Religion and Homophobia

I have chosen to look into the article “Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby”. In this article, due to a doctors religious beliefs, the doctor defers treatment of a baby that was born to a same-sex couple.  It’s extremely difficult, especially in today’s North American society where everyone comes from different background and upbringings, to be “different” from what society has deemed normal. This family’s structure, two mothers and a child, is not what our heteronormative society is used to. The struggles this family faces in the doctor’s office are very specific though. They were struggling against religious beliefs. This situation brings to light the systemic issues of religion based sexism. Is it okay to be homophobic if your religion says you have to be? Is it okay to deny service to someone based on your religious views? I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs but as a service worker, I don’t think those views or beliefs should stop you from providing your service.

It can be said that oftentimes people will use their beliefs as a shield for their sexism. We see this specifically in this situation where the doctor says “After much prayer following your prenatal, I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationships that I normally do with my patients” (http://ww.myfoxdetroit.com, 1). She doesn’t comment on the fact that she in inherently being homophobic because to her it isn’t her choice, her religion says she should be homophobic. This type of sexism is much different from any other that is simply developed through social constructions. By this I mean it isn’t something that you see as a child growing up and eventually just naturally come to terms with. This sexism is purposefully taught and engrained in people and is extremely harmful to our society. Everywhere that we see discrimination against any non-heterosexually oriented people, there will almost always be a religiously charged input as part of the mix.

This type of religious sexism, refusing to provide service based on sexuality, plays itself many times.

We can see in this video Chris Thompson address the situation of teen, Austin Wallis, being asked to leave his private, religious school if he is going to continue to be openly gay or “go back in the closet” if he would like to continuing attending school there. It is the religious thought process that to be queer is a choice that makes these issues arise so often.  Thompson reads a quote from the school essentially outlining that due to the schools “Biblically bases and Christ-like lifestyle” if a student doesn’t uphold those characteristics, they are subject to expulsion. Because the school is private and receives no funding from the federal government they can actually do this lawfully. It’s disheartening and sad to know that this kind of thing is happening all over the world.

The argument about whether or not to be queer is a choice or not I feel is one that has been going on for ages. As someone who personally identifies as bisexual, I can’t remember a time when I suddenly decided I wanted to be queer. I am also someone who identifies as a Christian, making my religion and my sexuality a conflicting intersection. I have found that there are places in the Bible where it is arguable to say that because all sins are equal in Gods eyes that being queer is simply another one of millions of sins that religious people commit and it is not something to oppress others over. This is all personal opinion where research will go back and forth saying the Bible is for and then against being queer. This creates difficulty and confusion for religious people who look to be accepting but are extremely conflicted by the answers they get as religion and the Bible are often taught based on certain interpretations.

Based on everything I’ve looked into on this subject, it is a sad reality that people will be discriminated against and not receive service due to the fact that they, not by choice, happen to love someone that identifies as the same sex. I still personally believe that if another person’s sexual orientation does not directly affect you or the service you need to provide, you should not be stopped from providing said service. Religion, often interpreted in different ways, will always have an interpretation that prevents people from being fully accepting of the differences of human beings. I think it is only but a dream to one day have a completely accepting society.

– NoSpeakAfricano

Work cited:

Admiration or Appropriation?

To those of you who wear native headdresses/feathers to look edgy or cool, I am here to say that what you are doing is offensive act called cultural appropriation. In the article written by Apihtawikosisân, a Metis woman, she notes that celebrating and supporting a culture is perfectly fine but it’s when you start using a culture’s restricted symbols that you cross into the realm of appropriation (apihtawikosisan.com). Cultural appropriation is when a group of powerful people exploits the culture of a less privileged or minority group. It is often done with little understanding of the latter’s history, experience, and traditions. Many groups are victims of cultural appropriation, but none have been more exploited than the Indigenous Peoples.

