“Soldier’s Girl” is the Peabody Award winning film portraying my relationship with Barry Winchell, an Army PFC who was eventually murdered in his sleep by fellow soldiers on the 4th of July, 1999. These men obscured their motives by falsely labeling Barry “gay” to turn the other soldiers against him and used this as a justification to explain their horrible crime.
The story is heartbreaking, and it is told in a beautifully made film. “Soldier’s Girl” has touched the lives of millions of viewers. Working with the director, writer, producers and actors on this film was a way for me to honor Barry’s memory and lend strength to his parents’ fight against the Army and the politics that made the possibility of this tragedy all too easy.
Lee Pace (as “Calpernia”) gives a sensitive, award-winning performance as me, and Troy Garity (as “Barry”) delivers one of the best performances I have ever seen on film. I encourage people to watch the movie and let their work touch your heart, mind and soul. But please remember that they are actors in a film, and while “Soldier’s Girl” is very accurate, there are important differences between me and the actor onscreen.
If you want to know who I am, what I look and sound like and where my life has taken me, choose one of the links above and explore my site. Thank you!
* I do not profit from these links, or the sale/rental of the movie
Special Note: If you ever chance to meet me in person, please do not make me talk about Barry’s murder. Countless people I’ve just met immediately bring up his murder as a light conversational topic, either directly or through mentioning the movie and then asking me questions about the real-life experience. I don’t think these people realize that this was not just a movie, it was a real, personal, painful event and not something I like to discuss over dinner, in a shopping mall or at a party. Thank you!
Questions many people have asked:
- When can I get the video/DVD of the movie? It is available for order from Amazon.com
- What were the songs in the film? Did you really perform them? Yes, I actually performed those and many more. You can see some of my act from those days in the video “Conversation with Calpernia”.The main songs in the movie were:
- #1 Crush – Garbage (Baz Luhrman Remix)
- Save Me – KD Lang
- Consequences of Falling – KD Lang
- Still Thrives This Love – KD Lang
- Cold – Annie Lennox
- Dreamer – Toni Childs (* This was supposed to be the theme song of the film, but it didn’t make it in. Check it out… it’s very haunting and beautiful. You can listen by clicking Here and scrolling down to preview. It’s not like any of her other songs, and is really the only song I like on the album)
- How real was the movie? How close to actual events? The movie was very accurate, based on my cooperation with the writer, director, actors and producers. The writer, Ron Nyswaner, also did a lot of research with recordings from the trial, and visited the main places where things happened in Nashville. A very few things were changed to move the story along… some names, a few composite characters, etc. And I must state for the record that I did not actually live in a trailer. Other than that, the movie was very close to reality.
- Are you in the movie? No, a walk-on part for me was mentioned at one point, but I didn’t want my first movie role to be in this film.
- Isn’t “Soldier’s Girl” just a way for you to make money and try to be famous off of a tragedy in your life? I wrote a full essay on this question, which you can read here. Surprisingly to me, some horrible people have asked this question, so here is the short answer. I offered to work on “Soldier’s Girl” for free, although I was eventually compensated a small amount for my consulting. It was never my goal to make money from the movie, and I do not make money from it now. “Soldier’s Girl” is owned by Showtime as of this writing, and sales of the movie as well as control of how and when it’s shown are all properties of Showtime. As for “fame,” the people who ask this question probably imagine a situation quite different from the reality. The true results of being so well known are that I will never be able to live in complete stealth and will always have most of my life story at the fingertips of anyone curious enough to browse the internet. For most transsexual women, the whole process of transition is about starting over fresh in a life where people aren’t prejudiced by information from the past, but for me this will never be possible; movie or no movie, the newspapers and media outlets made sure that the story is forever archived on the web and in libraries. So I decided to embrace the attention and clarify my true story with this webpage and interviews, but in terms of benefits, this “fame” has been a white elephant. I’d give back any and everything that has happened since July 4th, 1999, if it would undo the tragedy of that night.
- When did “Soldier’s Girl” come out? It premiered at Sundance on January 20th, 2003. It then went on to other film festivals before premiering May 31, 2003 on Showtime. See my Sundance/Soldier’s Girl diary entry for that day or www.sho.com for more details.
- Did Lee Pace (the actor who portrayed you) have real breasts? Many people have asked me this, it seems to be quite a point of interest. No, Lee’s breasts in the movie were expertly crafted and applied silicone prosthetics. A new set were made for each day. In the mini-documentary that showed after the film, there was a brief shot of them being removed from Lee’s chest.