When I first heard about the upcoming film About Ray, which tells the story of a family reacting to their son’s transition, I was immediately worried. There was one promising element — Susan Sarandon would be playing a lesbian grandmother, and we rarely get to see lesbian characters in major motion pictures at all, let alone older lesbian characters. But the trans boy at the center of the film was to be played by Elle Fanning, who is neither trans nor a boy.
The movie lost my attention for a while; I just dismissed it as yet another misguided attempt by cis people to make a movie about trans people. After all, the media seems to love us right now. Or at least they love some of us, or maybe just the idea of some of us. When I saw the film’s director, Gaby Dellal, talk about the film, and specifically about her main character, Ray, for the first time, though, my worry turned into overwhelming dread. It seems like Dellal, despite being a person who is making a movie about a transgender boy, doesn’t understand that transgender boys aren’t girls. This is even more confusing when you watch the trailer, which actually seems pretty good:
Do we really have to explain this all again? It seemed like after the disaster that was Jared Leto in Dallas Buyer’s Club and then the reaction to Jeffrey Tambor’s casting as Maura in Transparent (which is also a show that has actually done a lot of good for a lot of trans people and also hired a lot of trans people), we were finally getting Hollywood on the same page as us. Trans actors like Laverne Cox and Trace Lysette were getting cast in pilots for major networks, a trans character on ABC Family’s The Fosters was actually being played by Tom Phelan, a trans actor, Sense8 not only starred a trans woman, but was co-created by one too, Tangerine came out starring not one, but two trans women of color. Then along came Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl and of course, Fanning as Ray in this film. It seems like we’re back at square one.
But the most troubling element of the discourse around this film is the way Dellal is talking about the casting. She told Refinery29 that “three and half years ago [the subject of transitioning] was news to me. We all think we’re working in a generation where transgender issues are very normal, but I don’t think they were as little as three years ago. They weren’t as transparent.” She added “I’m not saying they didn’t exist, but I didn’t know about them.” Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s changed. Dellal talks about Ray as if he is a girl, and she talks about transitioning as if it’s a costume or some sort of an on/off switch. She even uses “she/her” pronouns to talk about Ray and repeatedly misgenders him.
It’s also worth mentioning that Dellal approached this film wanting to make a movie about LGBT people — any LGBT people at all, seemingly. She told Refinery29 that she started out making a movie about three generations of women, with two of them being gay, but decided to change her protagonist to a trans boy after “she encountered a man who told her that his child had announced plans to transition.” Treating stories about lesbians and stories about trans boys as artistically interchangeable is alarming enough before we even get into her perspective on trans guys. Rather than treating these stories with the reverence and social responsibility they deserve, she seems to be approaching them like daring artistic challenges, like when she said of Elle Fanning, “I could not have chosen a more blonde, more feminine actress who had a big a mountain to climb. And that’s what I’m interested in.” What??
When describing Ray, Dellal says that “the part is a girl and she is a girl who is presenting in a very ineffectual way as a boy.” However, according to all the film’s promotional materials, the other characters in the movie, and, most importantly, Ray himself, Ray is a boy. The fact that he’s transgender doesn’t change that. He’s not a girl “presenting” as a boy. He’s a boy. Furthermore, it’s extremely inappropriate for a cis person to pass judgement on how well a trans person “passes,” (not to mention how full of problems the entire concept of “passing” is) especially a trans youth — even if it’s a fictional character. Finally, despite Dellal’s opinion on how good Ray is at presenting as his true gender and not that it really has anything to do with the character’s value as a boy, Elle Fanning seems to be pretty effectively “presenting as a boy” in the pictures and footage from the trailer that I’ve seen. I mean, Ray looks like he could be that kid from Love, Actually‘s twin brother.
Dellal went on to explain that Ray is “not pretending to have a deeper voice. She’s just a girl who is being herself and is chasing the opportunity to start hormone treatment. So to actually use a trans boy was not an option because this isn’t what my story is about.” Again, there’s more than one problem here. She seems to be assuming that all trans boys are on hormones and therefore she couldn’t use a trans actor ’cause he would’ve been on hormones and had a deep voice which would’ve ruined the whole thing — and that trans people, at least before they transition and maybe during their transition, are actually the gender they were assigned at birth.