Subsequently, to understand cultural appropriation you have to understand where it came from: colonialism. When European explorers came to North America, they colonized the land, claimed the resources for their own, exposed the Native peoples to disease and racism, and forced them to submit to the demands of the white man. The effects of colonialism can be seen throughout history as the Canadian government has created Acts and laws in the attempt to make the Indigenous race civilized, and integrate them into white society. The government attempted to “fix the Indian problem” by sending Indigenous children to residential schools run by the white churches (Fleras 2010). The main goal of the schools were to assimilate the children into white society and “kill the Indian” inside, thus thousands of young children were subjected to physical, psychological, sexual, verbal, and spiritual abuse (Fleras 2010). Assimilation is when a minority group is integrated (by choice or by force) into the dominant group culture; the assimilated group loses aspects of their own culture and heritage as a result (Fleras 2010). The Indigenous people went through centuries of trauma and suffering, but unfortunately the media and popular culture fails to mention that in any statement about Indigenous people.

Going back to Apihtawikosisân’s article, she states that “headdresses are restricted items in the Plains Nation and are further restricted within the cultures to men who have done certain things to earn them” (apihtawikosisan.com). These restricted items are a staple of the media’s outdated image of Indigenous People. The Cleveland Indians, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Washington Redskins, Pocahontas, Tiger Lily from Peter Pan are all examples of the Imaginary Indian created by the media. The Imaginary Indian is the image projected on the Indigenous people by non-native cultures, containing very little truth and being mostly about that with which the non-native population wants the word ‘Indian’ to be associated (Crosby 2002). Unsurprisingly, pop culture uses ceremonial headdresses in most interpretations of Indigenous people without the understanding of its history and importance. As Apihtawikosisân says later in the article, “individual choices do not trump our collective rights as peoples to define our symbols” (apihtawikosisan.com).

A recent example of individual choices leading to cultural appropriation is at the 2015 Milan fashion week. Canadian brothers, Dan and Dean Caten, showed off their women’s line titled ‘Dsquaw’ and offended a lot of Indigenous peoples in so doing. Squaw is a racial slur used by colonists to insult Indigenous women, and using it in such a commercial way glosses over the fact that it’s an incredibly derogatory term.

Another comment about the line is that the brothers stated that they were “inspired by the enchantment of Canadian Indian Tribes” (www.ctvnews.ca). While it’s wonderful to admire Indigenous culture and want to showcase it, the brothers combine all Indigenous peoples into one group; this line is saying that all Indigenous people dress this way. Apihtawikosisân’s comment on this kind of appropriation was: “I think it is reasonable to ask that if you admire a culture, you learn more about it. Particularly when the details are so much more fascinating than say, outdated stereotypes of Pan-Indian culture” (apihtawikosisan.com). They use their own white privilege to decide what defines native clothes and then take credit. This outlines my main problem in the fashion line, which is that the brothers knew nothing of Indigenous culture and history, and they were simply using parts of the culture they liked to further their own fashion careers. I personally found it quite appalling when I first saw the line name, a racial slur in an international fashion event. Unbelievable! This type of coverage is why many people believe dressing up as ‘Indians’ or wearing headdresses is cool or part of a trend. As posted on the website My Culture is Not a Trend (2013) being seen as “trendy” makes an entire culture not only a commodity, but also something that people will tire of; therefore being viewed as disposable. Culture appropriation makes light of the troubles that Indigenous peoples have faced and creates an unrealistic image of them that the public can throw away when they get bored.

While cultural appropriation is an ever-constant problem in today’s society, you as a consumer and as a member of society can reject these appropriations of Indigenous culture. The easiest way is by supporting legitimate and unrestricted items crafted and sold by indigenous peoples, these items include moccasin, mukluks and native art.

Finally, if you have appropriated someone’s culture, the best thing is to admit that you didn’t know and apologize if necessary. This acknowledgement is a step on the path to mutual respect and understanding.

Apihtawikosisan.com,. “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses’’. N.p 2015. Web. 7.Mar. 2015

Crosby, Marcia. “Construction of the Imaginary Indian.” Academic Reading: Reading and Writing in the Disciplines. Peterborough: Broadview, 2002. Print.

Ctvnews.ca. “Dsquared2 Slammed Online For ‘Dsquaw’ Fashion Line”. N.p 2015. Web. 9. Mar. 2015.

