Sir: Just a Normal Guy

A film by Melanie La Rosa

2001 | 57 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 05865


Screened to acclaim at Gay & Lesbian Film Festivals worldwide and LBGT events across the nation, this candid and courageous portrait of more than 15-months in the female-to-male (FTM) transition of Jay Snider explores both the emotional and physical changes of this profound experience--beginning prior to hormones and concluding after top surgery. Footage shot before and after the surgery captures dramatic physical transitions, while intimate interviews with Jay, his ex-husband, his best friend and his lesbian-identified partner aptly capture the emotional and psychological shifts that occur during the process. With support from those closest to him, Jay’s experience is remarkably positive, though not without conflict. During the course of the film, he renews long-distant ties with his brother, but also faces permanent estrangement from his parents.

SIR is an in-depth and humanizing exploration of the challenges, discrimination, and alienation faced by transsexuals. Jay’s conflicted feelings around queer identification are portrayed along with his significant other’s continued identification as lesbian. A much-needed look at FTM transition, the film demonstrates both the fluidity of sexual identification and that love and human resilience can triumph over deep-rooted differences.


“Sir: Just A Normal Guy humanizes many of the issues faced by transgender people in a profound and compelling way. The film helps foster understanding of the reality of transsexual experience, and is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to promote this understanding.”

Matt Coles Director, Lesbian & Gay Rights Project, ACLU

"One of the most provocative films this year is this diaristic look at FTM transition.”

Gary Morris Bay Area Reporter

“A wonderful tool for any courses focusing on the role and definition of gender and sexuality as influenced by societal norms. It fills a particular void in the lack of educational resources regarding the female to male transition.”

Dr. Carol Cobb-Nettleton Adjunct Associate Professor and Clinical Coordinator, Widener University, PALU

“A powerful teaching device for any course interested in clarifying misconceptions about transgenderism and giving students the conceptual tools to understand the debate around gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender identities. Definitely a much needed contribution to gender studies classrooms!”

Patricia Melzer Women’s Studies, Temple University


  • OUTrageous: Santa Barbara LGBT Film Festival
  • New Festival, The New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
  • Berkeley Film and Video Festival, Honorable Mention
  • Washington, DC Reel Affirmations Film Festival
  • Chicago Reeling Film Fest
  • IndieFest: The San Francisco Independent Film Festival
  • TrannyFest San Francisco
  • First International Queer Arts Festival, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Western Psychological Association Convention Film Festival
  • Auckland, Melbourne, Milwaukee, Olympia, Seattle, Semarang, Sydney, Tampa, Vancouver and Winnipeg Lesbian and Gay Film Festivals


Melanie La Rosa

Melanie is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, and educator. Her documentaries focus on social issue stories and have generated critical acclaim and applause at human rights festivals and organizations. These include: Sir: Just A Normal Guy (2001), which was reviewed as a sensitive first-person portrait of a widely misunderstood area of human experience; and The Poetry Deal: a film with Diane di Prima (2011), which was released to acclaim as a rare glimpse into this avant-garde poet's storied life. Both films have screened nationally and internationally, and are in wide educational distribution. Sir: Just A Normal Guy won two awards and The Poetry Deal has been widely cited in literary and scholarly research.

Melanie's films have been recognized with grants from the New York State Arts Council, the Eastman Fund, the Brooklyn Arts Council, The Puffin Foundation, The Yip Harburg Foundation, the Solutions Journalism Project, the IFP Project Involve, and a residency at the Starry Night artist retreat. Her celebratory video about the historical importance of LGBTQ literature, made for the Lambda Literary Awards, was featured to outstanding reviews on (7/19)

Beyond her own filmmaking, Melanie also worked for Emmy- and Peabody-award winning journalist Maria Hinojosa at Futuro Media Group, as a Special Projects Producer, creating multi-platform media events for the NPR show “Latino USA” and the PBS series “America By The Numbers with Maria Hinojosa.”

Melanie is an Assistant Professor teaching film and media production at Pace University. She grew up in Lansing, Michigan, and lives in New York City.


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