This is baffling partially because “transition” means so many different things to so many different people. There isn’t a universal starting point and there isn’t a moment where you go from being one gender to another. There are huge numbers of trans people who never start Hormone Replacement Therapy and those trans women are still women and those trans men are still men. There are huge numbers of trans people who never get surgery, which is usually cost-prohibitive. There are huge numbers of trans people who never change their voice. None of that means they aren’t the men and women that they are. None of that means that it’s okay to misgender them.
Generally, the director comes off as uninformed and disrespectful. She didn’t slip up and then correct herself or use a term that fell out of favor five months ago, she’s firmly standing by the idea that a trans boy who hasn’t started on hormones yet is a girl, and that’s just plain wrong. Basic research would’ve cleared up these misconceptions immediately. There’s no excuse these days for artists creating art about trans people to be ignorant on trans issues or how to talk about trans people. Somebody making a film with a trans male character and a lesbian character could’ve really benefited from having some LGBTQ people involved in writing and production, too.
The way Dellal talks about Ray in her movie isn’t just confusing and insulting, it’s irresponsible and damaging. Misgendering trans people and talking about trans men as if they’re women and especially trans women as if they’re men contributes to the violence that trans people face so often. (Surely she could’ve at least watched Boys Don’t Cry?) This is damaging for all trans people, and particularly for trans women, who are the subject of so much violence. Dellal’s insistence that because Ray hasn’t transitioned yet he is still a girl also leads to the logical conclusion that therefore trans women who haven’t “completed” their transition are still men. When this idea combines with racism (specifically anti-blackness), poverty and misogyny, it leads to 17 dmab trans people, most of them black and nearly all of them people of color, being murdered in just the first eight months of this year.
It’s a shame that when Dellal decided to make a movie about a trans guy, she didn’t also do the necessary research. Trans men are one of the most invisible groups of people on the LGBTQ spectrum, so there’s very little room for error in their representation. It’s also a shame that it’s usually trans women of color, and again, usually black trans women, who ultimately pay the price for this kind of negative representation. It’s fine that Gaby Dellal wanted to make a movie with a trans protagonist, but once she made that decision, she should have done what was necessary to make sure that she wasn’t perpetuating ideas about trans people that lead to acts of violence against us.
In spite of the fact that Ray was played by a woman, the trailer initially looked promising. When I stumbled across the director actively misgendering Ray, I immediately lost all hope.
Come on. Don’t they at least try to learn about something before they turn it into a movie?
Right? Its not that hard. So many people are making it so easy. And: “Surely she could’ve at least watched Boys Don’t Cry?)” really sums it up.
Gaby Dellal is credited with writing the story for the movie as well.
So just to recap: A woman who said, of a trans guy, “She’s just a girl who is being herself and is chasing the opportunity to start hormone treatment. So to actually use a trans boy was not an option because this isn’t what my story is about” wrote AND directed this movie.
I can’t…even Refinery 29 was confused. “The director uses female pronouns when referring to Ray,” they state.
Ten seconds on GLAAD’s website would have helped Dellal correct her language. How is this kind of misinformation by a person trying to tell a story about the people she knows nothing about even possible?
I feel like this is my life, telling people “ten seconds on GLAAD’s website would’ve fixed this.” I bet a lot of money went into this, but not ten seconds on GLAAD’s website.
This is awful, I would love to know what Fox Fisher and Lewis Hancox make of it.
This is just so enraging. I’m so tired of straight people thinking our lives and stories are their avant-grade artist statements to appropriate. We’re not here for your entertainment or profit or acting/directing challenge. Great piece as usual, Mey, I always love how your analyses cut right to the core.
they use these characters to score points for being progressive and open-minded but it’s a superficial sham covering up uninformed prurient curiosity and attempt to be trendy. blah.
“I’m not saying they didn’t exist, but I didn’t know about them.”
This pretty much says it all. It’s all about you. So often, those who aren’t trans bemoan how negative and dubious many trans people are about trans-themed projects by persons who ID as allies. I’m certain the director of this project would consider herself as such and reiterate how her film was made with the best of intentions. I’m at the point where: I’m… long… past… caring… about… your… intentions… or feelings. Their defense of their intentions and their final product are about them and their own rep as a progressive, not the trans community.