Fleras, Augie. “Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: Repairing the Relationship” Unequal Relations. 6th ed. Toronto: Pearson Canada, 2010. Print.

Mycutlureisnotatrend.com. “A Dialogue About Cultural Appropriation”. N.p 2013. Web. 8. Mar. 2015.

-Secretlybatman

Two Sides to Every Story – rayofsunshine

The oppressive story of the rejection of Bay Windsor Contreras by their pediatrician shows the systematic refusal of acceptance for anyone who is outside the “norm” of our society. Bay Contreras’s mothers (a lesbian couple) showed up for a wellness check-up of their 6 day old daughter only to be told that their scheduled pediatrician, Dr. Vesna Roi, would not be able to take on their child as a patient because of her personal religious beliefs that did not allow her to accept their lifestyle as a lesbian couple. The mothers, understandably, were shocked and horrified by this, as are many people in learning about this event.

A few months following this humiliating experience, the mothers received a letter of apology from Dr. Roi that contained a number of noteworthy things. The doctor states in the letter that she “should have spoken with [them] directly” (Myfoxdetroit.com) rather than not coming into the office for fear of encountering these mothers after making her decision. This doctor acted in a very cowardly, unprofessional way regarding her decision to not take on their child as a patient, and even though she apologized, it does not erase her actions. Furthermore, she also states that “after much prayer…I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationships that I normally do with my patients” (Myfoxdetroit.com).  It is important to note that the sexual orientation of the parents of her patient was the problem, not the patient herself. Seeing as the patient was only 6 days old, and much too young to be able to express any sexual orientation, there was no reason for the doctor to be uncomfortable regarding the child (Myfoxdetroit). This aspect of the situation is ridiculous; if this child had been presented to her as the child of a heterosexual couple, there would probably have not been any problems.

Furthermore, one of the most hypocritical points of this doctor’s letter is that she states that “I believe that God gives us free choice and I would never judge anyone based on what they do with that free choice” (Myfoxdetroit.com). Although she says she would not judge someone based on their lifestyle choices, she refuses to treat their child due to the sexuality of her patients, which seems as if she is casting a judgement on the family due to the non-traditional style of their family. Furthermore, she is insinuating that sexuality is a choice and not an innate part of someone.

There are evidently many issues surrounding this entire story. However, I believe it is important to look at all sides of a story before forming a personal opinion. The doctor, although she acted unprofessionally in this situation, felt that the combination of her religion and her profession could not allow her to treat this patient. Some religious people are fundamentalists, and hold “a belief in the literal word of the Bible [or other holy document] as a document without error” (Aulette and Wittner, 476). Someone’s religion can be as defining as any other aspects of who they are; if the doctor follows the historic laws of her religion, which may suggest that homosexuality is wrong, then her actions regarding this situation could be understood. This raises many questions; is it morally right or wrong to ask someone to engage with someone else who practices a lifestyle completely opposing to their beliefs? Is it right or wrong to ask someone to separate their religious life style from their professional lifestyle, when both are important parts of who they are?

Finally, I also believe the doctor did make the right choice if she truly believed that it would be challenging for her to form a relationship with this family due to the sexuality of the mothers. It is safe to assume that any mother would want the best health care possible for their child. This does not mean that Dr. Roi was morally correct in her decision, or that the way she handled the situation was right, but it is presenting the doctor’s point of view in this situation.

In our society, binary constructs are being challenged, and fortunately, often disregarded because of awareness about situations similar to this one. But why is it that the American Medical Association states that “doctors can refuses treatment if it’s incompatible with their personal, religious or moral beliefs” (Myfoxdetroit.com)? Why is there a movement to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which “would allow people to discriminate based on their moral or religious beliefs” (Myfoxdetroit.com)? Why is our society constantly fearing the unfamiliar, so much so that it allows people to professionally discriminate because of their own personal beliefs? Our society is constantly taking steps forward, only to take a step backwards when we allow situations like this to take place. It should be straightforward that we should all love and respect one another, despite differences in beliefs and sexuality. These kinds of situations force everyone to have pattern recognition for the people who are experiencing discrimination (in this case, a lesbian couple), and the types of people who are oppressing them (in this case, a (presumably straight, cis-gendered) female of a high-class profession) that are shown time and time again.

