family ties

WATCH: A man learns to accept his trans grandson in this powerful short animated film

Images from 'Pacemaker'

The creators of a short animated musical with a trans-positive message yesterday released it widely on YouTube and Vimeo. The film’s release coincides with Transgender Awareness Week.

Pacemaker has already picked up awards when it hit the LGBTQ+ film festival circuit earlier this year. However, it’s now available for everyone to watch online for free.

It features Alex Newell, who earlier this year became the first non-binary performer to win a Tony Award for acting, and Grammy-winning singer and actor Philip Lawrence.

Pacemaker centers on a grandfather who’s awaiting a procedure to get a pacemaker. Cody is their trans grandson, although the older man is still calling them by their old name.

Cody visits his grandpa wanting some advice about love. Grandpa is horrified to discover that Cody has a crush on a girl. However, he remembers back to how he met the woman he later settled with, and how some people didn’t approve of the relationship. He concedes that one must follow the rhythm of one’s heart, even if others disapprove or struggle to understand.


Composer Christopher Lennertz wrote the original song featured in the story and the screenplay. He says he was inspired by his own trans son.

“This film is a love letter to my own family’s journey towards understanding and accepting the identities and purposes of all individuals, Lennertz said in a statement.

“Inspired by my son Tobi and our shared love for classic animated musicals, we set out to create a film that captures the essence of beloved classics but delivers a fresh message of love and pride for families within the LGBTQIA+ community and the world. Love emerges victorious when we follow the rhythm of our hearts.”

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