The “Curse” of Ed Wood Jr.

| May 18, 2020
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I’ve always loved movies. The older and cornier the better I like them. As a kid when everyone else on Saturday afternoon was watching wide world of sports, I was turning the channel and finding the Saturday afternoon black and white movie. I was enamored with Audrey Hepburn. I longed to be Cary Grant, and admired the strength and tenderness of Glen Ford. However my euphoria could never truly be fulfilled. I was subservient to the will of the TV programmer. That person who decided which movie I would watch in the afternoon.

Then at about the age of 25 came the advent of the VCR, and more important to the cause of movie freedom was the video store. The video revolution had begun with the video store serving as the battle camp. No longer was I held captive by the tyranny of what the TV programmer wanted me to watch. I now had the ability to choose the movie I wanted to see.

I can still recall the smell from the mold infused air conditioner that hung in the air like an early morning fog. The traffic worn carpet that had the off colored path that extended the aisle in front of the row of movies. It was here that I discovered, and fell in love with the “B” movie.

The “B” movie was one that did not go through the channels of mainstream Hollywood. They were mostly low budget and often had questionable acting. But how could I resist the siren call from Teenagers From Outer Space, High School Caesar or the allure of Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman? I mean seriously, is there anything sexier than a barefoot 50 foot tall woman in a matching bikini and mini skirt? If there is I can’t think of it right now. Thank you Allison Hayes. (My apologies to my beautiful wife.)

Then one day as I was making my way down this magical rabbit hole my attention was grabbed by a cover with the likes of Doris Wishman and the title Let Me Die a Woman. This exploratory gem was a pseudo-documentary about transsexuals and ‘the surgery’. A subject that strangely appealed to some suppressed desire lurking deep in the dark recesses of my brain. So I put on my best, ‘Yah, I’m renting this movie; yuh gotta problem with it?’ face and walked bravely to cashier.

Then I discovered our hero Edward Wood Jr., and Glen or Glenda?. A movie about an emerging transsexual who had an obsession with angora sweaters. Ed Wood played the lead himself. Unfortunately for my virginal transgender psyche, he looked like a man in drag, and if that’s what one those people looked like; glad I’m never going to be one! Famous last words right?

After I got married the pornography became worse as I tried to suppress the longing to live life as a woman. Even as the porn addiction grew I could never watch straight porn, it was always lesbian porn. This aspect of me only added to my confusion. If I was really transgender then I should like men. The idea of seeing a penis did nothing for me. After all, if I didn’t want to see mine; why would I want to see someone else’s? I grew to be very unhappy with myself and to make the feelings go away I escaped into fantasy.

Then I crashed into the bottom of life. I lost everything that was important to me. I had two failed marriages under my belt. The home repair business I had was in the toilet. I was fat, lazy, and porn addicted. I knew internally that things had to change. I could not go on living my life as I had been doing. I could not understand why it was that: no matter how determined my will was, or how much I prayed about it; I could not stop dressing in women’s clothing. The only way that I could see myself was, I must be a pervert.

Ed Wood relaxing in his angora sweater.

So on January 9th 2017 I had my first therapy appointment. God smiled on me that day and I was assigned the perfect therapist for me, purely by luck of the draw. We talked about this emerging person inside of me, the girl who a little earlier that year had introduced herself to me as Chrissy. Chrissy was fighting to be known by the world. I was fighting to keep her in her place; in the closet. After all I had been keeping her inside of me since I was nine years old and only allowing her to come out when we were at home and alone. This time though was different. She had told me her name and that the person I was wasn’t me. I was Chrissy; the other person was the phony. Chrissy would not give up and go back where she belonged.

So I started doing things to be more feminine in a way no one would notice. That didn’t work; people noticed right away that I was becoming more feminine. Also it seemed the more I did, the more I wanted to do. However I could not commit to this new life completely.

One day my therapist asked me a simple question that changed my life literally: “What is your biggest fear about transitioning?”

  I answered without thinking about it: “I don’t want to look like something out of an Ed Wood movie.”

There I said it. It’s finally out in the open. That settles the whole thing. However, the question that was settled would not leave me alone. I thought about it over and over again. Then one night as I was in bed, in that state between awake and asleep, the answer came to me. Let me explain:

Edward Wood Jr. was a movie producer and director. He was a very bad movie director. In fact he was voted the worst movie director of all time by Rotten Tomatoes. That being said, still, he was not afraid to be who he was. Ed Wood was an admitted crossdresser in the 1950s. Are you impressed yet? You should be. Ed Wood once said that, Plan Nine From Outer Space was his favorite movie, but that Glen or Glenda was who he was. Ed Wood did what he loved to do: make movies. He wasn’t very good at it but he followed his dreams. How many of us can say that? He was making movies that main stream Hollywood would not touch in to the early ‘80s. He made Glen or Glenda at a time when Christine Jorgensen had rocked the fabric of American society.

Ed Wood did the best he could with what he had and with the budget he had. Like an upside down spinning pie plate for a flying saucer. Even when his only well-known actor, Bella Lugosi, died early on at the begging of Plan 9, Ed Wood continued making the movie with his dentist as a stand in for Lugosi.

Yes Ed Wood was cheesy, his movies where ridiculous. However movie buffs are still talking about the man almost fifty years after his death. Edward Wood Jr. died of heart failure in 1978 at the age of 54. He died three days after he and his wife Kathy were evicted from their apartment for failure to pay their rent. They were staying with a friend.

However, the way I see it; Ed Wood left his mark on the world. I’m not sure I can say the same thing. When you look at the whole picture, you know what; somehow I’m okay with looking like something out of an Ed Wood movie.

“I am strong, I am beautiful and Trans proud.”


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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender History


About the Author ()

I am a trans girl of a certain age. I have been out and full time since 2017. So that means that I did not transition until later in life. I have two ex-wives and four older boys. Trust me when I say I have made enough mistakes for ten people. I am currently engaged to a beautiful woman who did not come along until I was well into who I am now. I now live in Houston Texas. I love who I am, and love being a girl. Instagram @Chrissy Gann

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