Boy meets… girl?

From the Dallas Voice

By Steve Warren Contributing Film Writer
Jun 30, 2009 – 5:05:47 PM

The festival hit ‘XXY’ tracks the travails of romance for an intersex teen

The Internet Movie Database lists 10 films, most of them documentaries, dealing at least in part with the intersex condition — all made in this century. There’s a longer but less accurate list under “hermaphrodite.” “XXY,” which screens this week at Out Takes Dallas, clearly belongs on both lists.

Alex (Inés Efron) was born with the organs of both genders to parents Kraken (Ricardo Darin) and Suli (Valeria Bertuccelli). They now live in a Uruguayan coastal village, where they hope to escape notoriety and gossip.

Now 15, Alex has been raised as a girl and has until recently been taking hormones to prevent “masculinization.” It’s nearing time for Alex to make decisions (some involving surgery) about her future, but no one in the family wants to discuss it.

Alex comes on sexually to Alvaro, the 16-year-old son of a doctor. He resists at first but soon they have an encounter that’s surprising to him and the audience, leaving both teenagers with a better idea of their sexual identity.

The film’s strengths are also its weaknesses. The genitalia in question, for instance, are never shown. That’s good — showing them would be exploitative. On the other hand, the viewer can’t help but feel teased by shots where they’re barely covered or hidden in shadows creating an annoying coyness.

There’s minimal dialogue in the script, written by director Lucia Puenzo (based on a short story by Sergio Bizzio). Again, good — we don’t need the subject talked to death — but it also leaves much of the film opaque, both in terms of exposition and the feelings of the characters. And does first-time director Puenzo really expect us to take the heavily symbolic carrot-slicing scene seriously?

One unequivocally good thing is Efron’s performance, especially in a near-rape scene that, intentionally or not, evokes memories (with more tragic results) of “Boys Don’t Cry.”

While it deserves a rating nearer ABB than XXY, the film — which has won numerous awards at various festivals (GLBT and general) — probably doesn’t deserve all the accolades it has received.

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Transgender activist opposes Downtown Eastside pharmacy ban on service to TS/TG People

From Georgia Straight, Canada

July 9, 2009

By Charlie Smith

The Vancouver Women’s Health Collective says transsexual/ transgender women will not be served at its new pharmacy on the Downtown Eastside. And that has a neighbourhood transgender activist alleging that the collective is discriminating against women like herself.

“That’s not acceptable,” Jamie Lee Hamilton told the Straight in a phone interview. “No city license should be given out to any business that operates in the city of Vancouver if it chooses to discriminate.”

Hamilton added that she plans on filling her next hormone prescription at Lu’s: A Pharmacy for Women, which opened on July 7 at 29 West Hastings Street.

The collective’s executive director, Caryn Duncan, told the Straight in a phone interview that her organization’s steering committee discussed whether or not to extend service to all “self-identified women”. In the end, members decided to serve “women born women”.

“We are an organization that has for almost 40 years supported women around their battle with breast cancer or unwanted pregnancy or delivering a baby with a midwife, [and] celebrating or dealing with menopause,” Duncan said. “It’s about bleeding—or wanting to bleed or not bleed. It’s about being a woman, and the physiology of being a woman.”

She claimed that the pharmacy doesn’t have the expertise or capacity to serve transsexual/transgender women. “I think we’re being very reasonable,” Duncan said. “I believe the massive groundswell of support for our pharmacy and for our work is evidence that what we do is supported in the broader community.”

The B.C. Court of Appeal has upheld women-only organizations’ legal right to restrict membership to women and not admit transsexual/transgender people. Hamilton, however, claimed that the court’s ruling dealt with organizations and not with a business that provides a health service.

© 2009 Vancouver Free Press