And btw, Susan Sarandon has been a total self-righteous a-hole about her vocal support of the use of the word “tranny” on GLEE, so spare me even the mention of her as a plus on this project.
I think what bugs me the most aside from this director’s infuriating statements and the fact that they keep getting cis actors to play trans characters is that most of Hollywood only finds us interesting before or during our transitions. Afterwards we might as well not exist.
This is really disappointing. I saw the trailer a few weeks ago, and aside from the casting choice for Ray (which, granted, is a huge aside) the trailer made the film look really wonderful – warm, and funny, and most importantly, respectful of Ray and who he is. Is it possible that somehow the writer/director’s ignorance doesn’t translate into the film itself? Obviously trailers aren’t always good indicators of the quality of the finished film, but still. I’ll be really interested to see a review of the full film once its out.
I wish it was possible to support a movie without supporting the director
“I’ll be really interested to see a review of the full film once its out.”
Exactly – A pronoun juggling director may not doom the project. See the product and react accordingly.
BLARG SO MUCH RAGE. Especially since it’d be super nice to have a good movie about a trans youth.
That quote from the director reads pretty badly, but the more I look at it the more I wonder if this is a problem with language rather than actual content? Like, I’m hoping what they meant to say was “I cast a female actor bc my story was explicitly about life pre-transition” (to which one could respond “cast a pre-transition actor” but). I dunno.
I dont want to be all pollyanna about bullshit, but also if this film is executed even just adequately, it’ll be really valuable to me. And I mean, I actually do think the pre-t experience is partially defined by being perceived as female and how that shapes you, impacts you, and even how it alienates you. So having a female actor doesn’t automatically put me off as a transmasculine person.
That said, if that quote ISNT a language issue and in fact DOES accurately represent the filmmakers’ feelings, it’s … maybe not a good sign as to how strong the film will be re: trans issues and representation. All the interviews I’ve seen w/ Elle Fanning looked pretty good though, and the trailer seems strong. I’ll definitely be seeing it. I have to believe in this.
I’m hoping this is the case, I’m hoping the actors somehow sell this story better than the director means to. Or that the director managed to write it better than she’s saying it now, weirder things have happened. But I’m unrepentantly pirating this one for sure.
I’ve read this at least 5 times, and what Dellal said STILL doesn’t make sense to me. I’m a transman…I’m a guy, a male, a man. If the story is about someone who identifies as non-binary, genderfluid, or genderqueer, then cool – the advertising should follow.
But to me, this isn’t, at least not from her twisted perspective, about a transman struggling with transitioning…which is such a shame, because there is so much potential in that kind of a storyline.
did you see the Brothers webseries? if so what did you think?
I really wish under qualified straight cis people would stop trying to tell stories about us.
I think what we need to do is stop being SO damn sensitive. Is this film going to ruin everyone’s perception of transgendered persons, or bring positive awareness? Maybe take a step back and be thankful that someone made a film for the general public, stop complaining, and acknowledge that SOMEONE did it. Ya’ll are so self righteous and annoying.
A film like this does not bring positive awareness. Cis actors playing trans characters enforces the belief that trans people are just pretending or wearing a costume to unaware cis people. Silence of the Lambs painted trans women as monsters. Boys Don’t Cry conjured images of deceitful, unstable trans men. People interested in the movie will read the interview with the director and decide that it’s okay to misgender pre or non-transitioning trans people. The only people who can fix the general populace’s perception of trans people are trans people. Please keep your obtuse opinions to yourself.
I think you stumbled onto the AS comment boards by accident.
Did ya even read a damn thing Mey wrote and reported, or did ya jus come in here to put the queers in our place?
Or are you tone deaf asshole who really thinks the trans community should be grateful for any butchered half assed scraps some basic tosses their way in the effort to appear avante garde and further their own career rather than bring actual positive awareness?
A community whose member are murdered so often they have a day of remembrance.
I want answers, but you’re not going to give them I know that. At best you might read replies of your comment for jollies at the outrage you’ve likely hoped to inspire.