Aulette, Judy Root, and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. Print.

Myfoxdetroit.com,. ‘Doctor Refuses Treatment Of Same-Sex Couple’s Baby’. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Mar. 2015.

-rayofsunshine

The Way He Looks – Film Review

the way he look poster

Getting the chance to watch the film, The Way He Looks by Daniel Ribeiro is an experience I wish everyone had the chance to partake in. The film focuses on the life of a blind high school teen, Leonardo (Leo), who finds himself falling for the new kid in school, Gabriel. The film gives great perspective on life as a high school student, capturing arguments with parents and friends, bullying, late night sneaking out and fun parties. What I found most interesting about the film was the natural take on sexuality. When we see Leo begin to realize he is interested in Gabriel, he doesn’t struggle with the thought of being gay, but rather just isn’t sure whether Gabriel likes him or not. Never in the film does anyone say the word gay or insist that Leo “come out”. I find that this differs, however, from the social construction of our current society as I’ve found that someone who is gay will need to make somewhat of a spectacle when it comes to coming out. When I say social construction, I’m talking about the way society expects one to act based on their physical appearance. The film doesn’t show us Leo’s parents’ reaction which I think could have been interesting in continuing to build on the naturalization of sexual orientations other than heterosexual. One of the key scenes in my opinion was when Leo interacts with his bullies for the last time in the film. Leo often endures bullying at school and when bullies found that Leo was hanging out with Gabe very often, the homophobic bullying began. In this final scene, we see Leo take, in stride, his boyfriends hand and continue walking home, regardless of what the bullies think. This scene drives home something that one of my friends mentioned as we left the theater, “how could anyone find that wrong?” The emotional pull that this piece had was intense. The film did an amazing job at making the development of a homosexual relationship, completely natural. My overall experience with the festival was pretty short and sweet. It was great to be given the opportunity to interact with the LGBTQ community in a medium as casual as a movie theater; again, speaking wonders to the naturalization of non-heterosexual orientations. I personally left the theatre after seeing my film with a new perspective on sexuality. The Way He Looks made homosexual relationships seem, to me, as natural as any other relationship and I believe that was the goal. I’m happy to say I attended the Reelout Film Festival of 2015 and hope to potentially borrow and watch some of their other films.

– NoSpeakAfricano

Film Review: Out in the Night – mejicanluis

out in the night

Out in the Night (2014)

 

Cast: Venice Brown, Terrain Dandridge, Renata Hill, Patreese Johnson

Director: Blair Doroshwalther

 

Out in the Night is an attention-grabbing documentary that follows four African-American lesbian women whose lives changed after being arrested for assaulting a man who was sexually and physically harassing them on the streets of New York City. Though this was an act of self-defense, the judge failed to examine the evidence that proved them innocent and sentenced them to jail. The movie follows their struggle to cope with the fact that they are going to jail even though they only acted in self-defense.

Venice Brown, Terrain Dandridge, Renata Hill, Patreese Johnson and their three friends were out in New York’s West Village looking for a place to let loose and have fun. They walked by an African-American man who was attracted to Renata. When she told the man that she was a lesbian, he began following them and yelling threats, especially heterosexist remarks by yelling things such as “I’ll f*** you straight.” He then charged at them. Being from the dangerous streets of Newark, New Jersey, they begin fighting back. Renata then pulled out a knife and stabs him in the abdomen. The police were contacted and arrested the women for “gang assault”. The other three pleaded guilty in order to have their sentences lowered but Renata, Venice, Terrain and Patreese believed that they were innocent and felt that they would be released. That was not the case.

