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It may sound naive, but I'm seriously having trouble distinguishing,or identifying these various nouns and adjectives in Judith Halberstam's article "In the Queer Time and Place".
Although Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary 11th Edition defined each of them for me; easily identifying examples associated with each is seeming difficult.They are as follows:
1.Transgender
2.Transsexual
3.Gay men
4.Lesbian
5.Homosexual
6.Heterosexual(At least I fully know what this is)
7.Transvestism
I know a heterosexual is a person who has the tendency to advance direct sexual desires toward the opposite sex,which could mean sexual relations between a man and woman.Transgender and Transsexual confuse me more.Homosexual involves sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex.E.g,male to male or female to female.Is a homosexual synonymous with gay-men or gay women?

You are correct in that homosexual is synonymous with being gay/lesbian. Transgender/transsexual has to do with your own body. It does not have to do with your sexual relations to other people (well not directly). So if a person is transgender they have transitioned from the gender they were assigned at birth (almost always in-line with their sexual organs. so a male-bodied person is gendered as a male) to a different gender. The two typical transitions are male-to-female (MTF) and female-to-male (FTM). Transsexual usually includes the gender transitions as well as transitioning elements of your physical body as well. If a person is transgender or transsexual there is nothing inherent/assumed in who they are sexually attracted to.
I hope this clarifies things, thanks for asking about it!

Semantics brings up some good points about the actual definitions of those words. One thing that was brought to mind is involving a working definition of the two combined. If, someone is transgender or transsexual and they have sexual relations with someone else that is transgender or transsexual does that make them homosexual? What if they have relations with someone of a certain gender, male or female, how do we define their orientation? These are kind of weird questions, but it makes you think about the definitions we use to describe gender and sexual orientation.

I think your questions Sean, lead to another big question: why the need to categorize all of this? Do we really need definitions for all the possible combinations of relationships and bodies? What I think Halberstam made (slightly) clear is the audience expectation of certain narratives and binaries. Can we escape these binary systems in our day to day AND in media representations?

The first question I had regarding this reading popped into my head on the third page. When Halberstam is talking about the "rewind" mode in film or what ever the medium. The transgender character, at first, passes as what ever gender he/she is trying to be. I get that. But then Halberstam says "The viewer literally has to rewind the film after the characters exposure in order to recognize the narrative logic in terms of the pass". So does that mean that the viewer has to rewind the film and watch it with the perspective of the transgendered characters original sex as opposed to the sex the character identifies with and the audience initially thought they were? And only then will the audience be able to recognize the actual narrative that is going on? Or what is meant by narrative logic? Also, if that is the case, it seems almost as if the transgendered character is being used as a tool in order to make the film more "creative". But then again, films with transgendered characters, like "The Crying Game" and "Boys Don't Cry" do make audiences question there own perspectives on these issues which could be a good thing?

The author speaks about how most transgender films attempt to keep a "straight gaze", and how it is strange for films to stray from this path. Why is it transgender movies are made like this? Does it have anything to do with the intended audience of the film?

It seems out of the three films Halberstam talks about, she feels "By Hook or by Crook" is the film with the best representation of the transgender gaze. Considering the reasons why she feels it is the best one, why wouldn't this film be the most popular out of the three with mainstream audiences?

What does the disappearing narrative (bottom of p.81) that is seen in The Crying Game signify in terms of the transgender gaze? Does this relate to the idea of gender metamorphosis that is seen in transgender film?

i am still a little confused between the difference between a transgender, transsexual and transvestite?

Judith Halberstam mentions in, "In a Queer Time and Place" that after the exposure of a transgendered character in a work of media, the audience naturally reevaluates what happened prior to this moment in the performance, what is happening at present, and what this means for the rest of the work. I am wondering if society is taught to do this because of gender stereotypes we are taught early on and throughout our lives or is it because the topic of transgender is so uncomfortable and unique for people?

I think these films reinforce our ideological ideas about the male and female gaze. Do you think it reinforces and promotes the adequacy of the transgender gaze? Why or Why not?