But I really hope you read this and maybe learn to fucking think, as unlikely as that is.
I think you clicked the wrong link while looking for 4chan.
This is so weird and makes me mad.
I still have a big crush on Susan Sarandon (who even knows why) so I’m disappointed she is playing a lesbian under direction like this
I’m at a loss of words,….. Its so painfully obvious that she didn’t even do the most basic research about this…..that is some high level arrogance right there.
What the fuck?
And, sadly, it seems the cited number of twoc killed this year is already out of date. Who knows where that number will stand by the end of this month? By the time About Ray is in theaters? The author’s right: this kind of misinformation can’t be taken lightly — it kills, and as a community we should not support work that so clearly is made about us, and NOT for us.
So I am not a transman, but I do identify as nonbinary and my thing about casting a trans person in this role is this… How many transmen would want to play the role of a pretransition character, in a film where a good part of it the character is treated like a girl, addressed as a girl and perceived as a girl? I wouldn’t. Even if you hadn’t had hrt or surgically transitioned, you are still a boy playing (for all intents and purposes) a girls role (at least until the character convinces his family, which even from just watching the trailor, you can tell it takes them awhile because they continue to misgender him after he states his desires) it seems like getting a trans person to play this part would be pretty invalidating to any trans person, even a nonbinary, because basically half the movie erases your identity…. I really truly believe trans people should be hired to play trans people roles in films,. And please If I’m wrong, feel free to jump up and say “hell yeah, I’d love to act that part, and kind of re-experience my childhood/teen years and coming out all over again”, But it just seems like this specific role the one that tells the story of a trans boy pre coming out all the way to hormone replacement therapy would have to be played by a girl…if only to not traumatize actual transmen/boys by asking them to play the part of a child that is being identified as a girl. It’s inexcusable that the director couldn’t do a bit of research. Smh. Please forgive any mishaps in my language. I tried very hard not to imply that Ray was ever a girl, or that any transmen/boys are ever girls, however I am definitely new to saying anything like this out loud or in writing, so I am sure I’m not perfect at conveying my thoughts correctly.
Have you not seen OITNB? Or Sense8 or really any tv show or movie starting a trans woman playing a trans woman or trans men? Like most of those include, misgendering,t
opps that posted without finishing. transphobia, misnaming(like using the dead name of the character) and other things that is hate/negative misunderstanding towards trans people? Like it seem Lavern is fine with it, as is Freema(from Sense8). If they weren’t fine with it they probably wouldn’t have take the role?
They didnt let Lavern play herself pretransition, though. Her twi brother did it. She was willing to but the director didnt want to put her through that. So she was totally down to play that, and deals with transphobia in her role, but specifically did not play Sophia pre transition.
I’m sure there are plenty of willing actors and actresses out there. Plenty. There are a lot of traumatic roles in movies and not everyone wants to play those roles, but some people do. Hell, Dellal is acting like it’s such a wonderful challenge for a cis actress to play this role, but it’d also be a challenge for a trans actor.
6am typos from me too, whoops
I know this isn’t the orthodox opinion, but I completely agree with you. It’s some kind of weird essentialism to assume men can’t play women, or vice versa. It makes perfect sense for a body that hasn’t been affected by testosterone played by a body that hasn’t been affected by testosterone.
Imho the writing/direction are infinitely more important than the gender identity of the actor (who, again, is ACTING) in portraying us accurately. In this case the director is clearly clueless and I don’t see how finding a young trans man who isn’t on hrt would help anyone (besides that one hypothetical actor).
And hey if clueless cis people are writing trans characters, let cis people play them so we’re not complicit in the terribleness.
And to the “but what about the trans actor whose job went to a cis person” I’ll just say… I don’t really care about the plight of Hollywood actors? Let’s worry first about trans retail workers, trans baristas, trans sex workers.
You act as if LGBT actors are not struggling and likely doing those jobs as well. There are close to a million trans people in America. Do you really think all of the trans male actors are well off?
This is such a patronizing comment. What, trans actors are too “sensitive” and traumatized to play someone pre-transition but cis actors are more versatile and don’t have a problem playing someone who’s not their own gender? What a load of utter crap.
