Tuesday, March 6, 2018


I still haven't seen The Oscar awards ceremony, but the night before, during my Internet and cable blackout, I went with a friend to see A FANTASTIC WOMAN and was moved to tears by the artistry of the director (and co-screenwriter) Sebastion Lelio and the performance of the star, Daniela Vega. It instantly became one of my favorite movies ever, and definitely deserving of the Oscar it received for Best Foreign Movie.

Vega's performance was fearless and unique. There are few films that can show you something you haven't seen on screen before, as my favorites often do. A FANTASTIC WOMAN is one of them. As far as I know, it may be the first feature film with a transgender star whose character is in a loving, romantic, and passionate relationship.

The tears came from empathy for Vega's character's challenges in a world that can be so arbitrarily cruel to anyone who is different (unaware that we are all different, in our individual ways), and because the film evoked the sounds and sensations I experienced back in the early 1970s when I wore a dress in public and was part of a movement of "gay revolutionaries" who chose to use what we called then "gender bending"—mixing the outward signifiers of gender—to confront and confuse "straight" (or what is now called "cis") society (like gay men with beards in dresses, or in my case I wore mismatched clip on earrings and necklaces and lavender suede bell bottoms etc.).

And because I was aware as I watched A FANTASTIC WOMAN that my experience as a man who didn't grow up thinking or feeling or wishing I was a woman, or even having any feelings of being "gay," it was easier for me to be a hero (in my eyes) by joining a movement and participating in actions (including sexual) that I'd never done before, and challenging my once fellow "straight" men to try and stop me, than it was for those who grew up and constantly lived a life facing prejudice and misunderstanding and mistreatment etc...

And as I indicated earlier, there were also tears of appreciation for a great work of art and for the artists who created it, especially Daniela Vega. (Though everyone in the film was exceptional, including Francisco Reyes who plays Vega's character's lover).

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