Director Shaleece Haas brought her film Real Boy; a coming-of-age documentary about Bennett Wallace, a transgender teenager on a journey to find his voice as a musician, a friend, a son, and a man to Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre on Monday, March 6.

Navigating the ups and downs of young adulthood, Bennett Wallace works to gain the support of his mother, who has deep misgivings about her child’s transition. As tension mounts at home, Bennett is taken in by his idol, Joe Stevens, the lead singer of the alt-Americana band, Coyote Grace. Exploring how our search for personal identity also involves those closest to us, REAL BOY is a nuanced look at the new American family and the people we turn to when our given families are unavailable. REAL BOY has been screened at more than 70 festivals worldwide, received more than 15 awards, and will be broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens in June 2017.

The morning of the screening, the director and Joe Stevens went into the community and spoke with Long Branch High School’s Gay Straight Alliances Club. The Q&A opportunity was filled with music, love, and support.