There wasn’t a transgender City and the Pillar, or even a transgender Will and Grace. Hollywood has always had a soft spot for transvestite comedy, but mainly in the context of broad situational comedy well insulated from any messy sexual questions: Robin Williams cross-dresses to be close to his children, Shawn and Marlon Wayans because they are dedicated FBI agents. It is a longstanding complaint (and one not without some basis) among advocates that media portrayals of transgender characters are largely of the Silence of the Lambs variety, which used to be the Last Exit to Brooklyn variety and, before that, the Vengeance Is Mine variety: serial killers, prostitutes, and vampiric deviants who scheme to ensnare heterosexual men. The anxiety surrounding the possibility that a straight man might fall into a transgender attraction gave us The Crying Game and M. Butterfly; Boys Don’t Cry was unique not in being based on actual events, but in that the transgender deception is perpetrated on a woman.
"The Transgender Culture War" is from the June 13, 2016 issue of National Review.
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