– Bold Crossings of the Gender Line:
“It’s certainly a statement on our times that, in the same month, James Franco graces the covers of GQ and Candy. In GQ, he appears in a moody head shot. In Candy, a style magazine dedicated to what it calls the “transversal” — that is, transsexuality, transvestism, cross-dressing, androgyny and any combination thereof — Mr. Franco, shot by Terry Richardson, vamps in trowel-applied makeup, heavy jewelry and a woman’s dominatrix-style power suit.
Candy, it turns out, is but one of the more visible bits of evidence that 2010 will be remembered as the year of the transsexual.”
My goodness, they’ve given us a whole year (well, three weeks of it, anyway)! How kind of them! It’s like someone leaving dog poop on my doorstep and not setting it on fire. Where will I put it? My shelf’s just burgeoning from all the shiny stuff cis people felt like giving us. There’s not many rights up there, and my “Self-Respect” blanket is starting to fray at the edges, but I must say, that “She’s Not A Man In A Dress” trope’s been polished until it shines.
I’m honestly not sure there’s a lot I can add to the preceding paragraph, because it pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about being told that my life is “fashionable” (I guess?) now. It’s all well and good trans people are apparently one step above the bottom of the pop culture food chain–though I wonder if anyone will ever bother to write a piece about how differently abled folks are suddenly “in”–but I fail to be otherwise impressed.
(If someone has actually written such a piece, please don’t tell me. I’d like to keep my ignorance. I only have so many brain cells, and I’ve been using ’em lately.)
Instead, my teeth ache from grinding for any number of reasons. The piece’s tone. The emphasis placed on the cross-dressing dalliances (let’s not kid ourselves) of artists known for their excesses, their “grand gesture of solidarity with gender nonconformists.” The sentence, “the difference now is that mystery has been replaced with empowerment, even pride.”
My goodness, we can appear in photos and videos as something besides than the depressing Other. My heart, be still! Someone pass me the smelling salts!
Baring that, pass me my legal rights. I hear they even come with a free stick, in case you need to beat off those other greedy, rights-grubbing fuckers (Thanks, Joe Solmonese!)
– New Glenn Close Film, The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs:
This humorous but ultimately poignant ensemble story about life “below-stairs” is nothing less than Gosford Park meets Boys Don’t Cry.
Need I begin? Need I say anything? The problems of Boys Don’t Cry as a primarily trans film aside*, not a lot funny about a movie where the central character is raped and murdered.
* I’m divided on the issue of reclaiming Brandon Teena as a specific trans figure when no one really knows how he identified (if at all) before his death. But I fall on the side of having to engage with Boys Don’t Cry as a trans film because of the weight it still carries in discourses about transness. There’s no way around the issue, and I think it’s disingenuous to try and ignore its influence to make a political point. Maybe one day I’ll no longer feel that way–but as is clearly illustrated here, the film remains a touchstone.