Category Archives: Entertainment

Trans-related entertainment, including book and film reviews.

February 2016 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

KKFI

Hello everyone! On Trans Talk this month the we’re going to be talking with two people in our studio. First we’ll speak with Dr. Hiten Soni, a psychiatrist who strongly supports the transgender community, especially regarding the subject of surgery. Next we will speak to Sieran, an intersex transgender person, about both his own personal journey and the challenges faced by intersex persons in general. And for this month’s show, my wife Fiona Nowling will be a guest co-host.

I will also give a breakdown of some of the LGBT news this week, and we will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, February 20 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

Transphobia on the New X-Files?

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Like many who followed the first X-Files series, I’ve welcomed the return of the series for its mini-season, even though the episodes thus far have contained more than a bit of camp. And so starts the third episode of this series, which is titled “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster.” The episode is your basic “monster” episode, outside the overall plot arc for the series (which still remains to be made clear), and normally these “monster” episodes are an opportunity to have a bit of scary with a bit of fun.

This episode, however, starts to go bad within 6 minutes of the start. The overall plot has Mulder and Scully investigating murders (or animal attacks) in Oregon, and very quickly we are treated to a scene of a prostitute at a truck stop soliciting sex, who encounters the “monster of the week” and promptly wallops it with her purse. The prostitute is played by D.J. Pierce, a drag performer whose acting credits include “This is Drag” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” And as Mulder and Scully interview her as a witness, she outs herself as a crack-addicted transgender prostitute in an incredibly cringe-worthy scene. You can see a clip below (forgive the crudeness; I lack mad video skills and I didn’t want to pirate directly from the episode).



Later on, Mulder has a conversation with the “monster,” now in man form as “Guy Mann,” wherein he stumbles embarrassingly through a discussion of the meaning of transgender and transsexual.

Mann: “Man, she hit like a man!”

Mulder: “That’s because she used to be… she once… she’s transgender.”

Mann: “What? You can’t transform into a different sex! That’s nuts!”

Mulder: “It’s not nuts, it’s actually a very common medical procedure. You don’t need the surgery, technically, to—”

Mann: “Maybe that’s what I could do! It’s a cure! I’ll do the surgery!”

Mulder: “No, completely different.”

Mann: “Tell me how much it costs, I’ll do it.”

Mulder: “They cut off your genitals.”

Mann: “No, leave it. That’s a step too far, isn’t it. Well, anyway, I think she gave me a concussion.”

“That’s a step too far, isn’t it?” Right.

Will I stop watching the new series because of this? No. But the X-Files missed a moment to actually show a just a little bit of sympathy towards transgender persons.

January 2016 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

KKFI

Hello everyone! On Trans Talk this month the topic will be finding our voices, and using them. I will first talk with Gillian Power, who is organizing a transgender chorus in Kansas City to empower the community and help train others in finding their voice. Next I will speak with Brenda Way and Elle Boatman, transgender activists from Wichita who have used their voices and their energy to benefit their community and make Wichita a better place.

I will also give a breakdown of some of the LGBT news this week, and I will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, January 23 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

OBITUARY: Transgender Actress Holly Woodlawn (1946 – 2015)

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My friend Eve Golden, an author, actress, and New York socialite who writes celebrity obituaries, has sent me information on the passing of transgender actress Holly Woodlawn, and I’ve added some bits from research I’ve done.

Holly Woodlawn died of cancer today (December 6) in Los Angeles. Born in Puerto Rico, Woodlawn hit New York in the 1960’s and soon fell in with the crowd of admirers and protégés surrounding artist Andy Warhol. She, Candy Darling, and Jackie Curtis were among the first openly transgender actresses in the New York stage and film world (and all of them were named in Lou Reed’s hit, “Walk on the Wild Side.” Woodlawn appeared in the films Trash and Women in Revolt, and in low-budget films such as Night Owl and Heaven Wants Out. She also had roles in the somewhat more well-known Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss and several cameo appearances on the award-winning Amazon series Transparent. In 1982, Holly was hired by the producers of Tootsie to coach Dustin Hoffman in his role. In recent years, Woodlawn worked in West Hollywood as a cabaret artist.

