Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for Movies

Mob Mentality

So, there’s this film called Ticked Off Trannies with Knives. It’s scheduled to be shown at the Tribecca Film Festival. And naturally, that’s causing the inevitable freak-out.

I’m told that I’m supposed to be insulted because they use the word “tranny.” Sorry, I’ve given that up. Too many people in the community use the word for me to see it as insulting anymore. It’s just a word. If I can use it, so can anyone else. Context is important, sure, but it’s a cheesy movie. Do we really need to stage a full mobilization to crush a cheesy movie?

I’m urged to be horrified that the “trannies” in the movie act like drag queens and therefore aren’t representative of real transgender women. Well, wait a minute. Isn’t the party line that drag queens fall under the “Transgender Umbrella” that’s always being promoted to insist that we’re all one big happy family? Is it really a good thing to argue that portrayals of drag are horribly offensive?

I’m told that even though the women in the movie (several of whom happen to have some sort of trans in their histories) are comfortable with the movie that they shouldn’t have a say. I’m told that the community should over-ride the women who are in the movie.

Oh, and no one has seen the movie yet, either.

I dunno, I just can’t get all worked up about this. Is it a great thing? No, probably not. But I think it’s disingenuous to claim that the word tranny is so offensive when so many people with trans histories use it. We use it as titles of podcasts and radio shows and the like – but no one else is allowed to use it, I guess. I find it terribly hypocritical to claim that presenting drag as transgender is inaccurate, since the community argues so strongly for inclusion of drag under the “Transgender Umbrella.”

It’s a movie.

And, it might be painful, but in watching how society has gradually come to understand minorities, cheesy (and, fine, offensive) art is often part of the process. I guess I almost see this as moving things forward. It’s twisted, but it’s the way stuff like this seems to go.

And I’m also just saddened by how much energy I’ve seen directed toward this. There’s ENDA still sitting stuck in Washington, and it’s possibly been amended with anti-trans language, but no one’s even sure, and that doesn’t generate this much energy.

Pondering Transproofed with Friends

Saturday night I hosted a group of friends to watch the short film “Transproofed.” It was the first meeting of what we hope will be a recurring and growing group. I say I hosted it, but I was hardly alone in making it happen – it’s just that it was at my house.

So, we watched the film, which deals with dating as a woman of transsexual history and stealth and all that fun stuff.

After the movie we had a great discussion, with some help from some recent facilitator training for one of our group. We talked about disclosure, I told the story of how I talked about my history with the Darling Boyfriend, other people shared their dating hopes and experiences. It seemed like we were all on the same page as far as honesty and disclosure and such.

It was super-neat having my friends over and hosting discussion. It was just very cool.

[spoiler alert]

The part that touched me in the film was when Andrea James is helping Calpernia Addams “trans proof” her apartment, getting rid of all evidence of her trans history. Andrea insists that Calpernia must rid her place of the pictures of her friends. Calpernia refuses, feeling that is too high a price to pay for acceptance. It was a really touching scene. I wouldn’t think such a short movie could make me cry quite so much. Wow. Good stuff! And the talk with the group was just all sorts of deep and insightful and educational and groovy. I love my friends!

No Geek Cred

So, I often describe myself as a geek, and I really do think I’m pretty geeky. Sometimes, though, I realize that while I have some geek tendencies, I’m certainly not the geekiest person I could be.

My boyfriend runs rings around me in the area of geekiness, as I was reminded of yet again this past Saturday. He plays this game called Munchkin. It’s sort of a role-playing card game. My boyfriend and I played a couple weeks ago after we spent our first night together – he taught me how to play. It was fun. So, he goes to a weekly game on Saturdays at Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge, and this week I went with him. There was a Munchkin tournament on Sunday so he wanted to get in a little pre-tournament warm-up. I didn’t have other plans so I figured I’d go with and play.

I had never been to Pandemonium before (which, right there I lose tons of geek-cred), and I was amazed at just how much it fit the stereotype of “geeky game store.” As soon as I walked in the door I knew I had entered a whole new world of geek.

An interesting thought occured to me – this is a place of community. One of the things that’s become clear to me is that when I was younger I had very little community. I’d say my drum and bugle corps was really the only place I felt any sense of community, and even there I often felt pretty isolated. I’ve said in the past that when I was little I was such an outcast that I was even isolated from the geeks. Being in that store confirmed to me that I was right – geeks ~do~ have community. I was ~alone~ when I was younger. I would have loved to have been part of any community, and it was neat to enter into a community-space for geeks.