Doroshwalther does an amazing job portraying homophobia and sexism that was shown to these women, especially when they were sent to court. When portraying what happened during the prosecution, she shows the audience the evidence that would prove them innocent, but the judge, a white man, and the jury, also white, saw otherwise leading to all four of them going to jail for almost a decade. The trial was an example of hegemony due to the lack of people of colour during the trial. The only people who weren’t white during the trial were the four women and their family members. The media took the story and turned it into propaganda against them by calling them a “lesbian wolf pack” or “killer lesbians” or even “gang violence. Victoria Law (2014) states that the intersection of their race and gender led to the conclusion that since they were a group of black women, they were part of a gang. They racialized these women by coming to these conclusions, which led to them acquiring longer sentences. After many years in prison, further evidence was provided and they were released from prison, Renata serving the longest sentence.

out in the night 2

One scene that stood out the most while viewing the film is when all of the evidence is shown to the audience, especially a picture that shows the man’s body after surgery. In the picture, you can see a large scar that was sutured and a small abrasion. The small abrasion was the knife wound while the large scar was from a stomach ulcer that was found while examining his body. With evidence that clear, it was thought that they would be released but when the lawyer pointed it out to the judge, he responded by saying that he already knew that the larger abrasion was from a previous operation that had nothing to do with the knife wound (Law). This disgusted me beyond belief because this is another example of hegemony where the white judge who has all the power ignored true evidence and still allowed the women to go to jail. This man sickened me and made me wonder how he continued to be allowed to work as a judge.

I personally enjoyed attending Reelout Festival because it opened the doors to a newer type of cinema. If I had not attended the festival, I would have never heard of the discrimination that these women faced. I believe that this movie was a perfect choice for the festival because it portrays how people today are still being discriminated and how there are still people with power who still believe that they have some sort of supremacy over others. I believe that the organizers of Reelout chose this film for that exact reason. I would have never encountered this film on my own without the festival. I would attend this festival again and strongly recommend both the festival and the film to others.

LA Film Festival (2014) – Out in the Night Trailer – Lesbian Documentary HD. Perf. Venice Brown, Terrain Dandridge, Renata Hill, Patreese Johnson. 2014. Film.

Law, Victoria. “New Documentary “Out in the Night” Asks: Who Has the Right to Self Defense?” Bitch Media. 11 June 2014. Web. 8 Feb. 2015. <http://bitchmagazine.org/post/out-in-the-night-challenges-viewers-to-consider-who-has-the-right-to-self-defense&gt;.

Out in the Night. 2014.

Out in the Night – Slide 0. 2014.

mejicanluis

Film Review: Blackbird (2014)

BLACKBIRD

Blackbird is a 2014 drama film directed and written by Patrik-Ian Polk. Julian Walker makes his debut starring in the role of Randy Rousseau; a male black youth of strict Christian faith living in a small Mississippi town, where he struggles with confusion surrounding his sexuality. His family had undergone intense turmoil when his younger sister, Crystal, was kidnapped, and were continually challenged as she remained missing for several years after. Randy’s father left the family, unable to adequately support him and his mother during this time as he struggled with his own grief. In the midst of this, Randy and his family look to Jesus and the Christian faith as a means of survival and hope. Randy becomes immersed in his role in the choir and remains committed to his faith, which is what initially causes much of his xenophobic tendencies, his fear that he may, in fact, be gay; something that is not only considered to be against the norm, but also a sin in the eyes of his church. He spends much of the movie both exploring his sexuality, but also, fervently denying that he belongs to the group of people society deems as “the other”.