In 1991 she published a memoir titled A Low Life in High Heels, and in an interview in 2014 was quoted as saying “Aging is the best thing that could have happened to me…I have calmed down a gazillion compared to what I was younger. It is nice seeing all the kids around and thinking, ‘Oh God, if only they knew what is ahead of them!’ I hope they’re prepared! At least with me, it was never dull or boring.”

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A Kansas City Transgender Event – Free Screening of “The Danish Girl”

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As Caroline Gibbs, founder of the Transgender Institute announced on my Trans Talk program on KKFI last Saturday, Kansas City is honored to be presenting a screening of the Universal Pictures film The Danish Girl. The film is a semi-biographical drama of the groundbreaking journey of Einar Wegener, the husband of artist Gerda Wegener, to become one of the world’s first transgender women – Lili Elbe (I have only posted a very small amount of information about Lile Elbe on my site here).

Academy Award winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables) directs the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of Einar/Lili and Gerda. Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, Les Misérables) and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, Anna Karenina), star as Einar/Lili and Gerda, respectively.

What’s more, thanks to the sponsorship of the Transgender Institute, you can register online to receive free tickets for the screening! There are 200 seats available, and they are given out on a first-come, first-served basis. You can register for the event by clicking the link below, and you need not create an account to use it, just proceed as “Guest.” Click here to get your free tickets, while they last!

Date: Tuesday, December 15, 2015.

Time: 7:00 P.M.

Location: The Glenwood Arts Theatre, 3707 W. 95th St., Overland Park, KS, 66206.

There will be a brief introduction before the film to provide some historical background, and yours truly has been invited to deliver an introduction – so I hope to see many of you there!

A Heartland Transgender Chorus May Be Forming, and You Are Invited to Join

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This message was given to me by my friend Gillian here in Kansas City, and I’m posting it on her behalf to reach out to my many readers to see if anyone is interested in joining this. I really think this could be a wonderful opportunity for an accepting group activity to build confidence and meet new friends in Kansas City. Her message follows:

A Transgender Chorus in Kansas City

For many of us, becoming who we are entails finding our voice. Voice however is different in different circumstances. Speaking on the phone is different to speaking in public to speaking to a loved one. So often our voices betray us and all too often we don’t feel like we have a voice.

I hope that we can change that in Kansas City.

I recently had the honor of meeting with and hearing the members of Boston’s Butterfly Music Transgender Chorus rehearse. It was a beautiful and moving experience that touched my heart and inspired me to work towards establishing our own chorus right here in Kansas City. I have been working to gather support and information from folks that want to help us establish the chorus. Specifically Heartland Men’s Chorus and folks at GALA. In addition to Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago are also getting choruses going.

The vision is to create a sustainable structure with good governance that over time will evolve into a place for us to sing as one and to claim our space in the world. Singing and especially choral work offers a profound opportunity for growth and discovery and a way to have your true voice heard.

Please share this post with anyone who you think might be interested in joining and participating either as a singer or as a supporter. Once a quorum of people is established on social media, we will arrange a public meeting to establish a steering committee and embark on finding our voice.

Please go to the FaceBook group setup to discuss this project and ask to join if you are interested: https://www.facebook.com/groups/KCtranschorus/

New Zoolander Film Called “Transphobic”

A somewhat odd controversy has erupted over the trailer for the film Zoolander 2. In the trailer, actor Benedict Cumberbatch plays a androgynous model named “All,” and in one brief scene from the trailer, the two stars question whether All is a “male or female model” and if All has “a hot dog or a bun.”

