Felicity Huffman just won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Movie for Transamerica. Transamerica is the story of a man about to undergo gender reassignment surgery to become a woman. It feels like there’s been so much hype this year over Brokeback Mountain that Transamerica has been largely overlooked.

Transgendered people have been depicted onscreen before. Terence Stamp was unforgettable as Bernadette in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and brought a quiet dignity to the role. Hilary Swank won her first Oscar for her portrayal of Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry. I still haven’t seen the movie. I’m not sure that I could watch the scenes of violence. But that was really the first time that I became aware of female to male (FTM) transgendered individuals.

Too often, transgendered individuals are shunned by the gay and lesbian community. A lot of the rights groups talk a good game, but the truth is that we don’t take the time to understand them. And they’re not always comfortable with us. Why should they be? We often treat them as freaks and drag shows mock their very existence and everyday life.

I’ve got a friend, K, that I met a few years ago through a friend. They had met at a lesbian bar shooting pool and K became part of our circle of friends. Several of us went to her wedding to her girlfriend, A. About a year after the wedding, K told me that she was transgendered and wanted to become a man. She’d never been happy as a woman and it didn’t feel right to her. And I was a little freaked out at first, but he’s my friend and he was still the same person that I had first met and knew and loved. He just wanted for his body to match what he’s feeling inside. And he’s a beautiful person that I enjoy spending time with.

But one of my other friends…he just doesn’t get it. He was at K’s wedding with me. And like me, he’s gay. But he can’t seem to wrap his head around K wanting to become a man and that really frustrates me, almost to the point of anger. We were talking on the phone and K came up in conversation and I could hear the revulsion in his voice and it pissed me off.

Over the past two years, I’ve made several transgendered friends. People that I care for and respect and don’t get to see as often as I would like because of crazy schedules. So when I hear a tone of voice that I don’t like about my friends, yes, I get angry. And I expected better from this friend. I expect better than that from all of my friends.

We still have a very long way to go towards equality for everyone.


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