Intersections: Gay Transgender Man Essay

Submitted By Jill134
Words: 875
Pages: 4

When I think of New York City in the 1980’s it consisted of partying, drugs, and sex. Jennie
Livingston’s 1990 documentary Paris is Burning portrays the lifestyles of gay/transgender men by exposing there sexuality, gender, race, and class. Discrimination and acceptance was prevalent and challenging. All these elements are still struggles that the gay/lesbian community encounter. Slowly the negative perception hindering the gay/transgender community has greatly improved. If we compare the life of a gay transgender man today vs. a gay transgender man in the
80’s socially as a whole we have become more aware and accepting. Race and class however has consistently been a hurdle that can’t be surpassed. Huge strides have been made in accepting same sex marriage and will continue to progress in the coming years. Due to our ever changing social classes we have become aware of what people feel and need to be content. New York specifically is the mecca of hope, dreams and overall a city of much diversity. It has always been a city of self­expression and raw emotion that has welcomed all walks of life. Granted NY has been home of rough streets and crime, which was shown in the film. But even with all the challenges these gay/transgender men encountered they focused on all the unlimited possibilities. In the film drag performance was a way of expressing and living the life these gay/transgender men wanted to ultimately live. For them being able to dress up and take part in performances at the balls provided them a safe place which in turn helped develop self­confidence. In that era it was very unlikely that society would have accept a man wearing a dress and high heels or even a woman dressing like a man wearing baggy pants and and plaid shirt. In the the documentary house mother Pepper Labeija explains the reaction of when his father first saw him dressed as a woman, and he immediately rushed home and told his mother that his son was a woman. Pepper Labejia explained how devastated his mother was when she found out and the lengths she would take. On occasion when he wasn’t home she would go into his room and throw out all of his women clothing. Peppers life as an adolescent child living with her parents was the prime example of anachronism. This is because her parents would not accept her for who she wanted to be. During this time the majority of society didn’t accept people who were gay or transgender. The way gays/transgenders are accepted now is extremely different from how it was during the time
Paris Is Burning was filmed. Isis King for example was a contestant on Americas Next Top
Model who was half black and transgender, she was part of many intersections and had to deal with much discrimination throughout her life. Even though Isis did not win that season of
Americas Next top Model, she made sure her face and name would be known. Shortly after it was American Apparel which made Isis King their first transgender spokesmodel. This shows how more accepting out society has become, Isis proved that no matter the gender beauty is within and she could still