Thank you. This is classic concern trolling (we can’t hire trans actors to play trans characters because it would be insensitive to make them relive transition!), but it seems that it’s become the go-to excuse for not even making an effort to hire trans actors to play trans roles.
A thing that totally for reals happens 100% of the time when casting a trans character: “Well we talked to a significant number of trans actors and none of them were willing to play a pre-transition trans character, so we have no choice but to cast a cis actor for the role! Oh well.”
Also, anytime you are casting a trans male character, it’s really unfortunate how there are no cis male actors who are willing to portray a character who presents as different genders throughout the film. And then when you are casting a trans female character, the exact opposite thing happens! It’s really curious how the opinions of all the actors in the world constantly flip-flop overnight depending on what trans roles are available.
It’s a good thing directors are such perfect wonderful people, considering how opposed actors are to acting.
I think the issue is not a cis girl playing a trans boy (that’s another argument!), but that this director seems to be absolutely clueless about trans issues. She’s trying to make this sensitive movie about a trans boy, but keeps referring to her as a girl.
She even says “She’s just a girl who is being herself and is chasing the opportunity to start hormone treatment. So to actually use a trans boy was not an option because this isn’t what my story is about.”
So her movie about a trans boy is NOT about a trans boy? Oh, boy!
Personally I can understand the need to hire cis actors to play trans people. I can accept Jeffery Tambor as Maura, because he really seems to treat the character with respect and every other trans role is played trans actors. If the producer’s of “Ray” tried to cast a trans actor and decided they needed a name or Elle was the best for the role, so be it, but it’s clear this director has no clue or desire to be sensitive to trans issues.
I think you’ve described the very nature of acting, people are always playing roles that differ from their own experience and may be difficult or undesirable for any number of reasons. I’m sure if you presented that role to trans-masc actors you would find plenty of them happy for the opportunity act in a film that could positively impact our community.
First, my credentials: grew up in Mississippi, thought I was and lived as a lesibian until 25, transitioned a now I’m a 30 year old married man.
Second, my opinion: why do so many people seem to think only Trans people should play Trans characters? Should only gay men play gay men? Only lesibians play lesbians? Next actors can only play a character their same age, only mothers can play mothers….
Acting is by it’s very nature playing a character that is not you. Yes, it may take Hollywood several more tries to get it right but at least they are trying.
Also, so she started out wanting to make a lesbian movie and the. Was evidently so moved by a guys story that she changed to focus of her film which gave us a trailer so wonderful that I can barely Contain my enthusiasm and you are already prepared to crucify her over her pronoun use?
I think the angry mob needs to put out their torches, go home and wait til you have seen the film before you hang the poor woman.
Furthermore, the use of the term “presenting as male” is a medical and/or therapy related statement used frequently in referral letters for things like surgery, hrt, etc. And we all know that one person that despite their best efforts, presents like a train wreck instead of their preferred gender.
Only when we can become as understanding and open as we expect others to be can we finally begin to truly understand each other.
If you are appalled by her interview perhaps reaching out to ask her to clarify her statements or even to offer some simple education and advice is better than raking her over the coals online.
Ok where do i even begin? I’m lesbian but in my finding things out days i had a boyfriend. Who, like 50% of my partners, happened to be transsexual. As in i don’t have a fetish, but…*
And to this day i remember the day when i brought him ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ to watch. We watched.
And when we finished, he spoke unto me thusly:
Fuck. By which i mean, fuck this. By which in turn i mean fuck the film, fuck you, the director, the actress and the archetype of your universal, nonspecific mum in the collective consciousness. It was the most lesbian film i have ever watched and in my trying to figure things out i have watched many. It is literally everything what being a transsexual man is not. This shit literally has no male perspective in it.
To which i responded (choose the correct option):
a)by arguing that the production team of a major film can’t possibly be all wrong.
b)by arguing ingratitude and the fact that the raised awareness is more worth than realism and a realistic portrayal would not necessarily be a sympathetic portrayal capable of evoking a damsel in distress response complex.
c)by taking onboard what the guy has to say.
* …but it is relaxing to have a somewhat similar allied mind able to respond to the realities of the epoch of digital master copies and 3d printing adequately – even if it happens to be forced into disregard for your ape notions of ‘Nature’, ‘Truth’ (<< both case sensitive) and 'authenticity' by trauma rather than by accepting the Word, the Great Machine and its Prophetess, Donna H into one's heart.
