Here in my little city our local gay&lesbian organisation organizes a movie night once a month. The best way to realize you are living in a heteronormative society is that almost no movies with a lesbian/gay/trans/bi- sexual content are ever shown on ‘normal’ television or in a bigger movie theater. There are beautiful queer movies being made, and yes, also very bad ones. To be honest: I prefer a bad lesbian movie over an average Hollywood movie with the same stereotypical s*** every day. I do however realize not only ‘our’ movies are being ignored, most alternative, independent movies (whether with heterosexual or gay/lesbian content) are only shown in little art cinema’s. ( I’m lucky to live in a city big enough to have one)
The Dutch made documentary,’ I am a woman now’, has been shown on alternative film festivals and is really worth watching. Starting in 1956, people who wanted to have a sex change operation could go to gynecologist Georges Burou in Casablanca – without having to undergo any psychological assessment. Filmmaker Michiel van Erp asks some of these pioneers, all old women now, if the choice that they made back then has changed their lives as they had hoped. How did the outside world react to this first generation of transsexuals? He visits significant places and people with these and other ladies, and they reflect on their eventful lives with the help of old photographs and home videos. (IDFA, A’dam, doc.festival)
What really got my attention in this documentary and what I, as a butch and as a person trying to transgress genders, found quite funny, was the way these women looked at womanhood. They mentioned more then once their desire to become a ‘real’ woman (what is that?!) , their idea what a man and a woman should be were very stereotypical. I realized these are elderly women, grown up in a different time then ours, with different gender norms and gender roles. I mean, advertisements like these were normal in the fifties…
So, even though I had to frown now and then, it’s an wonderful, deeply respectful insight into the world of these women.