FOR YEARS TRANSEXUALS COMMUNITY HAS BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROVOCATIVE BUT SIMULTANEOUSLY CONTROVERSIAL IDEA OF SEXUAL AMBIGUITY.
The West is currently facing the task of making the comprehension of transgenderism and growing up the first generation of openly transgender children. This process is more accepted in the North part of Europe, while America and Southern Europe are still recording too much frequent dramatic episodes of violence and discrimination against trans community. Constantly blurring the lines between masculinity and femininity, wherever it is FTM of MTF, trans people have been portrayed in several movies and amazing books.
Gender issues are surely one of the most relevant cultural challenges of our era. Intellectuals nourish a feeling of attraction to them, and they left to the viewers and to the readers tons of wonderful materials to be marveled about and, mainly, to be educated. Indeed, literature played a key-role in the process of self-acceptance and recognition in contemporary society. Lili Elbe (that has been wonderfully displayed by Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl” movie) is an interesting case to analyze: she was one of the first transexual to receive sex-reassignment surgery in history. 2 years after her death in 1931, the book “Man Into Woman” by Niels Hoyer was published, telling the world using pseudonyms Lili’s story.
It was crucial due to the fact it was the first representation of transsexual people in literature. Starting from the 80s, authors were reflecting about why gender identity clinics told trans people to keep their histories secret and transphobia. American academic theorist, Sandy Stone wrote “The Empire Strikes Back: A Post-Transsexual Manifesto”: an important point of the book is that transgender persons were forced to hide their status and that coming out would inevitably bring LGBT people to self-approval. Another milestone is certainly “Stone Butch Blues” by Leslie Feinberg dealing with the discrimination against a trans-masculine: a deep exploration of gender identity.
Historically the first perception of he/she characters in movie is sad: horror and thrillers from the 60s to the 90s show transgenders always as villains and/or murderers. This negative perception accomplishes a turning point with Belgian 90s movie “Ma Vie en Rose”. With its oniric aesthetics, the movie talks about the fantasies of a 7-year-old boy who wants to be a girl. Even if gay and lesbian’s presence has been claimed also in movies for young people, transgender characters are still rare and rarely represented. A positive wind of change has arrived in the 2000s with the epic performance of actress Felicity Huffman in Transamerica, a unique trans-mother/son relationship’s story. Hoping for the full-spectrum representation’s possibilities of trans community in movies and books, the time has come for the emancipation.
Text Lorenzo Sabatini