Inspired by her transgender son, activist Jodie Patterson explores identity, gender, race, and authenticity to tell the story of a family’s history and transformation.
As an African American growing up in the 1970s on Manhattan’s Upper West Side during a time when neighborhoods defined people, Jodie Patterson learned early on to engage with her community for strength and comfort. But then in 2009, this mother of five had her world turned upside down. Realizing her definition of community wasn’t wide enough for her own child’s needs, Jodie forced the world wide open.
In The Bold World, we witness a mother, reshaping her attitudes and beliefs, as well as those of her community, to meet the needs of her transgender son, Penelope—along with her own and those of everyone in her family who absolutely, unequivocally refused to conform. Jodie’s relentless drive to change the world reminds us of our own individual strength and tenacity, of our very real fears and, most of all, of our singular ability to transform despite the odds.
As we walk alongside Jodie on her journey, we meetthe Southern women who came before her—the mother, grandmothers, and aunts who raised and fortified Jodie, all the while challenging cultural norms and gender expectations. She shares her family’s history—particularly incidents within the Black community around sexism, racism, and civil rights. We learn about her children, who act as a vehicle for Jodie’s own growth and acceptance of her diverse family, and her experiences as a wife, mother, and, eventually, activist. The result is an intimate portrait and an exquisite study in identity, courage, and love that will resonate with and inspire us all.