Jennifer Lopez has shared a short film featuring her transgender nibling, a gender-neutral term referring to the child of a sibling.
The production, Draw With Me, depicts the journey to acceptance and self-acceptance of Brendon Scholl, the 19-year-old child of Leslie Lopez, Jennifer’s sister.
In an introduction to the film, which Jennifer shared Sunday on Instagram, the singer explained that “the film is important and timely in its story and message, and can have a huge impact on those of us who watch and experience what Brendon and their family is going through in this time of acceptance and admission.”
“It’s a story that is very close to my heart, because it was a family affair. It’s about accepting change and challenges with love, and knowing when we do everything is possible,” she said.
In the five-minute video, Brendon, who uses they/them pronouns, revealed how it took until eighth grade to declare as transgender. And coming out was not an easy road.
“The darkest point was definitely when I wasn’t out to any of my teachers or my parents,” said Brendon, adding, “I was worried about when I came out, that would be like the last straw, so to speak.”
Brendon finally came out to their mother when she discovered a chest binder in their room and they explained to her what it meant. Even then, it took time for the family to come to terms with their child’s gender identity.
“It caused a strain between me and Brendon. We had some knockdown drag-outs,” Leslie said.
Draw With Me delved into mental health issues and the power of painting in navigating them. When Brendon was “terrified … art gave me an outlet for the things that I couldn’t say out loud but things that I needed to get out of my system,” they said.
Brendon’s thoughts of suicide were also addressed and how their family responded.
“When it finally hit me, like, oh my God, my kid just trying to kill themself, it just hit me,” Leslie said, adding, “When you finally get to the acceptance part, then you realize it’s not about you. This is about my child.”
Draw With Me showed how acceptance from family members, including a social media post from Brendon’s famous aunt, helped this young person in their journey.
“I’m just hit with how lucky I am in terms of family and friends, When Jen made a post using the right pronouns, it felt really nice to have a family member, in a very public way, show their support,” Brendon said. “It makes me appreciate things that other people will do for me and for anyone else who’s struggling.”
Jennifer is a longtime ally of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2014, she received GLAAD’s Vanguard Award for producing The Fosters, a show about a rainbow family dedicated to her late lesbian aunt.
Written and directed by Constantine Venetopoulos, Draw With Me will soon debut as a full-length documentary in festivals and VOD. Watch the clip below.