i just met 2 of my new sheroes! pauline park, a korean american wisconson born ny activist trans woman. and ally sheedy, someone i've lusted after since i first saw her in seventeen magazine a million years ago! and i didn't just meet them; i got to gush over how much their movies meant to me! i saw both of them tonight at the frameline lgbt film festival.
i loved all the films i saw today!
they were so amazing!
one was about an austrian woman and a dutch man who'd fallen in love at a youth camp in the 60's and rekindle the flame after many decades AND after he had become a SHE.
being an old school feminist, i still have really mixed feelings about a lot of trans issues, like whether people who are pre-op should be allowed into places where ciswomen want to gather for just females. as a very experienced community organizer, i believe strongly in the power of "separation" politics for organizing means. ie, i think blacks have a right to organize without the presence of whites, women without men, gays and lesbians without straights. i think oppressed people have a right to be alone with each other in a sacred space without the presence of the privileged party even if they are allies.
last year, i stood up for a friend of mine who leads a private club of bi women after she was attacked in the printed press and online media for being anti-trans. i really thought the attack was grossly unfair. and the way it was done was really insensitive since this woman had stood up for trans issues and organized for and with trans people for many years.
i still think she was treated really unfairly. when one pre-op trans organizer found out about my position, s/he ripped me a new one! s/he spread very vicious lies about me and the other woman organizer and left me with a very bad taste in my mouth about trans issues. i talked it over with my trans friend who was my lover at the time and she felt very passionate about discrimination as well but was not rude or mean. she patiently taught me about how trans people feel without attacking me. that spoke volumes to me.
while i'm still wary of trans organizers who are so angry that they eat their own, i've painstakingly tried to teach myself about trans issues by reading, dialogging, and attending panels and lectures.
tonight i got to meet pauline park after watching a doc about her trans activism. she's an international leader and helped get the trans human rights ordinances passed in new york which protect people against gender variance discrimination. she was amazing! and she was incredibly gracious!
i can see why she's so successful. she really makes you want to listen to her story and to empathize with anyone who's felt that their body doesn't match their internal experience. and she's declined surgery and testosterone which puts her in the minority of trans people. watch the film if you get the chance. you'll learn alot about why gender variance laws are so important and why old school feminists like me have a lot to gain by passing such laws!
the final film i saw was "steam," a pungently delightful romantic dramedy with three main characters, all women. even though the writer/director was male, he really got it right! it's so rare to find a male director who writes complex pieces for middle aged and older women. this was an awesome movie! castro theater was packed and there was gasping, clapping, and "right ons" going on throughout the film it was so dead on! and the Q & A session afterwards was very rewarding. ally sheedy played a single mom with a real dick of an ex-husband who jerked the mother of his son around and threatened her with custody battles. (so much like my ex!!!) the storyline was so perfect, i told the director it felt more like a documentary then fiction! he laughed and said he'd based the character on his neighbor!
ally talked about what it was like to play a complex middle aged woman, and she told me privately when i complimented her on her role that her ex was much like the ex in the movie! get out of town! no way! no fucking way! no wonder she played it so well.
chelsea handler had a supporting role and she was a total scene stealer. she was hilarious as ally's sidekick soccer mom!
ruby dee played a church going widow who's sort of given up on life and her beloved piano playing music ministry after falling into a depression over losing her husband. she finds love late in life though and it's touching but not overly sentimental!
a gorgeous freshman coed discovers the joys (and trials) of realizing she's a lesbian and falling for an assertive bisexual hottie. she also finally stands up to her overbearing Catholic parents in a very humorous scene after she gets arrested for.... well, i don't want to spoil the movie for you.
i cannot tell you enough: go see this movie! it is terrific! i'm adding it to my favorites!