Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Trained in the Ways of Men

The world premiere of the documentary film, "Trained in the Ways of Men", debuted at Cinquest in San Jose last week. There's a collage of interviews with the many players in our social system who are supposed to educate, support, and lead our youth to becoming fully functional, productive adults. Obviously, they all failed badly in preventing the brutal murder of Gwen Araujo, a transgendered woman. Everyone involved had an opportunity to present his/her perspective on the horrible tragedy, including Gwen's mother, the prosecuting attorney, the defense attorneys, high school counsellors, university sociologists, and so on.

I learned a lot from the documentary. I did not realize that transgendered people are so psychologically committed to their preferred sex that in their minds they are that sex even though the physical evidence suggests otherwise. So in her mind, a transgendered woman is not engaging in deceit when she flirts with a man in a bar.

I found myself wondering how many transgendered people are among us? The popuation of the U.S. is roughly 300 million. Homosexuals are estimated at 10% of that population or 30 million. So what is the number of transgendered? The film did not address this.

I also found the film very thought provoking and educational in that it addresses and explains the transgendered individual, whereas other films have treated the subject solely as an entertainment vehicle. These are films like "The Crying Game", "Boys Don't Cry", "Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert", "Transamerica", and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch".

I hope that Shelly Prevost, the director of the film, will do a little more editing, and find an appropriate commercial distribution channel. It would be a good film for high school students to learn many important lessons about sexuality and responsibility concerning sexuality.

I understand that California no longer accepts the "gay panic" defense as an excuse for murder as a result of this murder and the efforts to bring these issues to light.