New York Times Opinion Piece

The New York Times recently ran an Op-Ed piece where the writer discusses her life and how she and the world have changed and not changed.  It’s poetic and interesting and a little political, and I am just going to pass it on without further comment!

Loving Freely

AND, if you are in the New York Area, there are some interesting panels and films to check out as well mentioned in this article!

Film Fest!

Should Non-TG actors play TG Characters?

04TRANSGENDER-blog427Photo from NYTIMES

Yes, they should.

The question, and my response, arise in response to a recent New York Times article discussing the casting of Eddie Redmanye and Elle Fanning to play transgender characters even though neither publicly identifies as being transgender.  Some groups and individuals have raised concerns, saying only actors who identify as transgender should play transgender characters..

I can summarize my feeling on this issue pretty simply:

  1.  We are not our bodies
  2. We are not what other people tell us
  3. We do not have to choose to identify as anything
  4. No one should be pressured into “outing” themselves.

To focus on item three, the pressure to put myself into a box and slap a label on my forehead tortured me throughout my life, and the need of others to label me created conflict where there didn’t need to be any.   I do not like labels, and I do not think we need to live in a world where every character and every actor has to be assigned a label and put into a box–  oh, that’s that transgender actor… or that gay actor… or that ingenue, or whatever.  Because people couldn’t figure me out they labelled me with things like girly boy, or they lisp he’s sensitive at me like being sensitive was a crime.   Some people called me a freak and a deviant.   That was where the drive for labels took me.  Do I want to be labelled?

NO.  We are are all more than labels, we all contain multitudes.  Am I a girlish boy?  A boyish girl?  I don’t have to choose.   I feel different things different days and different times, and my dream would be to live in world with more choices, more freedom and less labels.

The film makers can and will cast the actors they want to cast.  That is their right.   They want to make the best movie they can.  Some will not like those choices, and they have a right to express their feelings as well.

But I, for one, will never raise my hand and scream,  “LABEL ME!  Give me a bar code!  Put me in on a box on a shelf!”

I transcend all labels.  And you do, too.

New York Times on Casting

NY Times on blurring gender lines

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Breaking Free of Boundaries

I dream a dream of fashion anarchy, where people just wear what they want depending on who they feel they are on a given day or a given time of life.

And unisex clothing is not the answer.

Today’s New York Times features an article on the blurring of gender lines in fashion, with more and more designers opting for unisex clothing lines in which all their items are sold without any male/female labeling or identification. The clothes are awesome, and I support and applaud anyone who likes them and wears them, but I long for a more expressive world.

And what would that more expressive world look like?  That world, to me, would include fashions that fell everywhere from the extremely feminine to the extremely butch, and in my world people could wear whatever they felt like on any given day in any given season.  If a woman wanted to dress in “dude” clothes, she could, or unisex, or if she felt like getting all dolled up and showing off all her curves, that would be fine, too on any given day for any reason.  Ditto a man.

What I see in the pictures that accompany the articles are a bunch of gorgeous, rail-thin models with androgynous features, all hints of curves or angularity hidden beneath loose, baggy clothes. The designer Kimberly Wesson, who wears her own unisex fashions, complains that her friends plead with her to wear a “sequined skirt” or to dress like “Joan from Madmen.”  Her designs are great, and she should wear the hell out of them, but why create a new set of restrictions in which unisex is an iron-bound fashion rule just as a inflexible and rigid a code as any other?  In which people are hiding their bodies?  In the name of being gender free, do we have to become gender-less?

I realize my vision for an expressive world that opens up opportunities for expression and includes more rather than less options may well be an unrealistic fantasy.  Even in my own writing I have yet to write a story where it exists, though maybe I will now that I think about it.  I think any trend that involves blurring of gender lines is a good trend.  The article asserts that more and more members of the younger generation are comfortable with gender free clothing, though, predictably, this trend is more female-centric as it has long been more acceptable for women to adopt men’s fashion that the other way around.

The changes are good, and I applaud all of the designers moving away from rigid notions of male and female clothing, but I want more.

I dream a dream of fashion anarchy, where people just wear what they want depending on who they feel they are on a given day or a given time of life.  I want total freedom all the time for everyone.