As today is so easy to offend, I state now that this is not a comprehensive article. I basing this on my own thoughts and research but I’ve tried to be as objective as I can. I not only would like to have people voice their opinions, I’d encourage it. The more you learn the more you understand.
A subject arose to me yesterday on twitter when someone posted their opinion; should transgender actors play the role of transgender in cinema. Now this is a two-way street for me. On the one had yes it is a better representation of a real transgender person in the public eye, but at the same time I don’t agree. I feel an issue has arisen for transgender people due both to the community that they eventually become part of and media coverage. For them their journey starts when they want to be a man or a woman respectively, and from their they go down a path to disassociate themselves with their past gender. The problem for me is the inevitable gender limbo. It’s a good thing for people to get strongly involved with the community, but it can make it harder for them to settle into their chosen gender, and they become a trans man or trans woman. I have spoken to people who are happy to be part of the third gender, but for me I would like for people to know me not as the “tranny”.
Back to the issue of cinema. If you are a trans actor looking for a role as a woman; lets say hypothetically that you aren’t happy in gender limbo, then you wouldn’t be happy to play the part of a trans person. It would be like getting a remnant of your past self stamped on your CV if anyone wanted to do some casual snooping which more often or not the general public are happy to do. I should state that I’m not against the transgender community at all, it’s great to have people come together and help each other feel at home. In the past I took issue with trans people being logged in with the gay community; maybe being I felt that it was a rather different and complex issue. That is unless you’re a gay trans man, or lesbian trans woman. I guess these could be contributing factors that bring the communities together. What I do think would be better is if there was a way in which people could remain part of the group collective and still manage to represent themselves as their chosen gender without the “country of origin” tag clipped on their ear. I do know of a circumstance where I knew someone who on a trans social networking site, after undergoing SRS called them selves an admirer of trans people, rather than a post-op. I support this choice. For all intensive purposes they were a woman. For some reason people took issues with this. It could be that they were only part of the community for some sexual lust rather than any genuine personal reason. There must be a way in which we can be part of a supportive communities and not be defined by them.
I seem to slipping away from the cinema theme a lot. In development is the Film “The Danish Girl” (based on novel by the same name), who many of you probably have heard about in passing if your reading this. The film is due for release this year and tells the life story of Lili Elbe; the first male to female trans person to undergo SRS. To play Lili is Nicole Kidman, which I would consider both a very good compliment to the trans community, as well as Lili. Whether or not this is a compliment on Ms Kidman is subjective. In my opinion to both capture the essence of the character they are to portray, it would be better for the actor in question to the be the chosen gender of the person they are playing. Saying that Cillian Murphy made a great lady in “Breakfast on Pluto” (2005).
Don’t take any of this to heart, as I myself don’t know all the facts, and it is a very subjective area. I know some people who feel more at place being know as trans that they do on either side of the fence. Please feel free to discuss.
Erin H Rea