There are a couple of charming twenty-somethings I hope you get a chance to meet soon. The first is Ricky, a young woman living in the rural south, who just happens to be transgender. She’s an aspiring designer who works at the local coffee shop and is waiting to hear back from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Robby has been her BFF since first grade.
They’re two of the characters in the new romantic comedy Boy Meets Girl. And while this funny, moving film presents trans* and gay issues, the story is remarkably mainstream. In addition to the universal themes of love, alienation and self-acceptance, personal freedom is also given a fresh, thoroughly modern perspective.
At a Q&A after a preview of this award-winning film sponsored by PFLAG NYC and the JCC Manhattan, writer/director Eric Schaeffer talked about “breaking out of the confines and constructs that society places us under as a straight man, gay man, gay woman, trans woman, and how we’re allowed to behave emotionally, physically.” He does this on film so well that I’m convinced the viewer, regardless of sexual orientation, will forget about gender altogether and identify with their own desire to find love, have a happy family, and be supported by that family.
Eric Schaeffer also likes to blow up stereotypes. Do you think all southern transgender girls have a hard time growing up? Is there a bigot behind every front door in the South? Is a homophobic Marine really hateful? Do transgender girls hate their bodies? I’m certain you’ll leave the theater ready to take on more than a few misguided generalizations.
My twenty-something child Harry and I were talking about transphobia over dinner the other night. I asked why they* thought some people are afraid of transgender men or women.
“Because to them it’s a scary, foreign, make-believe thing,” they said. “It’s the same kind of fear and ignorance that breeds racial prejudice, as well.”
I know Harry is right. So please do your part to bust a few stereotypes yourself. Watch the Boy Meets Girl trailer, go see the movie that opens in New York this weekend, and take friends and family. And then encourage other family and friends to see it, too. First-graders shouldn’t be the only ones who know How to be a Girl.
*My only offspring Harry’s preferred gender pronoun is They. I know it takes some getting used to, as I occasionally slip up.
Images source: boymeetsgirlmovie.com
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