GLAAD Mounts Censorship Campaign Over Tribeca Fest Transploitation Flick
GLAAD is a funny little organization, on the one hand these self-appointed sentries for positive representation of gays in media, on the other a kind of nutless institution reluctant to get their Pradas dirty on the way to the awards show by, say, recognizing important but confrontational work like Kirby Dick's Outrage. It's baffling, really, when you then consider where they do choose to pick their battles.
Consider today's "call to action" against the Tribeca Film Festival, what essentially boils down to a campaign to have a particular selection -- a self-described "transploitation" film from writer/director Israel Luna called Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives -- removed from the program. Here's an excerpt from their takedown:
GLAAD has since seen the film in its entirety and can report that the title is far from the only problem with this film. The film, its title and its marketing misrepresent the lives of transgender women and use grotesque, exploitative depictions of violence against transgender women in ways that make light of the horrific brutality they all too often face.
By marketing Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives as a "transploitation" film, by using the word "trannies" (a pejorative term for transgender people) in the title of the film, by casting transgender women in some roles, and by citing the murders of Angie Zapata and Jorge Mercado in the trailer, Israel Luna has attempted to place his film squarely within a transgender narrative.
[W]hile some of the actors in the film identify as transgender, the characters are written as drag queens, "performing" femininity in a way that is completely artificial. The very names of these over-the-top female caricatures (Emma Grashun, Rachel Slurr, et al.) drive this point home.
First of all, congratulations to Luna (a sort of budding Tarantino if Tarantino were Latino, Texan and gay -- which kind of makes cosmic sense, somehow), who'll see his profile heightened immeasurably as the man at the center of this particular contrannieversy.
But back to the issue: When, exactly, did GLAAD start delineating between what is acceptable or not acceptable humor within the whole Queer spectrum for whom they advocate? According to their logic, drag as a subject is an OK area for broad satire, because it's "performing," but transexualism is not. Well, what if the transexual in question also happens to be a raunchy drag performer, like Dirty Sexy Money star Candis Cayne? Doesn't the voice of the filmmaker count for something? Are transexuals incapable of laughing at themselves? If you can't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love someone else? Can I get an amen up in here?! (And don't f*ck it up.)
And even more importantly -- isn't this, like, censorship? Take a cold shower and count downwards from ten, GLAAD. You don't want to walk down this dark alley. There's far worse things lurking in it than a couple punnily-named trannies with switchblades.
UPDATE: Reps from Tribeca Film Festival and GLAAD respond.
And if you're reserving judgment until you get a better look at the evidence, here's a preview of what to expect from Ticked-Off.