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31 December 2015

2015 and other things: comments

I didn't intend to have a section on Identical Twins (Part 6), one trans, one cis, but noticed that there were several in the news this year. Of course Mark and Clair Farley in the documentary Red Without Blue, 2007, are identical twins, as are Lavern Cox and M Lamar. There is dispute about Candis Cayne and her twin Dylan McDaniel: Wikipedia and the Daily Mail state that they are fraternal twins, but other sources claim that they are identical. I remember heated discussion some years back claiming that cis-trans identical twins could not happen, but now it is well documented, and consequently any simplistic claims based on DNA alone (certainly if without epigenetics) are no longer on.

PFOX (parents and friends of ex-gays) has been running a claim that “Identical Twins Prove No One Born Gay”. To this end they put up a billboard in Virginia showing what was claimed to be two identical twins, one gay, one not. However it was found out that both photographs were of the same South African model, Kyle Roux, who is gay and not a twin, and understandably objected to his image being used in this way. However even if they had featured a real gay-straight twin couple
a) their argument is as lacking in logic as those who argue that DNA does oblige homosexuality or transgender
b) if it were a choice, it is a perfectly legitimate choice
c) PFOX is associated with churches, and there is something very wrong with religion if it is something inherited and not chosen.

Best of luck to the trans-cast film Happy Birthday Marsha. It does seem like sour grapes to point out that Marsha's birthday was 24 August, not late June.

There have been a lot of trans actors getting parts recently and there is a feel that change is about to happen, and that cis-cast trans roles as in Stonewall (2015), The Danish Girl, About Ray, Transparent, will soon be artifacts of the past. Here is a list of recent trans actors, with apologies to others that I have missed in quickly putting this together:

Mimi Juareza, Rebecca Root, Lavern Cox, Pooya Mohseni, Solange Dymenzstein, Mya Taylor, Eve Lindley, Bethany Black, Jamie Clayton, Kitana Kiki, Yasmin Lee, Rüzgar Erkoçlar, Aleksa Lundberg, Lee Si-yeon, Marlo Bernier, Riley Millington, Annie Wallace, Erika Ervin. 

And here is a partial list of trans actors in earlier decades

Pascale Ourbih, Holly Woodlawn, Alessandra di Sanzo, Maria Clara Spinelli, Sandra Day, Michelle De Ville, Jacqie Sarduy, Candis Cayne, Giorgia O'Brien, Kin August, Bobbi Cameron, Jin Xing, Antonia San Juan, Elizabeth Coffey, Bülent Ersoy, Bobby Darling, Romy Haag, Bibi Andersen, Minette, Eva Robin's, Lazlo Pearlman, Candy Darling. 

Click here for trans actors in the movies whom I have already featured in my encyclopedia:

A few comments on Stonewall (2015):

a) Stonewall (1995) included two actual transsexuals: Candis Cayne and Allyson Allanta, as well as drag performer Sherry Vine. In this respect the new film went backwards.
b) even the major gay male roles were played by straight actors.
c) the plot was so similar to the 1995 film as to give the impression that there is only one story to be told about Stonewall. It is sad that the producers thought that.

A few comments on The Danish Girl.

a) A cis actor in the main trans part and Rebecca Root in a small role as 'the nurse' where the character does not even get a name. If we go back to 1987 we find La ley del deseo/Law of Desire by Pedro Almodóvar with cis actress Carmen Maura playing the lead trans role, Tina Quintera, and trans actress Bibí Andersen (now known as Bibíana Manuela Fernández Chica) played a smaller cis role, Ada. So have we moved forward at all?
b) It has been suggested that Rebecca Root was unsuitable for the part in that the character is male for the first part of the film. I couldn't find a clear statement on this. Of course any trans actor playing a trans character in transition would be expected to play the before and after. Laverne Cox is fortunate in having a twin brother to play the before scenes. We of course expect a trans actor to be an actor first and foremost and to be able to play both genders just as much as cis actors do.
c) It has been said that no trans actor has the reputation to attract the necessary investment. Somehow when a film is about a child, they cast a relatively unknown actor as the child and do not run into that particular problem.

Fame is often fleeting

Mikki Nicholson, 36, Carlisle, UK national Scrabble champion 2010, subsequently suffered frequent abuse, and has committed suicide.

Diana Sacayán (1975 – 2015) Argentinian activist, was given the first revised ID card by President Cristina de Kirchner in 2012, but has now been murdered.

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