I don’t think only trans people should play trans people, at all. I do think that actors of the wrong gender should not play trans people.
Thanks for this review… It would be interesting to hear your thoughts or review of the new Stonewall Movie and the rewriting of that history….
Before reading this article, I thought the FTM community was being overly sensitive, and I am also FTM. Now I understand why. Thank you for writing this so well.
I do wish you would stop referring to trans women as “dmab,” for exactly the same reason as this piece exists. It’s not okay to refer to trans women as male.
I think the reason behind using dmab was that one of the dead transpeople was non-binary.
Right, but a non-binary trans person and a trans woman are different genders. It’s utterly transphobic to group them together based on being assigned male at birth. Is there a related phenomenon? Yes. Does it make it okay to refer to trans women as male? Never.
The reason I “group them together based on being assigned male at birth” is because that makes them both targets of transmisogyny. It’s not referring to trans women as male, it’s doing the opposite. The phrase dmab came about so that we wouldn’t have to say “born male” or “born a man” anymore, now we can say dmab, which is a way of saying that we, as trans women, were assigned male at birth, but that was an inaccurate. So, we use dmab to point out that trans women aren’t male.
Dmab is offensive to many people because it centers the way someone was assigned at birth, making it the defining trait of their existence. Please take a little more time to consider why this is offensive. It may not bother you, but that does not mean it does not upset or demean others.
I think it’s a shame the writer/director seems to have not done her homework. I don’t think this means we are at square one though. As this article points out, there have been great strides made in positive and accurate representation of trans people and the trans experience. I think what we would aim for is for a diverse selection of explorations of trans characters and trans stories in. Some of these are going to be iffy, some will be damaging and awful. This one might actually turn out to be really good, by chance. I don’t think it’s gonna be particularly damaging, based on the trailer.
I also don’t think that it is totally off limits for a cis person to play a trans person or a trans person to play a cis person or any actor to play someone of a different gender. I think the problem is that, as with the people behind Dallas Buyer’s Club, they don’t seem to acknowledge trans people as real everyday people who could be hired as actors, advisors, directors, writers on films. Trans people are plot devices or ways to grab attention for a lot of filmmakers – they are entirely fictional to them. When that happens there is no sense of responsibility to be accurate or sensitive when representing a real life marginalised group.
I think this article is misguided. I understand the admonishment of misgendering Ray, but the movie clearly gets it right. Naomi Watts’ character says “he’s a boy” several times, respecting Ray’s identity. If this movie serves to portray trans individuals in a positive way (until many films portray sex workers or drug addicts) then I think it’s a step in the right direction. Parents of trans children will see this movie and have a better understanding of their child’s experience and that’s a good thing. But if you want to rave about the directors off screen personal misconceptions, and you have the time to tear down this film, then go ahead.
Is it possible the actors get it, even if the director is a total ignorant egotist, because the trailer looks good, better than most LGBTQ a films to be honest.
that’s what i’m hoping, ’cause yeah… the trailer looks a hell of a lot better than 95% of what’s out there in the LGBTQ film world. and i am excited that there’s gonna be a main lesbian character played by a hugely famous actress over 50, we really never get to see that.
I think that filmmaking/television production is more a teamwork effort than people realize. I know that it seems like everything is on the director’s shoulders, but so many decisions – creative, financial, casting, etc – have to be approved lots of different people. I’m hopeful that those people (the cast, producers, casting directors, costume designer, hair/makeup, etc) did their research, talked with transmen and women (at all points in their transitions), and give the story the thought and care it deserves.
That being said, it does not give the director a pass for her ignorant statements, because when you are the writer and/or director of any story, you should be well informed of what you are talking about – which she is obviously not.
But as most people are aware, films and television are important for visibility and awareness, so again, hopefully, even with it’s faults, the film will bring positive awareness.
Yeah that’s what’s confusing to me — that SO many people were involved in this production and NOBODY had any impact on the director’s understanding of the work she was putting together. Like I get how this could happen in a vacuum, but it definitely didn’t. Although I guess large teams make huge mistakes a lot in the world… but this is a high-profile, public project. Really strange.
