Hollywood is stepping up

hollywood_sign_zuschnittThough it may not be intentional, it seeems Hollywood is learning that transpeople (and blacks) are a hot commodity.

Case in point: GLAAD recently published a report showing that television is featuring more black and transwomen than ever before. It details the tremendous progress being made on the small screen for transwomen and blacks.

It’s interesting that just last month we featured on our show our opinion that things were getting better for transpeople. We also highlighted how the trans-rights movement is following the lead of the well-established civil rights movement of the 60s. It’s nice to see reality match our desires.

United colors of trans

This graphic is Cool beans. According to UCLA the transgender community as a total population is Quite a bit more diverse as the general populace. Don’t know why I Think this is “No shit Sherlock” information.

We did a show about this data where we analyzed why we think this is news. It’s short and a great entry into our material.  Check it out.



Yeah - that's a white dude
Yeah, that’s a white guy

There’s a row that’s been going on for three days over Mark Ruffalo’s movie about a trans sex worker. Jen Richards, who I have a secret crush on (only for her smarts. Damn! She’s wicked smart) took the actor, producer and seemingly good guy to task for casting a cis-man in the role of the trans character. She makes really good points. And while Ruffalo extends an olive branch in his own way, both the twitterverse and the transcommunity have a new bone to chew on.

I understand the frustration. When I first heard about this new film, my first thought was “I hope they put a transwoman in the sex worker role.” Bummed they didn’t. But really, not surprised: A lot of hollywood is about making money. It’s not surprising that it’s using the spotlight on the transcommunity as a money-making whore. After all, they did the same thing with black people.

Back then, when blacks were sweeping trash and staffing white bathrooms handing out towels, white actors (men) played black roles. They smeared their face with black paint (called blackface) leaving their white eyes, big lips and white-gloved hands starkly contrasting their pitch-black faces. It took many years before blacks finally wrested black roles from white men wearing black paint.

I think the same thing is going to happen with transgender roles. The Universe delivers on every desire, spoken or unspoken. Hollywood is not exempt. Yes, it seems to make sense to decry the fact that trans roles are being portrayed by men. Jen says it leads to violence against transwomen. That’s an overreach IMO. The real reason for (especially) male on transwomen violence is masculine insecurity. But that’s a whole other story.

I love films because they tell stories of all kinds that have all kinds of societal effects. Many films catalogue our collective cultural canon. But life is the real story telling stage. And we’ve seen this story before. Remember transcommunity. It took many years before black artists wrested black roles from white men in blackface. The same will happen here. Don’t fret too much. You only make the present moment worse for yourself. The Universe is creating a world for you. Focus on that.

God: Transgender or something more?

God is transgenderPeople can be so obtuse.

There’s an opinion piece flying around the internet. It’s written by Rabbi Mark Sameth for the New York Times. The article, provocatively titled Is God Transgendered? posits that God is not a man or a woman, but is instead a blend of all genders.

I think this is spot on. But there are people around the internet who are aghast that someone who believes in God thinks God is not a “he” or any other aspect of the normalized binary.

Egads. What is the world coming to?

I’m not going to cover all the strange responses people are throwing about in response to this well-written and provocative piece. I will write this though: folks, the headline of the article was specifically meant to provoke you to read it. I think the headline is doing a great job.

What’s more interesting to me though is what the Rabbi has to say about gender as described in the old testament. It’s pretty thought-provoking. Read it for yourself:

“…the Hebrew Bible, when read in its original language, offers a highly elastic view of gender. And I do mean highly elastic: In Genesis 3:12, Eve is referred to as “he.” In Genesis 9:21, after the flood, Noah repairs to “her” tent. Genesis 24:16 refers to Rebecca as a “young man.” And Genesis 1:27 refers to Adam as “them.”

Surprising, I know. And there are many other, even more vivid examples: In Esther 2:7, Mordecai is pictured as nursing his niece Esther. In a similar way, in Isaiah 49:23, the future kings of Israel are prophesied to be “nursing kings.”

Why would the Bible do this? These aren’t typos. In the ancient world, well-expressed gender fluidity was the mark of a civilized person. Such a person was considered more “godlike.” In Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, the gods were thought of as gender-fluid, and human beings were considered reflections of the gods. The Israelite ideal of the “nursing king” seems to have been based on a real person: a woman by the name of Hatshepsut who, after the death of her husband, Thutmose II, donned a false beard and ascended the throne to become one of Egypt’s greatest pharaohs.

The Israelites took the transgender trope from their surrounding cultures and wove it into their own sacred scripture. The four-Hebrew-letter name of God, which scholars refer to as the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, was probably not pronounced “Jehovah” or “Yahweh,” as some have guessed. The Israelite priests would have read the letters in reverse as Hu/Hi — in other words, the hidden name of God was Hebrew for “He/She.” Counter to everything we grew up believing, the God of Israel — the God of the three monotheistic, Abrahamic religions to which fully half the people on the planet today belong — was understood by its earliest worshipers to be a dual-gendered deity.”

Sameth also reveals something I’ve known for a very long time: that the bible is a hand-curated tome specifically designed to control the believing masses. It is not meant to accurately represent a Spiritual Truth. There are Spiritual Truths in it, but they are so obscured by allegory, metaphor, misinterpretation and the gap of time between when it was written and our current times, it’s really hard to figure out what those Truths actually are. I don’t know if the Rabbi meant to reveal all this obfuscation, but there it is.

If God – or All That Is, which is the term I prefer – was transgender it would mean he was originally one gender and “born” into a different one. Or some other aspect along the gender spectrum. All That Is has no gender and simultaneously is every possible gender imaginable. This may be too complex for “believers” to comprehend. But I find it interesting that the Hebrew Bible, at least according to this Rabbi, alludes to this reality.