Several petitions have been started calling for a boycott of the film for mocking transgender, androgyne, and gender fluid individuals. While other petitions demand to know why a transgender, androgyne, or gender fluid individual was not cast in the campy role, as opposed to a cisgender actor. Just proving that some days, you simply cannot win.

Having viewed the trailer my strongest urge was neither to start nor sign a petition, but rather to consider watching Mad Max: Fury Road for the 9th time instead.

You can see the trailer at the link below

October 2015 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

KKFI

Hello everyone! On Trans Talk this month I am going to cover three topics. First I’ll speak with Lanie Gray Macaulay and Hannah Miller, teachers at Olathe North High School who sponsor their Gay-Straight Alliance. Next I will speak with SOFFA leader Fiona Nowling and Marsha, a transgender woman who has been separated from many in her family as a result of her transition, and we will discuss the problems faced by transgender persons during the holidays. Finally, I will interview Oliver Bohanon and Natalie Hicks, who are working on a transgender documentary film project right here in Kansas City.

I will also give a breakdown of some of the LGBT news this week, and I will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, October 24 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

September 2015 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

KKFI

Hello everyone! On Trans Talk this month, my co-host Luke Harness and I are going to cover three topics. First we’ll speak with Jacob and Drew, transgender men who will discuss how their local gym became a trans+ friendly Kansas City business. We will next have wardrobe stylist Jennifer Niehouse to talk about creating a personal transgender style. Finally, Luke will be interviewing me about my experiences with the transgender communities of 4 countries I’ve recently worked in.

As usual Luke will give us a breakdown of some of the LGBT news this week, and I will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, September 26 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

Olathe School District’s Transgender Restroom Policy Stirs Controversy – Not

The bathrooms inside a Johnson County high school are sparking some controversy, and it all has to do with which restrooms transgender students can use.

Please note that this is an old event, which has been bumped on social media and sent to me by two separate people, so I thought I would at least address the issue.

The original article from KCTV5, which is linked below, has a headline which implies that there is a major protest action, or some sort of mass resistance to the fact that two transgender students in the Olathe School District are being allowed to use the restroom congruent with their true gender. In reading the article, however, we find that the “controversy” consists of:

“KCTV5 News received an email from someone who said they are a concerned Olathe East High School parent outraged the school never told them anything, and now their student will be in a restroom with the opposite sex.”

A single e-mail. From one person, not identified. Wow, does Obama know about this? The article makes a further error, when it prints:

“The school district is in uncharted territory. They are the first metro school to address what the school paper calls the transgender ‘bathroom issue.’ “

Except of course for the entire KCMO School District, as proven by my interview with Lawrence Altman on last month’s Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio.

Honestly, I’m really uncertain at the level of reporting here, especially given that KCTV5 has a rather good record on transgender reporting, as seen in their reporting on the recent murder of Tamara Dominguez.

Source: District’s change over restrooms for transgender students stirs controversy

August 2015 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

KKFI

We are going to cover three topics on Trans Talk, Saturday, August 22nd, at 1:00. First, we are going to be going “back to school” by talking with Jack, who will be sharing his experiences transitioning while at UMKC, and speaking with Luke Harness about the support groups offered on campus. We also have Lawrence Altman, the Lead Compliance Attorney for the Kansas City Missouri public school district, to discuss the comprehensive protections for transgender students in his district. For the next half of our program we will be interviewing Fiona Nowling, who is the leader of the Kansas City SOFFA support group, for the significant others, friends, family, and allies of transgender people. With Fiona is Louise, a long-time SOFFA member who has had success adjusting to the transition of her child as a result of support she and her husband found through the group. Finally, I will report on the murder of local transgender woman Tamara Dominguez, and report on the local media coverage and missteps which infuriated many in the Kansas City transgender community.

As always, we will have a breakdown of the LGBT news for the week and the community calendar update. Be sure to tune in at 1:00pm central, 90.1 FM, or kkfi.org, Kansas City Community Radio!

