I was complaining the other day about the vogue-ishness of transgender trending. A few hours later I was decisively told “no” (i.e., that shit will not fly, homey, so button it) by a columnist friend, and then another columnist friend replied that while the current era of transgender acceptance and celebration may seem threatening or confusing to some, it is nonetheless valid. My reply: “It’s not in the least bit threatening or confusing to me. Of course it’s valid but let’s keep in mind that the transgender option is a surgical remedy — a procedure that corrects a mistake that nature and biology occasionally perpetrate — and is therefore not quite the same as being a passionate socialist or a campaigner against fossil fuels or an opponent of NSA data gathering.
“Caitlin Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair has opened up the floodgates. Transgender choices have become a ‘thing’ in the p.c. realm — a cool vogue, a fashion statement, a topical celebration…a pride flag to hoist up the pole and cheer. And to judge by its proliferation in the media these days you’d think that transgender surgery is now suddenly being weighed or mulled over or considered by a semi-significant percentage of the population. Please. It’s an option that is now out there for people who want to take the plunge (and good for that) but calm down. What percentage of gender-ambivalent persons are having the procedure these days? More now than ever before, I’m guessing, but the attention being given to transgender stories and the general raising of consciousness is, I strongly suspect, wildly disproportionate to the statistical realities.
“One thing I know is that for some in the entertainment press Tom Hooper‘s The Danish Girl (Focus Features, 11.27) is going to become the default Best Picture contender because it’s saying the right thing (i.e., a sympathetic portrayal of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe, a transgender pioneer back in the 1920s) in a political/cultural context. I’m presuming we’ll also see a passionate push for Eddie Redmayne‘s presumed Best Actor-level performance — a performance that will touch us all and which we all need to support because it will affirm the compassionate values that we all believe in. A vote for Redmayne will be a vote for all transgender and would-be transgender persons the world over — simple.
“And if, God forbid, you’re not a fervent supporter of Redmayne then you might be just a tad bigoted on some level, and if that appears to be the case then the word will spread among all the kneejerk Millenials who become enraged if you mention this or that gender as the norm (Jerry Seinfeld‘s daughter told her mother that suggesting she might want to hang out with boys is ‘sexist’) and…see where I’m going here? If you don’t support Redmayne or if you feel that the film or his performance is a bit of a preachy p.c. ploy to ride the wave of transgender topicality, fervor and media attention then perhaps you might be deserving of a full-on Twitter beatdown. Whaddaya think? Is this in the cards, or will Redmayne decide that winning the Best Actor Oscar last year was enough and leave well enough alone?”