In the reading, there's the "transgender gaze", does that apply only to the homosexual audience or is it for both heterosexual and homosexual audience?

In the article the author mentions from the beginning he is going to describe three views of the transgender gaze through three different movies, how are the male and female gaze incorporated into into this description? The author mentions the male and female gaze often, but i'm not sure how they all relate in the three descriptions.

In the article, Halberstam says that in the movie "The Crying Game," it "uses Dil's trasvestism only to re-center the white male gaze." I think she means that the transvestite character is present to attract the male gaze. This brings to mind the article we read earlier, "The Male Gaze." So are both female and transvestite characters constructed in films with the male gaze in mind?

Not sure if I might of missed a somewhat answer to this or not, but I just wonder about movies that have transgendered characters and how it seems that if it is a woman being a man, its a drama or more serious tone of a movie. But when its men as woman, its about laughter and being funny, like it is a joke. Is it the male gaze that prepetuates this? Is it because a man is being represented one way and they want to show what exactly makes a man even if it is a woman? Also is it the male gaze saying woman shouldn't be taken seriously and thats why a man who is a woman is taken lightly and comedic?

I did a little research to help answer some of my questions while reading the article and found this lesson on transgender called Trans 101. It helped define a lot of the terms so definitely check it out if you are confused.

http://www.rainbowheights.org/downloads/Rainbow%20Heights%20Club%20Trans%20101%20Handout%20for%20Distribution.pdf

I am just as confused as many of you about the definitions of some of the words used. It was also hard reading this because I had no background knowledge of the movies discussed in the article. One thing the author mentioned in the beginning was about having "flexible bodies," and I'm not quite sure about what that means. Does "flexible bodies" refer to trans-gender in general and how? Also, someone would need to explain to me the "fantasy of flexibility." I was really confused if the "fantasy of flexibility" is only seen through a heterosexual view or trans-gender view, or both?

What I found interesting about the "transgender look" is its fluidity and metamorphosis capabilities. I think that this filming style stirs up a good challenge to Mulvey's essay regarding the male gaze. However, I think that there are still flaws to this new approach. As Martin states, transgender characters are still portrayed as incomplete and flawed. She gave the example of Brandon and Lana from Boys Don't Cry. Lana is represents wholeness, knowledge and pleasure. During the sex scenes it is her pleasure that we see and not of Brandon. I guess my question is, what constitutes a new gaze? Different narrative perspectives? Different filming techniques? Is this transgender look a new gaze or is it using the conventions of the male gaze and using it against different subjects? I hope this makes sense.

In the transgendered look pieces, the author (Halberstam?), examines closely Boys Don't Cry. When she is analyzing the different scenes with Lana and Brandon she makes the point that the Lana's bedroom scene provides a transgendered gaze and that the rest of the movie does not follow suit. She explains the scene where Lana and Brandon "make love" instead of having sex and explains Brandon is now seen as a woman.... I guess I just feel like that was a large assumption to be made about the viewer & their recognition of the larger picture. Could the previous scenes of Lana and Brandon (bedroom scene) transcend the latter scenes for the viewer?

As i read this article, I thought it was pretty interesting about how transgenders are portrayed in the media but i could not think any movies at first. Then I thought about it very hard and thought of Hangover 2, American Wedding, and a few others and I realized they were all comedies. I got very confused in the article about "transgender gaze". Is this what the article was talking about when it mentioned "transgender gaze"?

Xiong891 I was wondering the same thing myself, I found myself re-reading that part more than once and still being confused exactly what it means to have a "flexible body" in the transgender world.

However, I was mostly wondering about Halberstam's inconsistency with the gazes. She says that most transgender movies were filmed for the straight gaze, then talks about how "The Crying Game" uses a male's gaze. How exactly is this movie portrayed in the transgender gaze, then? I also do not think there is a difference between a male gaze or a straight gaze, am I wrong?

Great resource Zach, thanks for sharing!

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This page contains a single entry by Melody published on October 19, 2011 12:32 PM.

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