A son likes to wear dresses.

A father has a problem.

And so he address the problem by going for a walk with his son in their new town, both dressed in skirts.  Did you just feel your heart melt a little bit?  Read the full article here.

This Daily Beast article is one of the better pieces I have seen recently in relatively mainstream media on the topic of excessive rates of violence experienced by members in the transgendered community.  I could do without the Ru Paul comment, but overall I am happy to see someone acknowledge that fitting in is not always a person’s end goal, and not fitting in is absolutely a personal choice and not a reasonable defense for violence.

My busy week precludes me from adding much more than these two cents to this topic, but the article is worth a read.  Hopefully more media outlets will follow this lead.

Trans: The Movie

The other night I was lucky enough to catch a screening of Trans The Movie at the Common Ground Theater in Durham.  I didn’t know much about the movie beforehand.  I was worried that it would be another disappointing portrayal of folks from the trans community, told in a way that mystifies the topic and objectifies the people.  (Quick – name the first three trans characters you can think of from popular movies or TV shows.  IF you were able to name three, I’ll bet my hat that each character can either be labeled as one of the following:  pathetic or deceptive.  Just let me know if I owe you my sombrero.)

Much to my relief, this is perhaps the first (can that be right?) movie I’ve seen which lets people tell their own stories in a non-sensationalized manner.  These are real people, and real families, telling their stories directly to the audience.  This movie did it’s best to capture the diversity that exists in the trans experience.  And, as is true in real life, some folks have an easier time than others.

Do you have a doctor’s note for that gender?

My one hesitation about this movie is the over-emphasis of the medical options that exist for people who are transitioning.  It’s wonderful that there are so many options these days but let’s not lose sight of the fact that the trans experience pre-dates modern medicine by like a bajillion years. I worry that a lot of cis folks think medical procedures are what make a person transsexual, rather than viewing medical procedures as affirming what is already there.  (Perhaps this is why so many cis folks think it’s totally reasonable to ask a complete stranger some very intimate questions, as if they need to know if you actually have permission from medical doctors to be declaring your own gender.)

The reality is that there are many people who fully identify as being trans and don’t do any medical procedures, whether by choice or lack of access because of geography or finances.  My worry is that by focusing on medical options we lose sight of the fact that a person can forgo all medical options for transitioning and still fully embrace their trans identity and lead a happy full life.

Fight boredom.  Learn your gender.

That said, a producer of the movie took questions after the screening and he was very clear that he knew this movie only told part of the story.  And really, no one movie could ever tell the full story of the trans experience.  The complexity of gender equals the complexity of each person’s unique story and life experience.  Thank goodness.  I’d get bored too easily if it were any other way.

Watching this movie is a great way to peak behind the curtain of our culture and see some of the brave souls who dare to do the hard work of learning how to be themselves.

Side note:  When it rains it pours.  Click here to learn more about the upcoming screening of Southern Comfort on May 24 in Carrboro NC.