Straight (no pun intended) from the “Holy Shit!” department comes a comment from one of the stars of the movie (re)Assignment. Michelle Rodriguez, one of the stars of the movie, stated the following in an article on The Daily Mail (yeah, I know… The Daily Mail?)
Rodriguez, who starred in the ‘Fast and the Furious’ series, took issue with criticism, asking: ‘Are they mad that somebody decided to take their branded transgender operation and use it on heterosexual people?’
She also noted the film was a ‘B-movie noir genre comic book take on something’ and that she herself was part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
So, “She, herself, was part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community”? That can only serve the purpose of putting a point on the fact that not every member of the LGBT has a clue.
I find it difficult to believe that she has given the transgender community any thought at all other than to assume that trans women must, in fact, be gay men. While that is the trope that is put out there by the Religious Right and some of the more clueless politicians, no one in the trans community would describe themselves in this way for the simple reason trans women are not gay men, and trans men are not gay women.
What are trans women?
For starters, trans women are women. With the exception of background, they aren’t any different from any of the other women that you might run into. If they are attracted to men, then they are heterosexual. If, on the other hand, they are attracted to women, they are considered lesbians.
The idea that a gay man would go through sex reaffirming surgery simply to have sex with another man is one of the more damaging things that is often said about the trans community.
Why transition if it isn’t to have sex with men?
First of all, why would you need to transition to have sex with men. As near as I can tell, there are plenty of men out there — identified as both straight and gay — that like to have sex with men. There would be no need to transition from male to female to have sex with them. Additionally, considering the toxic form of masculinity that many men suffer from, it might even reduce your chance to have sex with men if you transitioned.
The only reason to transition is so that you can be happy with yourself and look yourself in the mirror in the mornings.
I have heard some trans people compare not transitioning with feeling like you have a giant anal sphincter square in the middle of your forehead. Who knows? There might even be people that enjoy dating someone with that particular physical attribute, but that doesn’t mean that I want to be the one that has a giant butt hole in my forehead.
The physical characteristics of the person I prefer to have sex with is a completely different desire than my desire for my own body. Realizing that there is no connection between sexual orientation and gender identity is no more complicated than realizing that there is no connection between hair color and sexual orientation.
Why do I hate the movie?
Walter Hill had this to say in that same Daily Mail interview:
Director Walter Hill, who made action classics ’48 Hours’ and ‘The Warriors’, noted at the premiere that other filmmakers had dealt with ‘altering biological organs’.
‘I don’t know why this one stirred up such interest in a way that those didn’t, except that I think the transgender situation has been more in the headlines the last couple of years,’ he said in a red carpet interview.
It is obvious that he has no problem with minority groups of people being exploited. His problem seems to be that he doesn’t know why people are picking on him for exploiting people when other people got away with it.
Given the right time frame, he might have been able to exploit the trans minority without anyone complaining.
If this movie had been made 20 years ago — or maybe even 10 years ago — no one would have said anything about it. The reason for that would be that the general public would have been largely clueless about trans people and the problems that they face in their lives. It would have also been a time when trying to stand up for yourself was an even greater danger to the trans community than being exploited in the movies. But now, as more people are becoming aware of the problems that trans people face, the public has a better idea of who the trans community is. It is becoming more difficult to exploit us and guarantee that we will remain quiet. After all, many of us are now capable of maintaining a job even after it has become know that we are trans people. That allows us to actually speak our minds when we face this type of exploitation.
But the fact that we are being exploited isn’t the worst thing about the movie as far as I’m concerned. What bothers me is that the movie wants to use my body as a horror device. If you would just wait long enough for the public to realize that trans people are just regular people like them, I would be more likely to dismiss this movie as nothing more than sensationalism. Even after the progress we have made, too many people are still getting their first impressions of trans people from twisted movies like this. It also provides ammunition for the people that hold the trans community as enemies.
To try to put it more succinctly: If you find a group that isn’t already viewed as monsters, you won’t have to worry about exploiting them.
While it is true that I haven’t seen the movie — and I probably never will — I can tell that there would be no movie without the idea that a body like mine is the stuff of nightmares.
So congratulations, Mr. Hill! You have show yourself to be a exploitative creep and a lousy human being. You have also, in the interest of money, managed to denigrate an entire section of the population and set out struggle for equality back by planting false ideas of us in popular entertainment.