(Oh, and I wasn’t even the ~only~ girl there – I saw one other girl. But I think it was even more “mostly guys” than the music store is. Wow.)

So, we got some snacks at 7-11 and then settled in downstairs to play Munchkin with a couple other folks (including one of the guys who works at the store). It was fun. We played “The Good, The Bad, and The Munchkin,” which is a Wild West version of the game. I liked it more than “Super Munchkin” (super heroes), which is the version that my boyfriend and I had played a few weeks ago. My boyfriend won the game at the store, but I came in second [hooray]. I had been a little worried before we got there, because I had only played once before; I was worried about looking like a noob. But the guys were very chill and there was someone else that had only played once before, so I felt very welcome and had lots of fun. It’s a fun and twisted game. I would go again sometime.

After the official game, my boyfriend and I played a game of “Munchkin Impossible” (spies) by ourselves. I didn’t like “Munchkin Impossible” nearly as much as “The Good, The Bad, and The Munchkin.” It seems like each different version of Munchkin has a slightly different flavor – some seem more fun than others.

We also played a card game based on Zombies with another guy who works at the store. It was silly and fun. We used a die to represent the “brain,” and the guy who works at the store kept putting it on his head.

After gaming my boyfriend and I dashed to the theater and saw District 9. It was really good, but it was very challenging to watch. I steered us away from Inglorious Basterds because I wasn’t in the mood for something heavy. Well, I bet this was (slightly) less gory, but it was very tough. I probably would have been better off at Inglorious Basterds. The way the aliens were treated was just very difficult to watch. People can certainly be awful to minorities sometimes. I’d highly recommend District 9, but just go in with eyes wide open – it was really heavy.

Yet another super-fun night with my wonderful man. Yay.

I’m dancing on the ceiling.


Love Lessons from Valeria

I re-watched Conan The Barbarian the other day. I’m such a geek; I ~so~ love that movie. But a line stuck out at me: Conan is close to death, and his love interest says this to him:

Valeria: All the gods, they cannot sever us. If I were dead and you were still fighting for life, I’d come back from the darkness. Back from the pit of hell to fight at your side.

And that’s the kind of love I feel, and that I want to feel. I accept that some people have a more detached and rational way of being in love, but I don’t understand it. This quote is what love is for me, and describes what kind of love I need from someone else…

I’m tired of making apologies for being emotional and sensitive and hyper and intense; I effin’ rock.

My Superstar

   Last night while I was at the tenebrae service I was surprised to get as emotional as I did. As I was listening to the readings and giving my readings I was nearly moved to tears a few times; while I was reading the part of the story when Simon denies Jesus I nearly broke down. One of the reasons I value The Crossing so much is that it has really helped me connect my spiritual life with my reality; I never felt such a visceral connection to the stories in the Bible before coming to The Crossing.

   So, while I was at the service last night, I felt an urge to watch Jesus Christ Superstar. I just finished watching it. Superstar has been one of my favorite musicals since I first saw it live over fifteen years ago. I love the music, but there’s more to it than just the music. I tend to live my life very much in the “gray,” and I love the way all the participants are portrayed with internal conflict and doubts and confusion. Judas, especially, is presented as being very tormented by his actions and decisions. It makes the story so much more relate-able for me.

   I guess the thing that really seems to be hitting me during this holy week is all the personal drama within the story of Jesus’ final days. This time around what’s hitting me isn’t the grand miracles, but the personal dynamics. 

   Simon’s denial of Jesus is hitting a particular nerve for some reason. I guess the whole loyalty thing is really important to me; but of course, everyone has to do what they think is right given a set of circumstances. Painting this picture so vividly lets me relate to Simon’s fear and pain even as he denies his friend. And Judas is even more conflicted, feeling trapped into giving up his friend to save the rest of the group of people.

   I know that there’s as many opinions about what the stories in the Bible ~really~ mean as there are people who can read the Bible, but I don’t even need to talk about that. I don’t need to get into a debate about the specifics, here’s what I know: Jesus is the person I most try to use as my moral compass. The whole “What Would Jesus Do?” thing got very political in some groups, but I often ask myself that question. If I can live up to about a quarter of the standard that Jesus set I would feel really happy.

   I dunno, this feels like a rambling pointless post even by my standards. I guess I just wanted to write down how moved I feel by Jesus and Simon and Judas this week.

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