 

Poet Creates First Class for Transgender Poetry

Trace Peterson, a poet at the forefront of the push for transgender representation in poetry, will soon pioneer what she says is the country’s first course in transgender poetry.

Transgender lives and the experience of being transgender is something which not only is difficult for cisgender persons to understand, it can sometimes be difficult for we ourselves to understand. But this is part of the human experience, really – understanding ourselves and our place in the world has been a challenge since the earliest eras of civilization, and poetry has assisted with that communication for millennia.

Enter Trace Peterson, editor and publisher of the journal EOAGH and co-editor of the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. And in an effort to create visibility for transgender people, as well as to create a literary context for their work, Ms. Peterson will teach what she says is the first course in transgender poetry at Hunter College (of the City University of New York) this fall.

At the link below you can read a poem by Ms. Peterson, as well as listen to her reading her own work.

(Thank you to Julie C. for the news scoop).

Source: Poet creates first class for transgender poetry

Trans Talk : Local Musicians and a Successful Transgender Marriage

KKFI

On today’s show on the Tenth Voice’s Trans Talk program, Una Nowling (me), and Luke Harness (my bro) will discuss two very different topics. In our first segment the topic will be transgender musicians, and three local transgender musicians will join us in the KKFI studio to discuss their art and their lives – Melody Burns from the External Combustion Orchestra, solo performer Mercury Mad, and Ceri Anne, who is working to form a band called “The Transistors.”

In our second segment we will have Blake and Ali in our studio to discuss the challenges of their transgender relationship. Together for seven years this October and married as a same sex couple in 2010, they became husband and wife in October 2014, after Blake got his gender marker legally changed. They’ll be with us in the studio sharing their experiences of being in a relationship prior to, and throughout, Blake’s transition.

Listen to us at 1:00pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City’s Community Radio. If you are outside of the area or do not have a wireless receiving device, you can stream the program by going to our station’s website.

Zoey Tur is Unfortunately in Hot Water, Again

Journalist Zoey Tur, who has undergone a highly public gender transition and who has also been responsible for even more highly public controversies among the transgender community, has had a police report filed against her by Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro. The complaint was prompted by the following escapades which occurred during a televised discussion regarding Caitlyn Jenner. From the Washington Times:

The report follows a tense exchange between Mr. Shapiro and Ms. Tur on HLN’s “Dr. Drew On Call” over Caitlyn Jenner’s receipt of ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Ms. Tur grabbed the back of Mr. Shapiro’s neck and said, “You cut that out now, or you’ll go home in an ambulance,” after Mr. Shapiro called her “sir.”

Mr. Shapiro later alleged that Ms. Tur had threatened him after the appearance, saying, “I’ll see you in the parking lot.” CNN security escorted Mr. Shapiro to his car after ensuring Ms. Tur had left the premises, according to Breitbart News.

Ms. Tur also tweeted “me too” on Friday in response to a Twitter user who said he’d liked to see Ms. Tur “curb stomp” the Breitbart editor.

Seems a bit over-the-top, yes? Tur is a polarizing person in the transgender community, for such other controversies as her “investigation” via Facebook of transgender woman Carlotta Sklodowska, who was harassed for using the female facilities at a Michigan gym. Tur “speculate(d) that Sklodowska was actually a male-identified crossdresser expressing a “sexual fetish.” and further “directly accused Sklodowska of entering the locker room as a sexual predator aiming to “perv out on women.”

Tur also angered transgender people when she:

“…implied that some trans men are not actually trans because they just have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormone imbalance found in some females. “With hormone replacement therapy,” she proclaimed, “it can be treated and it can adjust people back to where they would be.” Interviewer James St. James confirmed, “So you’re saying that they might think that they’re transgender when actually it’s just a medical situation?” “Correct,” Tur responded. Diego Sanchez, Director of Policy for PFLAG National and a transgender man himself, told ThinkProgress that Tur’s assertion is “false.” He should know; his own endocrinologist, Dr. Vin Tangpricha, has conducted much of the available research on the topic.”

