I finally saw Transamerica.
My biggest shock was when the amazing Melissa Sklarz popped up on screen, but I suppose if you have been around a while, you are bound to know someone in the movie. “Bree” didn’t really seem to have any tranny friends, but that was a conceit that helped make the movie work, of course. Ms. Huffman is a consumate pro — the walk down the hallway to surgery was very moving — but because of the script or her choice or her choices, I didn’t really see much of Stanley there. Stanley was Bree’s first role, one she had to make work, and it’s not my experience that transsexuals who transition later don’t have some of that role visible.
The arc of the film, though, uses something that I have been talking about for a while. Humans are sexually dimorphic for reproduction, and that means that the key difference between males and females, beyond all the stuff we have shoved onto gender differences, is that men are the daddies and women are the mommies.
Bree comes alive as she accepts her role as mom, her heart breaks open, and she works to make a better life not really for her but for her children. And as she loosens up — the final trans surgery is when we pull the stick out of our own ass — she becomes more woman, and people like Calvin notice. In his reflection, she sees her own beauty, and that opens her up more.
The production company for Transamerica is called Transparent. That should tell you something.
I’m like many other non-op transsexuals. If I could have had children as a female, I would have had the surgery decades ago. But the surgery renders you neutered, which you can call post-menopausal, or maybe even eunuch. And if you have a baby with a woman, there is rarely room for two moms. Kids need fathers too, and the role is different.
As a femme, I know that what I need most is someone to love. It’s just the way we are built. Not all trannys born male are femme, but if you know us, you know that.
It’s a sweet movie, TransAmerica, but of course, we only see the tip of the iceberg. Toby, well, that kid has some challenges becoming whole after the abuse he suffered. And Bree, well, she may look like a mom, but there are still empty spaces and vaults of hurt in her.
We are redeemed when we enter the generation of the parent. So much of my stuff from the mid 1990s is about that theme, the power of parenting.
My stuff from the mid-2000’s well, that’s about being lost again. One road trip informs, but it takes many trips to make a life.