Ladies and Gentlemen, she HAS a PENIS!

TransAmericaI saw TransAmerica at the Bridge Theater in San Francisco last night, and it blew me away. For those who live in a media-free bubble like I usually do, it’s a new movie about a transgendered woman (i.e., male-to-female) who suddenly finds out she has a teenage son. And it’s a really, really good movie. Great writing, great cinematography, great cast, great humanistic depiction of a transgendered life. When the credits rolled, the audience clapped. I haven’t experienced that since Star Wars Episode 1. I’ve noticed a trend these days, though. A number of TV shows and movies that challenge traditional gender and sexuality roles are poking their head into mainstream pop culture, but doing so very carefully. HBO and Showtime now give us Queer as Folk and The L-Word. Brokeback Mountain has stolen the Oscars limelight. A new tv series about polygamy will premier in March. And it’s all very non-offensive. The actress is TransAmerica (Felicity Huffman) is not, as far as I can tell, transgendered. In fact, she’s so female, she’s also a cast member of Desperate Housewives. The L-Word takes place in Los Angeles and features the most Hollywood-esque pretty-girl lesbians I’ve never met. Brokeback Mountain stars the manly Heath Ledger, for goodness sake, and his gay character is ultra-masculine. I think Queer as Folk is the only one depicting queer culture somewhat in-your-face and unapologetically, but they don’t seem to be reaching outside of that culture for a diverse audience, either. I’ve also noticed that these shows and movies aren’t getting seen everywhere. Brokeback Mountain was in every theater in San Francisco, but I couldn’t find it when I visited my parents on the East coast for Christmas. Really, though, these are minor complaints. I want to see the United States be as exposed as possible to all of the different “others” that exist out there. If we need to gasp at sugar-coated lesbians and 100%-passing transgendered characters from our living room sofas in order to get the dialogue started, let’s do it.I grew up in 99% white-anglo-saxon-protestant-upper-middle-class-heterosexual New Hampshire, and I now live in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. It feels like my daily life is hosting a constant debate between diversity and sameness. And without asking for the position, I’m becoming the spokeswoman to my family for what life is really like “out there in the rest of the world.” I don’t mind. I like the job. But I’d appreciate a little more support in this endeavor from the mainstream media, thankyouverymuch.

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6 Responses to “Ladies and Gentlemen, she HAS a PENIS!”

  1. natalie Says:

    hi

  2. Mary Says:

    does she have a penis because she lost her vagina?

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