Monday, March 3, 2014


Several weeks ago I remember saying that I wish I could go to sleep and not wake up until this entire move was done.  The logistics of packing, driving across country, starting a new job, finding and getting settled in a new place, and moving into it was too overwhelming to think about.  But as always seems to happen, all the pieces have slowly fallen into place.

As I type this this I have emptied two of my 3 storage units.  All the stuff from Omaha is in my new apartment - which is a mess, by the way, but improving.  Last weekend I rented another UHaul trailer, I finished moving all my "stuff" from my storage unit here to my house, I drove it to Charleston and loaded it to the gills, I drove it all back, I unloaded it.  It was quite the arduous process but even though things are still very much in flux I can feel it all coming together.

I'm trying to slow down my pace of life now that things have fallen into place - I woke up with a scratchy throat a couple of days last week so I felt on the verge of a cold.  But thankfully it hasn't fully realized itself and I'm fighting back with Airborne and good sleep.  That's key.

Until this past week I haden't been to a fitness center yet this year which I think is part of it.  When I don't get to go there for extended periods I start to feel like a blob.  I started back up with it last week and expect it to continue.  With summer a few months down the road I need to get back into that groove.  It's key to my overall mojo.

I spent a little time last night watching the Oscars.  I don't really care what the Academy says when it comes to what's good and what's not.  My own idea of the ingredients of a good movie and theirs is obviously different.  Regardless, it's interesting to watch Hollywood congratulate itself.  This last year people bought over 6 billion movie tickets which shows that the movie-going experience is as alive and well as ever.

One of the things that made this year interesting was the nomination of Jared Ledo as Best Supporting Actor.  He played a trans character in the Dallas Buyers Club, drawing ire from a vocal portion of the trans community who are upset that the role wasn't played by a trans actor/actress.

I am not one of these people.  In fact, I could care less who plays the role as long as the role is well played.  That'd be like criticizing Felicity Huffman in TransAmerica (1) because she's not trans (2) because there are realistic or unflattering elements to the story, or (3) just because.  Or criticizing Robin Williams in The Birdcage because he isn't gay.  Or the entire cast of "To Wong Foo".  People seem to forget that this is Hollywood, a place of illusion, where acting is all about portraying someone you're not.

A recent story in Time magazine sums up my own feelings:

Some of the criticism of Leto is, indeed, unfair. He was heckled at a Santa Barbara film festival by transgender activists frustrated that the role didn’t go to a transgender actress. That’s a real problem — of course transgender performers are underrepresented or nearly nonexistent in Hollywood with the almost singular exception of Laverne Cox of “Orange Is The New Black” — but it isn’t Leto’s fault. 

Read the story here.

The whole argument that trans characters must be played by trans actors and actresses in order to be valid is absurd to me.  Why on earth would we want to type-cast ourselves like that?

Some are criticizing him because he didn't do more to understand the trans "condition".  Would I have wanted him to do more?  Of course.  Am I frustrated because he doesn't seem to be able to even say the word "transgender"?  Maybe a little.  But at the end of the day, he did his job.  He acted.  He played a part, a role, and was widely acclaimed for it.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not sticking up for the character he portrays, or whether or not he's adequately fulfilling the "socially responsible obligations" that come with a role like this.  I'm saying that I'm not on the bandwagon that believes that only trans-people should play trans roles, or that all trans-roles need to be sympathetic roles.

If all of this brings attention to the fact that the trans community has a number of capable actors and actresses who deserve much more work and visibility than they're getting then I suppose that's good.   We face employment challenges in Hollywood just as we do in other areas of getting and keeping a job.  However, one of these days a trans actor or actress will actually win an Oscar for their performance - it's inevitable - and I don't think there will be any argument that THAT will be something to celebrate.

It probably says something about me that I find all the attention on who's wearing what to the Oscars a bit silly.  BUT - every years there are a couple of people who embody elegance and style in my world.  If I could give my own "Style" award this year I'd give it, hand's down, to Jennifer Lawrence.

She was stunning.  And, it wasn't an act.

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