Gigi Lazzarato, born Gregory Lazzarato, is a Canadian YouTube personality who came out as transgender following the death of her mother, Judith, in 2012. This Barbara-Kopple-directed, ninety-minute documentary – a compilation of childhood home footage, past YouTube video clips, and contemporary reflections from Lazzarato and those close to her – pieces together moments of a colourful yet challenging past as it follows the life of Lazzarato before, during and after her male-to-female transition.
Lazzarato’s transition is anything but straightforward. It’s made up of a complex set of steps that she and those close to her follow as they attempt to navigate to a place where she is finally happy with her body and identity. She changes her name, begins taking hormones, undergoes facial feminisation surgery (FFS), receives breast implants, and this all at times creates strain between Lazzarato and her conservative father, David, as David attempts to get to grips with what he fears to be the slow loss of his son.
‘Lazzarato’s transition is anything but straightforward. It’s made up of a complex set of steps … she attempts to navigate to a place where she is finally happy with her body and identity’
There are several touching moments in this film, but Lazzarato’s reflection on watching her mother stop breathing is one of the most striking, and seemingly most pivotal, in her decision to change her gender identity. As Lazzarato puts it, “When my mom passed away, I thought life is too short. I decided right then and there that I wanted to be a girl.”
In addition to these sombre moments, there are a healthy number of lighter, more optimistic scenes, which become more frequent as Lazzarato’s transition is shown to progress. Her physical transformation is shown to be complete during her appearance at her father’s wedding, and other standout moments include her discovery of her name change and her modelling appearance at New York Fashion Week.
In terms of the quality of the documentary, the video-editing is generally very slick but reassuringly stops short of seeming overproduced, which means often at times it is easy to forget that you are really watching a curated collection of old clips. The use of titles is absolutely excellent: the year and/or age of Lazzarato at key points in the documentary is something frequently made clear, as are the names of the people that she is with. The music is also well-chosen and rarely distracting.
As much as this film benefits from a focus on Lazzarato herself, who is extremely bubbly and charismatic, the inclusion of her brothers and father’s reflections on her transition makes the feel-good, empowerment message conveyed throughout the film so powerful. As her family members seem completely different to her, her brothers’ total support for her transition, and her father’s sincere struggle before a similar line of support, create this encouraging sense that you don’t have to be anything like someone else to empathise and support what they are going through.
A vibrant, thought-provoking and eye-opening look into the life of a transgender person fearlessly taking control over their own future, This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous is a definite must-see for anyone who is struggling to understand, or simply interested in finding out more about, the transgender community and their past and present struggles.
‘A vibrant, thought-provoking and eye-opening look into the life of a transgender person fearlessly taking control over their own future’
Although this documentary film focuses on Lazzarato’s very personal journey of transition from Gregory to Gigi, there is a belief she embraces throughout that speaks not only to the rest of the LGBTQ+ community, but to every human being. In short, it’s this idea that you should just be you and not worry about what anyone else thinks. After all, life is too short to do anything else.
Although Lazzarato appears more upbeat than ever during the film’s closing credits, it’s important to note that the short segment preceding this, summarising her 5-hour detainment in an airport in Dubai simply for being transgender, highlights that the very real stigma associated with the community still lingers. Lazzarato left Dubai freely, but others cannot.
While this film may hopefully help normalize attitudes towards people like Lazzarato, the journey to ending LGBTQ+ discrimination is far from over. As Lazzarato says, “It’s not my fight, it’s our fight, it’s all of our fight.” Enjoy the film, then keep fighting.
// Matthew Nolan