I've just come back from watching a film called 'Tangerine' at Home cinema in Manchester and felt utterly inclined to write about it. It was shot using an Iphone 5s and followed members of a transgender community in downtown LA.

Aside from all the technicalities and digital aspects of the film, something that stood out to me a great deal was the representation of the trans women, who worked as prostitutes in order to earn money. Instead of the stereotypical representations, which usually follow a introvert coming to terms with who they are, and hiding their 'big secret' from the rest of the world - these women were truly confident with who they were, and made absolute no effort at all to hide it.

The film follows Sin-dee (Rella) and Alexandra - two transgender best friends, who live what can only be described as a 'colourful life'. Sin-dee has just been released from prison, only to find out that her boyfriend (who we later find out to be her fiancé) has cheated on her with a cisgender (a woman who was biologically born a female) and goes around town trying to track this lady down. The moment when she finds her was a scene that I found absolutely hilarious - I'm not going to spoil it though - and she proceeds to drag her through town by her hair (I guess this wasn't so funny).

Although the film follows a mainly comedic genre, there were also some utterly tragic moments too. One being when Alexandra has to pay the money, which she is exploited in order to earn, just to perform a couple of songs in a bar. Only 2 people turn up to watch - Sin-dee and her 'hostage' Dinah. Whilst I half expected the performance to be cheesy and the kind of thing you'd see on RuPaul's Drag Race, it was the complete opposite. The songs she sang were heartbreaking and beautiful, and really made you see the life they live in a completely different way.

The things is, although they come across as bold, bright and fierce, the only job they seem to have is as prostitutes, which I actually found quite disrespectful. Although the director was trying to defy stereotypes, which he certainly did in one way, he didn't representing the characters as having any ambitions or goals, and they were still isolated from society. Whilst Sin-Dee conformed to her role, and knew that her only option was to embrace her lifestyle, it was clear that Alex saw beyond the confinements that were set against her and was desperately trying to break away from them.  

The setting in Tangerine seemed so bright and colourful, yet underneath the surface it was so utterly corrupt. It really was a beautifully artistic and aesthetically pleasing film, with a lot of scenes that had me in hysterics, but it was juxtaposed with this element of sadness that I haven't seen projected in any film in a long time. I would completely, totally and utterly recommend watching it - and I know that I will definitely be watching it again.

Okay, I'm going to go on a little rant now. It takes a lot to annoy me, it honestly really does. Yet once I'm annoyed, it's final and there's no going back from there. Something that particularly gets on my nerves is when people are discriminative and judgemental towards other members within society, and I really just cannot stand it. It's unfair that people are defined by the way they look and how people feel the need that they should have an opinion on it.

After the screening of the film, we were all asked to feedback on our thoughts towards it. Although I am aware that everyone is obviously entitled to their own opinions and values - and I think it's great that we live in a democracy where we are able to do that - I listened to someone refer to the characters as 'transgender men, women, whatever they are' and I was disgusted. Just because we are born either male or female, I really don't think that should define who we are. I hear on the news or social media that people feel 'trapped in their own bodies' and it really really upsets me to think that people are hurting because of that. People feel that they can't be their true selves because of the reaction from other people, and I hate to think about it. We are either male or female, depending on what we identify as, and I don't believe anyone else other than ourselves should have the right to dictate that decision for us.

Something else that annoyed me was the usage of the word 'normal'. I know people perhaps were trying to explain their points, I do think more thought should've gone into it rather than defining the characters between 'the trans ones and the normal ones'. Because, what is normal? It's a word we use a lot, but what does it really mean? We are all so different and diverse in many ways, but what's the difference between what's 'normal' and what's 'not normal'? UGH.

This post has definitely taken a turning point, but I just couldn't hold in my anger and felt the need to write about it - so voila! One last thing that annoys me in general, yet I was reminded of today, is when people feel like they can justify their discrimination and pure ignorance by saying 'I'm friends with transgender people/black people/gay people etc' in order for their points to not come across as racist, homophobic or transphobic. Yet, what I fail to understand is that if you're friends with people, and have seen firsthand the struggles they have gone through, then why do you think that it's okay to add to them? If you're 'friend' heard what you were saying, do you not think they'd be offended? I just don't get it, I really really don't.

I'm sorry, I think I just needed to get that off my chest. It hurts me to think that we live in a world that can be so unaccepting and discriminative, making it difficult for vulnerable people to feel comfortable with who they are -  and the sheer thought that someone out there is living with the pain of pretending to be someone they know they're not, just in order to 'fit in', honestly breaks my heart.

I guess that's all for now and, again, apologies for the rant.

Grace x


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