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Transgenders Criticize LGB Choice of Film for Festival

by Ashley Love Saturday, Jul. 21, 2007 at 8:49 PM

This Saturday, July 21, Outfest is showing the controversial new film, GENDERCATOR at the Village, 1125 N. McCaden Pl, Hollywood, @ 6 pm. It has been labeled alarmingly transphobic (towards trans men) by many, and was even pulled from San Francisco's film festival, Frameline.

It's been a few weeks since the launch of MAGNET [Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Trans], and we are so happy that so many people showed their support. We will be having our June/July newsletter sent out via email in the beginning of August, so if you have anything media or local trans community related that you would like to have included, please let us know.

The purpose of this post is to alert those of you who don't know, that this Saturday, July 21, Outfest is showing the controversial new film, GENDERCATOR. It has been labeled alarmingly transphobic (towards trans men) by many, and was even pulled from San Francisco's film festival, Frameline, due to many protests. I have not been able to sneak peak a viewing of the film, so I feel it would be inappropriate for me personally to attack it as of yet, but I have read statements from GENDERCATOR's director, Catherine Crouch. She has called today's trans community "strange", and acting because of "distorted cultural norms". Yikes!!, sounds like trans bashing to me. Also, Crouch (wait, is it Crouch..... or Grouch, I can't remember) has implied that all transmen are just lesbians who want to look like men. Now that's an bigoted theory! One of me best friends identifies as a transman (and FTM), and he has never even been with a woman in his life! He only is attracted to men, and identifies as a gay man. He tells me there is a large portion of the "FTM" community that date only men, so that devalidates Crouch's opinion that all trans men are disturbed lesbians. Note to Crouch:You may want to do a little more research before you generalize and blast an entire group of people (unless you think the sensationalism of your slurs and stereotyping will be beneficial for your personal agenda (and publicity for your film)), as well as being able to vent your internal transphobia, which could only be the result of your repressed and prejudiced issues)

I have attached a CALL TO ACTION that was sent to me from a friend. I strongly encourage you to come, and to please forward the following CALL TO ACTION to all who may be interested, even if you think they may not come. As the trans community, it is vital that we come together and call out what we see as transphobic and hateful, even if the none of the "prestigious" organizations that supposedly include us in those they protect won't stand with us. It saddens me that so many of my trans brothers and sisters that work for these big LGB "T" non profits and service provider agencies feel that they cant protest as much as they want to because it may jeopardize their job. I sympathize when they tell me their "hands are tied", because sometimes they are.The essence of one of my friends plight to me when she was venting went something like this "I thought I'd get a job at the big "LGBT corp" and really help out my community. I thought the "T" was just added at the end of the acronym because it rolled off the tongue better. Unfortunately, I was soon to find out it was also because we are also ranked lowest on their list of priorities, and that "baby steps" became what was allowed of me only and over again. But I wanted "leaps and bounds", but when I insisted, I was told by my "non trans" superiors basically not to be "too difficult", "dramatic", "too radical" and "idealistic". I was given the talk that implied "Be a good little trannie, be happy you have a job at such a reputable organization, and let us decide what battles are appropriate for you to fight concerning your community. Can't you just wait a little longer? Its just that the whole trans thing is so complicated, and we need more time to figure out how to advocate for you. Now, I know you've had your eye on that promotion, so just shut up, clock in from 9-5, space out your "proactiveness", let the "G"s and "L"s do their thing, don't make such a ruckus, and I'm sure you'll get that promotion. By the way, we need a token tranny to give a speech (it will be towards the end of the ceremony, and the shortest in time) at the fundraiser next week, so please come prepared, and nothing too radical, we are having a few of our conservative donors come. Also, don't you know how many other trans persons would love to fill the designated "trans slot" that you are filling right now? This will be quite good for your resume, your career and your livelihood. Yes, you are lucky, so thanks for being a "team" player.".

We the trans community are all very well aware of the in house politics, bureaucracies, compromise , unwritten (but strongly enforced) rules that accompany so many of the groups that are meant to fight for us, but fail to do so. The National Gay And Lesbian Task Force defies this stereotype, and was extremely instrumental in demanding that gender identity be added on the hates crime bill (and went to bat against an in particular LGBT campaign and demanded that they include us, or they would not support them), and has been trans inclusive from DAY ONE. Also, the Los Angeles Gay And Lesbian Center also has been responsible in how much they prioritize the "T". They have many trans programs, like LOTUS, and are gearing up to launch a program that will give state of the art services to transgendered people.

But despite the rare exceptions, many LGBT orgs have a lot of maturity to grow into concerning responsibly advocating for the trans community. Please read the book-- "The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond The Non-Profit Industrial Complex" by Jeanine Plant. It talks about much of what I have noted.

After the trans women kicked off the modern LGBT movement during the Stonewall Riots 38 years ago, one of the main faces of those protests, Sylvia Rivera, was asked "Was Stonewall a high-water mark in the battle for gay or trans liberation?"

"It was both", she replied. Although Sylvia was trans, she had fought for the Entire LGBT family. If she were alive today, how would she feel to see the trans people continuously being bullied into taking back seat, or into not even a seat at all, in so many the the queer movement's agenda? However, when I see so many trans activists speaking out on these issues, it strengthens my hope. Also, I do see many LGBT orgs slowly (too slowly, but we will speed them up) turning in the socially and morally right direction.

This Saturday, July 21, at The Village, please be there. There will also be a discussion afterward for us to express ourselves facilitated by Riku Matsuda. Please read the following CALL TO ACTION. In the blog entry I posted yesterday, I added a commentary by trans rights activist Susan Stryker, who has actually been able to see the film. I, and many others who stand for humanity, am a big fan of Stryker, and respect her opinion immensely. I think it will be informative for you to read a point of view of someone who has seen the film.

To end on a positive note, Outfest is showing many trans films that have positive messages during the festival. Tomorrow and Sunday "The Believers" is showing, which is about the only all trans gospel choir. Trans Equality is the community sponsor of this film (of who all are all doing so much great work for marriage equality rights for trans people and their loved ones.) Also, check out another Outfest screening with a positive trans portrayal, the short film "Casting Pearls", starring the beautiful and talented Calpernia Adams. Please visit to find time and locations for these films, and the many other films.

Please contact me if you have any concerns or items about trans portrayals in the media (and to say hi), and I look forward to hopefully seeing you on Saturday. Best, Ashley PS, this screening is FREE, but worth ALOT, so please come out and support.

Ashley Love- Activist- MAGNET

Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Trans. (310) 621- 0011

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