[Review] “DISCLOSURE” true stories from the LGBTQ+ community

[Review] “DISCLOSURE” true stories from the LGBTQ+ community

(Updated on 2021/02/07)

  • Discrimination
  • Female empowerment and equality
  • Key points
  • Current portrayals in the media

Hi there, Kinkajuu here.
Do you have any acquaintances who are transgender?

In my case, the best friend of my ex-partner is a transwoman. When I saw her, I just thought “oh, a woman came in. she is very tall.” Eventually, I realized she was a transwoman who is a genius and talented in several areas.

It is estimated that 80% of Americans don’t have any acquaintances who belong to a sexual minority. Rather, they learn about transgender through media as Hollywood teaches it.

Today, I’d like to share a documentary called “Disclosure.” This is a documentary with commentary from many LGBTQ+ people in the film industry. The film is about how Hollywood treated trans people historically and how they are currently treated by public opinions.

This was a very educational documentary and I felt moved by the stories.

*this documentary introduces several impressive movies with LGBTQ+ characters, for example:

The Brandon Teene Story
The Danish Girl
The Crying Game

Discrimination

Sometimes trans characters and sexual minorities are presented on the big screen by Hollywood. Unfortunately, they used to mainly be treated as characters to be laughed at.

They were often violated, killed, or pictured as psychological freaks with insane personalities. Trans people used to be routinely bullied and isolated by the movies, and to some extent that might continue today.

Cross-dressing received similar poor treatment by Hollywood. In fact, cross-dressing was illegal in many states. I’m guessing it is because of influence from Christianity. I didn’t know that was illegal before watching the documentary, and I honestly wondered why cross-dressing was illegal?

In older times, Hollywood built up biased and completely inaccurate images of sexual minorities. Also, the bias was often tied to a racial component. Black trans women were treated as a taboo to be exploited by the movies. One interviewee explained how Hollywood presented that “a black man donning a dress is this emasculating thing, like existing was a joke.”

One part of the documentary that made me sad was a scene from another movie where a man loses his penis just because he dresses up like a woman. I didn’t even know how to respond to that. The scene was supposed to be humorous, but I didn’t find it funny at all. It just felt awkward. I really wondered why they even created that scene.

In this older era of filmmaking, sexual minorities were used as comic relief or as dangerous villains. Another interviewee said of presentations in older movies “that we’re dangerous, that we’re psychopaths, that we’re serial killers, that we must be deviants or perverts. Why else would you wear a dress if you’re a man?”

I would like to ask why Hollywood portrayed trans people as psychopaths and serial killers?

Is just being transgender dangerous? It’s too ridiculous. It’s not realistic.

“About who transgender people are, what our lives are and are about, comes from the media”

explained another interviewee.

Even though people were only exposed to the LGBTQ+ community through movies, that limited frame of reference was totally inaccurate.

One interviewer made the point that “children cannot be what they cannot see.”

I believe the problems with old movies was an issue of poor education. I think in previous decades that filmmakers didn’t get any education about transsexual people and other sexual minorities.

Female empowerment and gender equality

In the case of transmasculine (female-to-male transgender), I’ve read that there is more acceptance of the person being a man, but I wondered why that would be the case. I think the reason is related to female empowerment and gender equality.

According to one person in the documentary, “…trans women are a more commodifiable asset.”

It means, I think, that there is an aspect of social hierarchies between men and women where men are superior and they can buy females.

The documentary also had stories of sex workers. One interviewee explained how transwomen struggle to find work. “It is true that in the real world, many transgender women, particularly, are pushed into sex work because of the employment discrimination that transgender people face.”

Key point

In 1952, a soldier in Europe changed their sex to become a woman, and media ran the story widely. Representation of the trans community by the media started to gradually improve from here.

However, trans people were still getting killed off on the screen, and movies continued to treat trans people like circus freaks or spectacles. For example, male characters in some movies would have a violently sick reaction when learning a woman is trans.

This kind of representation continued for another 40 years.

I think it’s unfortunate that transgender people were used as stereotypes in movies even though being transgender should only be one aspect of a character’s personality.

The documentary showed one transwoman, Caroline Cossey, taking a question from a viewer about why she got started as a model and if she wanted to prove that she was a woman. Her response is “I don’t have to prove to anyone or myself that I’m a woman. I am a woman.” Her answer was strong, intelligent, and tender.

In regards to sex reassignment surgery, in my opinion it’s private thing and it’s rude to ask about it publicly. But the media loves to focus on that one aspect of trans people.

One Emmy-winning actress, Laverne Cox, had a very elegant response to an interviewer who pressed her about her operation. She simply declined to talk about it, stating that it is a private matter. She then asked if the interviewer would like to talk about Cox’s photos on W or VOGUE, which was the purpose of the interview.

I really admired how beautifully simple her response was. She didn’t run away from the question or act negatively; she just moved the interview back on topic.

Current portrayals in the media

Recently, media focuses not only on transgender peoples’ gender but also their personality.

But, unfortunately, some conservative people might not be able to accept more realistic portrayals in the media. As one interviewee says, “is this going to somehow alienate people who aren’t ready yet?”

Another interviewee says transgender people are the most sensitive, as they realize easily when people are laughing at them or laughing with them.

“Children cannot be what they cannot see.” Society must not make transgender kids feel “I wouldn’t be loved.” The media revolution is not over yet. I think we need keep the conversation going and try to talk even with those who you cannot accept.

After writing this article, my partner, Dekana, told me an anecdote from the game Final Fantasy XIV. This game recently introduced two pretty girls who seem to be a couple. But they are just friends officially for commercial reasons. Since homosexuality is banned in some countries, and because some paying customers would react negatively, the game’s makers have to avoid officially making characters queer for fear of losing sales.

Instead, the developers inserted a giant rainbow-colored crystal in a scene with those two characters. The same colors as the gay pride flag, a common symbol of support for LGBTQ+.

Cheers,
Kinkajuu

投稿者:

Kinkajuu

社会人X年目 19XX年生誕うお座 A型 Twitter @Kinkajuu1 :英語 臆せずネイティブと話せる :情報収集力 何か調べる時はググり倒すかつ疑い深い。司書資格があり、調べ物は得意 :ITと簿記は学習中レベルですので、レベルアップしていきたいです。 :資産管理に関しては完全に独学です。しかし、良い情報を得ることが得意ですので、あいまいな内容は載せません。 勝手にメンターと呼んでいる方々は下記 ☆編集中☆ ヒトデブログ ヒトデさん ☆編集中☆ 200X年以前 普通に健全に育つ 2005年頃  盛大にずっこける 2006年~2014年9月 暗黒時代 2014年10月 私立Y学園大学通信教育部に入学 2015年10月 私立N大学通信教育部に編入 2017年8月 NZへ単身語学留学 2019年1月 日本に帰国 事務系社会人として再スタート 2020年12月 ブログ「きんかじゅうの作り方」スタート 初めてのブログですので、使いづらい点や見づらい点あると思います。もしございましたらコメント欄にてお意見頂けましたら最大限改善いたします。 お読みいただきありがとうございます :)

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