ministry as an openly transgendered person, but as an activist who seeks to transform a world - spiritual and otherwise - that operates by conventional notions of sex and gender.

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