The relationships that are established throughout the film help the audience make the connection between what they are seeing in the name of entertainment and the social impact of it. Randy’s friends and a man he meets along the way inadvertently help him reach a sense of self-realization. The initial indication that he may be gay comes to him as he frequently has sexual dreams revolving around one of his heterosexual friends, Todd, which leaves his sheets soiled in the mornings. His openly gay friend, Efrem, as well as their other friend, Justine, constantly question him about his sexuality, which causes Randy to react defensively. There are many instances where binary thinking is exhibited as the characters in the film automatically assume, time and time again, that Randy is very obviously homosexual, since he supposedly did not exhibit qualities that would outline him as heterosexual. There is very little thought given to the ideas proposing pansexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, etc. and there is a very clear understanding amongst his friends that Randy must be the “only” alternative to being straight; gay. Fetishsization is prevalent when Randy and Todd are both playing the lead roles in a rendition of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” where – in their interpretation – the leads are actually two men and, as a result, must share a kiss that the two heterosexual females deem sexually enticing, and exciting, resulting in the objectification and exploitation of homosexuality. Randy sheds his situated knowledge as he gets to know the character that plays his love interest; Marshall. Originally, all of Randy’s knowledge, or lack thereof, concerning sexuality, sin and identity came from the influence of the church. Through his experience with Marshall he is introduced to a whole other world, not just of that of an openly gay male, but also that of an openly gay, white male. He begins to see differences between his world and Marshall’s, but also similarities, which helps him ultimately understand himself and accept his circumstances, something that his situated knowledge of the world had formerly prevented him from doing. The film is generally focused upon Randy’s relationship with his family, friends, the man that he is seeing, God and, above all, his understanding of himself and his identity. Intersectionality is heavily prevalent in this film as it explores his experience of his changing perception of himself and how his various identities merge together to create a separate and cohesive one that, in turn, is attacked in accordance. His experience as a young, black, homosexual male, of Christian faith leaves him privy to a very specific form of oppression that caters to all of his conjoined identities.

It is difficult, with Blackbird in particular, to pick one exact scene that is pivotal to understanding the context and message of the film. However, if I had to, I would choose the scene that follows the events that take place when Randy’s mother discovers Marshall and Randy engaged in an overtly sexual act outside her house in Marshall’s car and verbally attacks and belittles Randy in their home, telling him that his sinning is the reason that the Lord was testing them by taking away Crystal. The scene following takes place the morning after and involves Randy, his mother and the Church’s pastor as she had called him and notified him of the situation that had taken place the night before. In this scene the pastor engages Randy in a very placating manner and asks him if he wants to be saved, to which Randy complies fervently. The scene then cuts to the three characters in the church attempting to physically expedite whatever evil was within Randy that was causing him to engage in such supposedly sinful acts. This scene illustrates fundamentalism – a term that is used to identify religions that have a very conservative view of gender and sexuality – as it embodies a very dated method of religious cleansing and what was deemed necessary of such (Aulette, Wittner 526). It also presents the concept of heteronormativity, and how because Randy is straying from the only sexuality that is deemed acceptable and authentic, he requires saving in order to revert back to the norm. It was a very powerful scene that I, personally, found scary and very extreme. It was pivotal in understand how strongly the church and officials of the church felt about homosexuality and lengths they would go to in order to extinguish it. It also gave the viewers a sense of further understanding where concerning Randy and why it was so difficult for him to accept that he may be gay; in the back of his mind he still considered it to be an abomination.

Overall, Blackbird touched upon a multitude of issues and was an intelligently crafted story. I felt that there was quite a lot left to be desired when considering the acting and the technical aspects of the film but, in the grand scheme of things, it was still worth the watch and it made me reflect and tear up quite a bit. The only critique I had was with the ending as it felt rushed and very inauthentic. It seemed as though all the problems and issues concerning Randy and the unacceptance he faced was simply put on the backburner, or vanished completely, as his kidnapped sister was returned to the family home. I felt it minimized the situation and did not properly lay to rest what majority of the movie was concerning. The experience of attending this showing at the Reelout Queer Film + Video Festival was interesting, to say the very least. It introduced me to a whole other genre of film and caused me to analyze what I was watching in a whole new way.

10/10 would recommend.


Works Cited

Aulette, Judy R., and Judith Wittner. “Glossary.” Gendered Worlds. Third ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2015. 526. Print.

— masalaCHICKen

Film Review-Boy Meets Girl (rayofsunshine)

Film Review

The film “Boy Meets Girl” by director Eric Shaeffer is a romantic comedy starring Robby (Michael Welch), and his transgendered female friend Ricky. The two have grown up together in a small town and have been best friends without ever having romantic interest in each other. Ricky makes the decision to try dating girls due to the lack of potential acceptable romantic male partners. She meets Francesca, a beautiful young girl, daughter of a rich politician, engaged to an overseas marine. Their friendships blossoms quickly, and soon becomes a very intimate experimental relationship for both parties. This experimenting forces Robby to face the feelings he has had for his childhood friend all along.

