Trans Media — TG Arts & Entertainment

| Dec 7, 2015
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Cumberbatch in Zoolander 2.

Cumberbatch in Zoolander 2.

Hello friends! It’s December, the holiday season. How exciting, right … right? Yes, this time of year can be busy, but entertainment always gets going this time of year with everyone wanting to see the awesome holiday movies, binge-watching Netflix, staying inside and reading, and going to stage and art shows.

Controversy is always a hot topic. According to Page Six, Ben Stiller‘s fashion-world comedy Zoolander 2 hasn’t hit theaters yet, but its two-and-a-half minute trailer has some calling the movie sexist and anti-transgender.

Benedict Cumberbatch, alongside Stiller and Owen Wilson, plays an androgynous-looking model named “All” in the clip, which has some saying the film makes a “mockery of trans people.”

An activist for the LGBTQ community, Sarah Rose created an online petition calling for a boycott of the film, stating: “Cumberbatch’s character is clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals. This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority.”

Laura Jane Grace

Laura Jane Grace

Our favorite trans rocker, Laura Jane Grace, is busy in the studio recording her follow up to the 2014 record Transgender Dysphoria Blues but took time out to talk to The Huffington Post about how she is feeling some three years after she came out as trans to the world in Rolling Stone Magazine. When asked about how she felt about the trans community and the direction it is going, she replied:

“I think the focus should be on representing yourself and if you’re a good representation of yourself, you’ll be a good representation of “the trans community.” I’m not sure about a term like “unified trans community,” as that’s starting to sound like a league of superheroes, but I am in for the costumes if there are any. The point is that there is so much diversity in the trans community — and that needs to be represented publicly. Trans people are not cliches and there is no one way to “do trans right” — just as much as there is no one way to “be a real man” or to “be real woman.”

She went on to say that she plans to get right back out there touring next year when the new album comes out. Her personal life has definitely taken a hit. She is no longer with her wife whom she shares a daughter with. Many in the trans community can identify with this as we all have lost something or someone along the way. She states that music is her saving grace. She is not only changing physically, but mentally too. She was asked bout how her relationships with people around her have been affected.

“Simply put, not having to continually compartmentalize my personal life made me a somewhat more well adjusted person and given me a better quality of life, and I’m usually in a pretty good mood as to before when I’m sure I was often more prickly. I’ve learned to release control a little more, hope for the best and try and put trust in people while still knowing when a relationship is good or needs to be ended. After conquering fears of coming out publicly I’m definitely not afraid to say no to something if I don’t like it.”

I am sure it’s tougher to transition in the spotlight, let alone in general, but Laura Jane seems to be handling it as well as any of us. She continues to be an inspiration to many.

The White House made the announcement as it revealed the ‘White House LGBT Artists Champions of Change’ – part of a program recognizing the achievements of activists on a range of issues.

Obama-Danish-GirlThe nine LGBT activists and artists who have made great achievements will be invited to an event at the White House on Monday (November 23).

As well as speeches, the event includes screenings of Eddie Redmayne’s trans drama The Danish Girl and Amazon TV series Transparent.

Transparent, which won four Emmys and two Golden Globes, is returning to air next month – while The Danish Girl, featuring trans pioneer Lili Elbe, is touted as a potential Oscar-winner.

Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett and Secretary for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro will speak at the event.

Speaking of The Danish Girl, Pink News reports that Eddie Redmayne felt “vulnerable” playing a trans woman in the new film out in limited release this month.

“It leaves you feeling very exposed and vulnerable,” he said. “The set itself felt very safe when I would be walking around as Lili but there was still this sense of people watching you and feeling judged. Imagine what it must be like for trans women who are constantly facing such judgment as well as discrimination and violence in many cases.”

The Danish Girl is based on the real-life story of trans woman Lili Elbe, one of the earliest recipients of gender reassignment surgery. Redmayne has received high praise for his portrayal of Elbe, and is being tipped for success during awards season. However, the decision to cast Redmayne in the role of a transgender woman has resulted in criticism from the transgender community.

Rebecca Root

Rebecca Root

Rebecca Root, star of the BBC sitcom Boy Meets Girl, originally auditioned for the role of Elbe but landed a smaller role in the film. She has said that cisgender people shouldn’t play transgender roles, and that she hoped that Redmayne would be the last high-profile cis-gender actor to play a trans role.

Is Caitlyn Jenner going to appear on Amazon’s show Transparent? Cait was invited to the set of Transparent and it not clear whether she was there to visit or for a possible role on the show. Whatever it was, it could only lead to good things in going for authenticity on the series. The more trans people are involved in the production, the better for the show, and all trans folks.

Caitlyn Jenner is also knee-deep in filming her second season of her reality show I Am Cait. While the show was burdened with low but steady ratings, Cait says she is up to the task of making the show better. She will continue to tell real stories of trans people while simultaneously employing them on the show. She knows that the show can help these folks make a living.  Chandi Moore, Candis Cayne and Jennifer Finney Boylan will all be back as well as newcomers.

Candis Cayne

Candis Cayne

The show will also give an inside look into dating as a trans person with Candis Cayne letting producers delve into her forays into the dating scene. That should be quite entertaining to see how Candis handles finding love in a cis-dominated world. I wonder if she will go for guys or girls? There were hints that Candis and Cait were possibly going to date, but it looks like that will not be the case. Cait is not keen on letting producers in on her romantic life apparently.

There are also rumblings that Cait may appear on Season 4 of Orange is the New Black. I can’t imagine where that will go and what role Cait will have on a prison show. That one seems iffy to me.  But, who knows, you never know where Cait will pop up these days, maybe in your hometown. She is still scheduled to do her speaking tour next year and she will be coming to the Bay Area. Yours truly may attempt to go as a rep from TG Forum. Still gotta work that one out.

On the other side of the world, far from the glitz and glamor of Caitlyn Jenner and Hollywood, is another TG story that aims to entertain and to give hope and joy to people sorely in need of distraction from the mundaneness of life.  In Vietnam, there is a troupe of gender-bending folks who travel from town to town entertaining the townspeople with their sometimes violence-inducing show. There was a documentary film titled Madame Phung’s Last Journey made about the traveling production.


Bich Phung is natural leader. She is, at 40, a star, an impresario and a protector of a collection of slim-hipped boys with glittering eye shadow, extreme false lashes and marabou headpieces. Once a monk — she bolted when she was tempted by the beauty of some visitors to the temple — she remains a guardian of spiritual tradition, traveling with a large statue of a female Bodhisattva and performing rituals to honor the ancestors.

Nguyen Thi Tham, who wrote, directed and shot the film, followed Madam Phung for a year as she took her brand of transgender glamour to remote provincial fairgrounds filled with villagers. Mostly, though, the camera reveals boisterous drunks. And after the stage is dark, violence breaks out more than once between cast members and thugs, and Madam Phung appeases the police with a case of beer.

The group is always one crisis away from disaster, karmic credit notwithstanding. But saucy as ever, Madame Phung knows she can walk that line: “I’m not scared of dying, but aging,” she says. –from the New York Times.

That’s all the tidbits and tidings for this month. I hope Yule all be safe out there. Don’t drink too much egg nog and enjoy the holiday season and its many entertainment treats.

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About the Author ()

I am a transwoman originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I have been living full time for 5 years. I work in retail but am an artist/Graphic Designer and aspiring writer. I tend to address the controversial in my writing. I would love to change the world one article at a time. I moved to The San Francisco Bay Area to start over, again. But recently moved back to the East Coast. The adventure continues...

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