Born to Be

  • Queer
  • 1h 32m
  • Documentary Feature
  • UK Premiere
  • 2019

Born To Be follows Dr. Jess Ting at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York, where transgender and gender non-conforming people have access to quality transition-related health and surgical care. This documentary takes an intimate look at how Dr. Ting’s work impacts his patients’ lives.

Tania Cypriano has been working between the United States and her native Brazil for more than twenty-five years. Her work has been shown around the world in places such as the MoMA, the Jerusalem Film Festival, the Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival, and the Berlin International Film Festival.

Film Review: In 2015, New York passed a law requiring health insurance companies to cover gender-affirming treatments for transgender patients - a historic moment for the LGBTQ+ movement. Tania Cypriano’s 2019 documentary Born to Be follows the pioneering work of Dr. Jess Ting at the Center of Transgender Medicine and Surgery in Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, which offers several procedures ranging from facial reconstruction to phalloplasty, procedures for which demand is sharply increasing. We follow a number of Dr. Ting’s patients before and after their procedures, as they explore the complexities around not only liking how they look but how they connect with how they look. How does one navigate the very real conflicts faced when internal and external self-images lie in antithesis with each other? This documentary shows the intimacy of surgery and the psychological impacts of Dr. Ting’s work rather than the physical ones. Born to Be offers an incredibly humanising take on what can often be misconstrued as a sterile and impersonal environment; here, in the hospital, these individuals are finally able to feel at home in their bodies for the first time - and for many of them, the procedures carried out are nothing short of life-saving. Bryony Chellew


Transformation Productions


With Director Tania Cypriano, Dr Jess Ting, Mahogany Phillips and Garnet Rubio 24 June at 7pm UK time

Live Link


Tania Cypriano

Executive Producer

Susan Norget

Executive Producer

Michelle Hayashi

Executive Producer

J Winkelreid

Executive Producer

Molly Fowler


Michelle Hayashi

Director of Photography

Jeffrey Johnson


Troy Herion