This film is cute, quirky, engaging and easy to watch; however there are many aspects that can be critiqued by any observant viewer. There are many blatant stereotypes due to the intersectionality of many of the characters, notably their class, gender and race (Aulette, 7). For example, the white, high class male is the marine, whereas the lower class white male works as an auto mechanic in a local car shop. Furthermore, the young, beautiful, rich, white girl does not work, nor does her mother, where as the father is a well-known politician who is overly concerned with his image. These kinds of reoccurring stereotypes force the viewer to have pattern recognition for the static stereotypical characters that occur in many tradition and modern films.

However, despite the tiresome stereotypes of the characters that appear over and over again throughout the film, there are many interesting aspects as well. One conversation between Ricky and Robby addresses sexual orientation (Aulette, 110), specifically what is technically ‘gay sex’ and what is ‘straight sex’. This conversation forces the audience to think critically about his or her own beliefs regarding the nature of intimate relations and the importance of labeling these kinds of relationships. Moreover, Ricky’s character forces the reader to reject binary thinking regarding human sexuality and sexual orientation, expression and identity. Ricky looks like a girl, but has not yet had the full sex change operation; despite this, men are attracted to her even when they discover her unexpected parts. There are other moments throughout the film where any binary thoughts must be rejected in order to accept Ricky’s life style and choices. This type of criticism on society is important considering the current positive evolution of society’s view on sexuality.

Overall, the film looks as many controversial ideas that must be
critiqued and discussed in today’s morphing society. Human sexuality is no longer a two way street. For those whose sexuality and all that it encompasses (including sexual orientation, expression, and biological sex) is not black or white, it can truly be a complicated topic to understand internally, and to express externally, while hoping for acceptance from those around them. It is a good film, but very open for critical analysis.

Critical Analysis of One Scene

The scene I have chosen to critically analyse is the scene during which Francesca tells her fiancée that Ricky is a transgendered girl. This scene, and the one that follows emphasizes the difficulties the any queer person many encounter due to the nature of their sexuality. In this scene, Francesca’s fiancée becomes very disgusted and outraged that Francesca is spending time with a transgendered girl. Causing a scene at a white, high-class politician’s party, Francesca’s father comes over to quiet his future son in law. At first, the audience may seem thrilled that the man is defending Ricky’s sexuality, but the following scene shows Francesca’s mother attacking Ricky at work the following day, and asking her to stay away from her daughter simply because of her choices regarding her gender and gender expression. This scene emphasizes the societal conflicts regarding queer individuals and highlights the narrow mindedness of the general public. Ricky does absolutely nothing wrong, in fact she is even praised earlier for the original dress she made for Francesca, yet Francesca’s family still rejects her. Society in general often fears what is unknown or abnormal, such as Ricky being a transgender girl.

One strikingly harsh line is when Francesca’s fiancée says he is fighting for his country as a marine, not an “America for those freaks” (freaks referring to Ricky). Not only does he consider Ricky to be a freak, but he believes she has no place in their country.

I personally was disgusted by the rejection of Ricky solely based on her sexuality; before they discovered her secret, they were very accepting and excited for Francesca to have made such a nice friend. I believe that it is moments like this that will force viewers to engage in conversations about human sexuality, and what should be accepted in our modern society.

Personal Experience

I personally really enjoyed attending the festival. I was impressed to see the amount of diversity of the ages of attending audience members, however, the majority was young adults. Furthermore, there was a very positive way in which the festival was organized: they apologized when things were running late, had a raffle before each film, and made each film’s introduction very engaging. I enjoyed both the film on which I wrote my review, and another I saw for my own personal pleasure.

I am also very excited to see the progress of our culture, in which we can openly have film festival solely based on private, queer films, and have the entire community accept and promote this festival. I think it is definitely a step in the right direction to becoming a society that is open and accepting of all people, no matter what race, gender, or sexuality they may be.

Works Cited

Aulette, Judy Root and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds (Third Edition).
New York: Oxford University Press. 2015. Print.

-rayofsunshine