Wedding season is upon us and if you’re looking for the perfect gift, I have a few suggestions that aren’t likely on the registry. You might be tempted to go for the traditional, like something for entertaining or to spruce up the house, but what would really make an impact is a bed. Of course, that all depends on who you’re spending for. Same-sex couples now have the privilege to legally wed in 6 states (woo hoo!), with President Obama recently offering his blessing in the fight for marriage equality. Legions of people, gay and straight, have donated their social media statuses to show support, spent time lobbying and ponied up their hard earned cash, so that two people in love, regardless of their sex, can say “I do” and be granted the many benefits that go along with it. In fact, to advance the cause, a staggeringly large and unprecedented amount of money has been raised with special thanks to donations from folks in Hollywood, on Wall Street and in Washington (amongst other places). Everyone loves love and attending fabulous parties, and those could be part of the inspiration behind this mass mobilization. Plus, with all the revenue gay marriage is predicted to generate, it’s not hard to tell why the ‘powers that be’ are celebrating too. But as we’re preparing to put on our dancing shoes for a weekend of Pride parades and dances celebrating how far we’ve come in the fight for marriage equality, GLBT youth across the country are worrying about where they’re going to sleep. More than 300,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth experience homelessness every year and the already meager funding for beds in shelters is being cut.
As the youth from TRANSGENERATION have shown us, each trans* person’s journey through identification and transition is unique. Access to mentors and resources for support can make a huge difference to a young person, no matter where they are in the process. But for transgender people of color whose stories often go untold, lack of visibility can lead to an even greater sense of isolation. We spoke with Sean Ebony Coleman, Executive Director of Destination Tomorrow, to shed light on the experience of a role model in the trans community of color and hear his perspective on what’s important to young trans folks today.
Thanks to the Hays Code, gay characters were largely missing from the movies up until 1968. And even more recently than that, it was considered career suicide for a male actor to “play gay.” These days, it’s not hard to find gay characters in mainstream Hollywood films — the gay best friend has become a rom-com staple. But the gay side kick, as Hollywood portrays him, tends to be much more interested in shopping and gossiping with his straight female friends than in having sex.
Storytelling has long been used as a tool for recording people’s history and to pass down wisdom from one generation to the next. But for those who aren’t considered part of society’s in-crowd, sharing personal stories takes on an even greater meaning. Telling your story and listening to narratives from ‘others’ like you, can help you feel connected and grounded in the world. It helps to know that people whose lives look like yours, have been here before and survived. Whether we’re aware of it or not, it’s instinctual for us to want the comfort of seeing our experiences reflected back. Reality TV and the web have given individuals’ voices a much wider reach. But the truth is it’s still a privileged few whose stories are chosen to be told. And unfortunately transgender folks rarely make the cut.
In honor of TRANSGENERATION airing Tuesdays at 10p on Sundance Channel, we wanted to curate a screening list of the best transgender-themed flicks out there. In order to make our list, the films in question had to feature a sympathetic portrayal of a transgendered character in a leading role — hence PSYCHO and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS did not make the cut. No, the following films are all thoughtful, moving depictions of people struggling through life — people who are human first, transgendered second.
Sometimes I worry that we actually break the news here at SUNfiltered. No, it’s not that we’re the first, it’s that we write about things and then start off some sort of weird butterfly effect. Case in point? Just the other day we supplied you with a TRANSGENERATION primer on proper pronoun use and then Rolling Stone drops the story that Against Me! singer Tom Gabel has
Nobody wants to be that person in a social situation. You know, the one who gets their pronouns all wrong? There you are in a room with people identifying as ze, they or hir and it doesn’t even occur to you to ask. You make a few assumptions about peoples’ genders, are met with blank…
We’re not sure how you missed it, but TRANSGENERATION was one of the best looks at coming of age as a trans youth in America. Fortunately for all of you who missed the first go-round, TRANSGENERATION is back. We’ll be airing all of the original episodes throughout the May. So get ready to take a deep dive into the lives of four transgender college students as they take control of their identities. Tune in on Tuesdays at 10P.
We’re not going to focus on the negative portrayals of transsexuality, like in PSYCHO, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and the, thankfully cancelled, sitcom Work It. And we’re not focusing on the history of transitioning stories that takes us all the way back to the 1930s when an intersexed, Bohemia-born Zdenka Koubkova went from female running/jumping champion to male cabaret performer. Nor are we going to look at transgender issues in the news, like when the Girls Scouts of Colorado let their first transgender girl into the organization last year or when, two years ago, a federal court ruled in favor of a woman who was fired from her job after coming out as trangender. Nope. In honor of TRANSGENERATION coming back to the Sundance Channel, we’re looking at the top ten positively positive, purely pop-culture gender-bending movies, moments and movers & shakers of the past few decades:
Cher’s long been an icon to the gay community. She embraced camp from the beginning of her career. She was inappropriately sexy at ages most retire. She embraced disco, and later, house, music originated in gay nightclubs. And there are countless drag queens who owe a bit of inspiration to this lady. Hell, all drag queens have been inspired by her in one way or another.