It won’t accurately portray anything. No one but a Transman understands the Hell of being a Transman in the US. The United States refuses to allow you to remove your female reproductive organs even if their riddled with cancer and rotting, let alone transition to manhood. I am permanently disabled and suffering from cancer now because this fucking country would not allow me to get the operations I needed since I was 14, and I HAVE medical insurance. The US medical system is literally a poisoning campaign for profit.
et me start by saying, I have a son who is transgender. I love and support him 100%. Now, I have worked very hard to remember the right pronouns for sometime. I understand that trans people want equality, and want to be addressed correctly… I get that, but look at this from a perspective of someone who has NEVER had an experience with a trans person. You ask my son, as hard as I try to get it right I made mistakes. And once in a while I still do! Any, cis person, who is just learning about transgender persons is going to talk like the writer/producer does in this movie Now, that being said, any person not familiar with trans persons and the lingo/pronouns used, is not going to understand all of the pronouns/lingo. So, instead of making this movie a movie that only trans people are going to understand, it seems appropriate to me that the writer/producer make all the same mistakes I did, when I was just learning. But you know what, I’m trying. And cis people who go to this movie are going to understand what the writer is trying to say and get the point better/easier than if they used trans pronouns/lingo.
What you seem to be saying is that cis people can’t understand anyone who doesn’t misgender trans people. That is bizarre and shitty and I hope very much that it is untrue.
I’m so confused about this film. I saw Susan and I thought “this will be great”..but then I read the directors comments and I was so frustrated. Why can’t someone like Susan exec produce an LGBT directed project? Why can’t we tell our own stories?
I completely sympathise with this article. I am not trans but I have tried to gain understanding on what it means to be trans and how difficult it can be to feel that people understand, respect and accept you. The main challenge I have found is a lack of clear information regarding the correct terminology and the emotions/steps/thoughts involved for trans people. I have watched documentaries and try to read as many of these types of articles as I can. I think the main difficulty for me stems from my lack of real world experience with a trans person. Although I completely agree that homosexuality and transsexuality are not the same thing from a point of view of breaking stereotypes and using respectful language the idea is the same. I know many homosexuals and have learnt over time the right and wrong things to say. It’s the same with everyone really. There are ways of thinking and talking to people from all backgrounds and ways of life and society evolves over time to, for lack of a better description, ‘get it right’. Hopefully with the increase in open discussions over trans people thanks to those who have famously ‘come out’ will help people like me who want to get it right learn the way to do it. Most importantly though I feel I must say that for me I look forward to being able to fully embrace the trans community and encouraging my children to do so too. I think that my most important job as a mum is to ensure that my children are fully informed, open to all kinds of people and loving them all the same.
I think that the fact that she used Elle to play Ray is not a problem but not for the reason she mentioned. Trans men start off from the same point when it comes to their bodies, but that doesn’t mean they’re not man before any kind of treatment, so if Elle were a trans man, she would start from that point, which makes it okay. But all the lack of information about what means to be trans and how it feels like, and most of all, the respect for the identity of a person by what they feel they are and not what they’ve done to their bodies is frustrating. I was really excited for this movie and now I’m disappointed. Just hope it doesn’t make people even more confused and lead them to think it’s okay to misgender someone. (sorry for the bad english)
Share with me your trick; how do you write a review of a movie you haven’t even seen? You crucify it based on a trailer? That’s complete bullshit. Everyone that saw it in Toronto liked it. Try the review in the lesbian blog, After Ellen. The film received a standing ovation. http://www.afterellen.com/movies/452971-ray-important-trans-film-lesbian-subplot . This lesbian reviewer actually saw the movie. She liked it.
Well, this wasn’t a review of the film at all, it was an article talking about comments that the film’s director made.
Also, the main part of this article has nothing to do with lesbians, so I’m not sure what that has to do with anything.
i think you’re a little confused honey. lesbians are not transgendered – a lesbian, like a cis gendered heterosexual person may have little to no knowledge of trans issues and struggles. your point is completely invalid. Im a transman and there are many lesbians and indeed feminists who are anti transition.