Jennifer Lopez revealed that the upcoming short film "Draw With Me" is "close to her heart" because it features a family member who came out as transgender.
"'Draw With Me' is a story about a transgender youth and their journey of coming out to their family and also engaging in their art to help them cope with the feelings they were having during this time," Lopez said in an Instagram post Saturday. "It's a story that's very close to my heart, because it was a family affair."
Lopez added that the short film focuses on her "nibling," Brendon Scholl. Nibling is a gender-neutral term used in place of niece or nephew.
"It's about accepting change and challenges with love and knowing that whenever we do, anything is possible," Lopez said in enumerating the reasons why the film is significant. "Also because Brendon is my nibling."
Viewers are introduced to Brendon in footage from the short film that followed Lopez's introduction.
"My name's Brendon. I use they/them/their pronouns," Scholl said. "It was in eighth grade when I finally felt comfortable with saying that I'm trans."
The footage also includes Scholl's mother and Lopez's sister, Leslie Ann Lopez, who explains the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity.
"Sexual preference is who you go to bed with and your [gender] identity is who you got to bed as," said Leslie Ann Lopez, who recalled Brendan coming out to her as trans after she found their chest binder in the wash.
"I said, 'Well, don't you want to be a girl?' And they kind of looked at me and said, 'I'm not a girl, mom," Lopez recalled. "When my child told me, 'When I look in the mirror, I don't feel comfortable with the body I'm in' ... I mean, a lot of people can understand that."
Brendon's father, Rob Scholl, added that, "It's tough enough trying to fit in as a kid, but trying to fit in and being misgendered makes it a whole other degree of difficult."
"Draw With Me" chronicles how Scholl turned to art to cope with the struggles over others not accepting their gender identity.
"I shouldn't have to be scared to tell people who I am," Brendon said. "If they don't like me because I'm trans, it's their loss."
"Draw With Me" was directed by Constantine Venetopoulos in collaboration with The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth.
Lopez did not include the "Draw With Me" release date but said that the full film will soon be available at festivals worldwide and on-demand video.
If you or someone you know is being discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender identity, or feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project's Trevor Lifeline 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available 24/7 via chat every day at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting 678-678.