One of the hallmarks of Ms. Huffman’s press for TransAmerica is the obligation to say that it isn’t really like most of those sad, tragic, boring, earnest, depressing, messagey tranny things you have seen before, that an indy film featuring a tranny can be funny and human, not a downer.
Q: People hear “transgender” and think your character must be an oddball. But she’s actually conservative and has a dry wit, kind of like a favorite aunt you might have.
A: We didn’t make a movie which was, “Oh, transgender movie. Hard to watch. Pain. Agony. Alienation. But it’s educational, so you should see it.” I hate seeing those kinds of movies. This is one where people at film festivals have said, “That was an easy watch.”
I’m not sure Ms. Huffman understands that this is exactly the challenge which keeps “Bree” stealth. Bree doesn’t want to have to spend so much time differentiating herself from those “bad trannies” so that people will give her a break and take her as a human. Bree also has to deal with lots of other trannies, who often want to put themselves up by putting her down, saying they aren’t a bad tranny like her.
I know why Ms. Huffman feels the need to say “this isn’t like those bad tranny movies that are hard to watch,” but I also know that every time she says it she characterizes the mass of trannies (or at least tranny movies) to the “not so good” pile. She buys into the game of stigma, saying that yes, the conventional wisdom is that trannys are just pain buckets, but her tranny isn’t.
I’d like the message to be “trannies are worth the effort.” But as long as trannies keep feeling compelled and free to explain why other trannies are sick, the only thing we can do is claim that we are the exception and we are worth the effort.
It’s an indvidual path, this tranny thing, I know. I just like indvidual paths with compassion, respect, affirmation and empowerment towards others, not ones that put ourselves up as good by putting others down as bad.