She also twice outed Caitlyn Jenner on television prior to her transition, and she has made inaccurate legal claims, which she did own up to, regarding Title II versus Title VII and its relevance for protecting transgender persons.

Tur, who holds no journalism degrees nor any research credentials nor scientific training which would provide her backing for making the statements which she has made, has been brash and largely unapologetic about her stances and statements. With this latest television embarrassment, she is again casting transgender persons in a bad light. I don’t have a circuit of pet television spots to appear upon, but I have enough professional training and doggone common sense to understand that you do not physically assault your opponent during a debate, nor make vague threats of violence in person! Honestly, I really don’t get it.

From ThinkProgress:

Tur insisted to ThinkProgress that she doesn’t think of herself as a spokesperson of the trans community, adding that she was “fully thinking of the [good of the] community” when she made her comments. But Sanchez warns that despite her intent, the way she speaks about transgender issues — and the way the media allows her to speak about transgender issues — could still be problematic. “It is crucial for the health and well-being of all people who are trans that one person does not declare themselves or be declared a spokesperson for an entire community,” he told ThinkProgress. “It is also crucial that the media not approach anyone in that way. One person’s experience is exactly that: one person’s experience.”

Juro, like Stabler and Sanchez, worries that the political stakes for transgender equality are too high to allow for such problematic messaging and representation. Her advice to Tur is simple: “Please stop saying stupid shit on television.”

Indeed.

Source: Ben Shapiro files police report against Zoey Tur, Inside Edition reporter – Washington Times

“Tangerine”: A Stunning and Unusual Film About Transgender Prostitutes

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Shot on tricked out iPhone 5s’s along the streets of L.A., Sean Baker’s no-budget revenge odyssey ‘Tangerine’ is not only a staggering achievement, but a brilliant film.

The plight of transgender prostitutes is one I know very well, having served for a time on the board of directors of a charity which provided needed assistance to prostitutes on the streets of Kansas City, a very large number of which were transgender women of color. And there really isn’t anything positive at all about the conditions in which transgender prostitutes must work and live, the violence and degradation they endure, drug and alcohol addiction, the lack of basic services – let alone health care. In short, there really isn’t anything humorous at all about the world of sexual exploitation.

But art finds humor even where it seems impossibly irreverent. And so long as the characters are treated with respect and allowed their own dignity, even a portrayal of transgender prostitution could have artistic merit without being offensive.

Enter the indie film Tangerine, scripted by Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch and turning heads after a splash debut at the Sundance film festival. Set in the strip of Santa Monica Boulevard, a common venue for transgender prostitutes bordered by the trendy gay mecca of WeHo and the working-class ethnic enclaves of East Hollywood, the story of Tangerine revolves around Sin-Dee (Kitana “Kiki” Rodriguez) and her quest to punish her man (James Ransone) who was unfaithful with one of his cisgender prostitutes while she was serving a month in jail. This naturally sets Sin-Dee’s into a furious rampage across Hollywood one Christmas Eve, with her best friend, fellow prostitute Alexandra (Mya Taylor) accompanying her.

There is a preview of the film below; it is most definitely not work-safe, with a lot of profanity. What has many talking about Tangerine is not the subject matter, but the fact that the entire film was shot on a shoestring budget using three iPhone 5s smartphones. Yes, that’s right, filmed by smartphones.

There is more detail about the film at the two links below the YouTube video. It’s difficult to get a clear impression of the film from a 2-minute preview, I’m going to give the film a chance and see it or buy the DVD as soon as it is released. I confess that even though I tried not to, given the gravity of the overarching topic, I actually laughed out loud at the back-and-forth witty dialogue between Sin-Dee and Alexandra.

‘Tangerine’: How One of the Most Stunning Movies of the Year Was Shot on an iPhone – The Daily Beast

The Plight of the Transgender Prostitute – The Daily Beast