This month, Rialto Channel is presenting unflinching documentaries that reflect the realities of rainbow communities, every Thursday night. express talks to Elle Walsh, star of the Australian documentary Girl Like You (encore screening on Monday 13 February) which follows the evolution of her relationship with her girlfriend Lauren as Elle transitions.

Elle Walsh is the drummer of up-and-coming Perth band, The Love Junkies, and has been openly transgender ever since she understood what the word meant. But it is only after meeting her girlfriend Lauren, that Elle decides she wants to physically transition, piquing the interests of filmmakers Francis Elliott and Samantha Marlowe (who Elle has known since childhood).

“Only 7% of relationships survive a partner gender transitioning,” Elle ominously claims in the documentary’s early minutes. The couple seem besotted with each other and it’s hard to believe this is foreshadowing the harrowing breakdown of their relationship.


“The most important thing to me was the honesty of it,” Elle tells express of Girl Like You, adding she drew a lot of inspiration from the Canadian documentary She’s a Boy I Knew.

Neither documentary glamorises transitioning. In both, the subject’s relationships fall apart, and at times they feel isolated from their friends and family.

Elle argues this is important for people to see their realities. “You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to get on the wrong hormone dosage and go a bit nuts. You’re going to be freaking out about people looking at you on the train. There’s a lot to get used to.”

Elle Walsh in Girl Like You.

She tells us seeing She’s a Boy I Knew, “made me realise what could happen,” and she hoped Girl Like You could be similarly useful for others preparing themselves to transition.

“When you talk to most trans women about transitioning, we say, ‘that bit was so hard. I took it out on my partner’ or ‘I started drinking too much.’ It’s a difficult thing. But that doesn’t stop it from being completely worth it. I am very happy with the life I have now,” she tells us.

The raw documentary sees Elle focus all her energy on her transition, showing little consideration or care for her partner Lauren during the six years filmmakers follow them.

Showing admirable self-reflection, she says she feels the hour-long edit of the 300 hours of filmed footage is an “accurate representation of what happened.”

“I was in my mid-20s when we filmed. It’s not in the film, but my dad had recently passed away from cancer. When I watch it, I see a lot of pain. I also see a lot of toxic behaviour. To publicly put that out is quite embarrassing. It’s a breakup for me from someone that I really loved, so that is painful to watch, but I am still glad I did it.”

Elle and Lauren in Girl Like You.

Following a Girl Like You’s first screening on ABC in Australia, Elle tells us she received mixed feedback from the trans community.

“There were a bunch of women who messaged me and now some of them, I consider friends. We have a Facebook group, like a support group, which is really lovely.

“There was a section of the trans community that wasn’t that happy with the documentary. They saw it as cis people having a comment on trans people. I disagree with it, but I understand their point because I do come out of it looking a bit shit. But that wasn’t unfair. The truth of it was, I was being a pain in the ass!”

“The one thing I didn’t do that I really wish I had, was to be more mindful of other the people around me because it is a transition for them too. I know that’s putting the pressure back on the trans person, which is unfair, but you end up talking about it non-stop and drive people up the wall!”

For those out there who are transitioning or thinking of transitioning, Elle recommends getting, “all the therapy you can get your hands on! Anything that will help your mental health.”

Girl Like You screens on Rialto Channel at 7.15pm on Monday 13 February.

Rialto Channel’s other must-see Pride documentaries include:

Into My Name.


Encore screening 9.20pm Tuesday 21 February

From executive director Elliot Page, Into My Name follows four Italian trans men who band together to support each other through their transitions. Director Nicolò Bassetti says supporting his own son’s transition inspired him to make this film, and initially hides the men’s faces to force audiences to truly listen to their words. 


Premieres at 8.30pm Thursday 16 February

This French documentary skewers the repressive surrogacy and adoption laws that still affect many gay couples. Aurelien and Nicolas decide their only remaining option for having children is through international surrogacy and connect with a Las Vegas-based surrogate. Highlighting both extreme lengths and air miles many gay couples have to go to, and the ever-expanding and controversial surrogacy industry. Ghosts of the République will haunt you!


Premieres at 8.30pm on Thursday 23 February.
Sylvie knows her grandmother Nelly was a concentration camp survivor but suspects that much of her story has not been told. As she delves through old letters and keepsakes, the unlikely love story of two women falling in love on Christmas Eve, 1944, in the Ravensbrück concentration camp is told. Nelly & Nadine is a truly inspiring love story. Have your tissues ready.

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