Sunday, March 16, 2008

Southern Comfort

There were a lot of interesting facets to the documentary Southern Comfort, and there were also many ambiguities. It appears that there are many transsexual people that are oppressed by contemporary society. However, having a sex-change operation is a personal decision that any individual realizes will single them out within America's contemporary society. There were many mentions of parents throughout the documentary, and it appears that there are some parent/child relationships within the documentary that should be critiqued. It is interesting that through some articles read during class, we learn that in the homosexual community, many "couples" are revered as being conforming to heterosexual culture. However, one is able to notice that within the transsexual community seen within Southern Comfort, that relationship is exalted. One can see this when the two men are arguing about who is the most intamate, not sexual. Here is the idea of actually having a relationship that mirrors contemporary society's ideal of "marriage," not exalted by much of the homosexual community. It appears that within the transsexual community, love and "marriage" is what the people are actually looking for, and by doing so, somewhat conforming to heterosexual contemporary society. It is also interesting to note this idea further when almost every couple within the documentary are having relations with a person of the opposite sex who has also had a sex-change operation. This is another form of the transsexual community's conforming to heterosexual, contemporary society within America.

1 comment:

Joanna said...

"It appears that within the transsexual community, love and "marriage" is what the people are actually looking for, and by doing so, somewhat conforming to heterosexual contemporary society. It is also interesting to note this idea further when almost every couple within the documentary are having relations with a person of the opposite sex who has also had a sex-change operation."

I don't think the film is representative of the transgender community as a whole. Keep in mind the setting of the movie; a conference of transgender people living in the South who are somewhat activist in their lives. Many TS identified people choose to disappear into straight society. Gender transition is a temporary condition leading to full acceptance as a man or woman. Others like myself fall somewhere between the activist - stealth poles. Their is little in the way of hard data to aid in understanding the community.

Sexual orientation is another question altogether. Trans folk come in the full spectrum of categories; straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and every other queer possibility. There are many trans people that have relationships with other trans people. They share a common life experience. I don't think they are the majority of us.

I leave a question for you to ponder. Is this a movie about transgender people or one about the final year of the life of a man named Robert Eads and how bigotry shortened the life of a good person?