nathaxnne wilhelmina (hiatus)’s review published on Letterboxd :
1972: The Year Of Blue Eyeshadow (Cont'd)
I wish that every time i ran my perfectly manicured hand over my many many beautiful dresses a theme of wah/strings/flute would start up and flood all of reality as I twirled and twirled, flaring my skirt in my completely cute attic flat with the lovely floral wallpaper.
I am afraid that this movie for better or worse is one that speaks to my experience of being a trans woman directly. In my family there was no counterculture, there was no second-wave feminism, there was no gay liberation. Trans people did not even exist outside of hearing 'Walk On The Wild Side' on fm classic rock radio. When I inevitably wore skirts and dresses in high school the only context for which I could understand why I wanted to do this was glam or grunge but the need went as deep as anything. Whenever Wendy appears in an EVEN MORE EXCITING OUTFIT I wanted to and sometimes did clap my hands together. When Wendy confronts her military dad dressed in her glory, eyes blazing, my heart leapt. When Wendy appears in front of her sister as herself I want to be able to dress like that in front of my sister, in front of my mother. When Wendy thinks to herself what her life would be like if she didn't go through with The Surgery that one day she would wake up a middle-aged man and go mad and vacant and be buried as a man, well, her nightmare is the life I am living now more or less. Liberation is not equally distributed and I have been rather late to the party. I've threatened genital mutilation (and TMI - in the case of a major genital piercing, carried it out) with household implements in front of people in my twenties which seemed extremely drastic to them i am sure. To this day I have people in my life who just are not going to understand to the point where I can't talk to them about it or when I do it isn't worth it. It is such a big part of my life. I waited too long to go to gender-oriented therapy and couldn't wait long enough to be in a better more stable place so now I am having difficulty in getting approved for HRT which is if left unresolved in the near-future a fate worse than death. I look like a middle-aged man, I let most people think that about me because I can't be bothered but I tell whoever I trust and I hope that they see me as a woman in my gesture and my language and my heart because there is no other way they are seeing me as me. Everything is too late or not enough. It seems like one would have to WORK at being a tragic hysterical disaster to the extent that i am but I assure you it comes naturally.
I Want What I Want is a movie that loves Wendy and that affirms her as a woman. If one must have a cis person playing a trans person in a movie I feel that Anne Heywood did as good a job as can be expected, treating the role with kindness and sincerity. There were so many moments that I have experienced by myself in my apartment alone that are here in this movie. Reader I am not ashamed to admit I wept. It doesn't matter how they bury me. It doesn't matter what it says on my death certificate. I have always been a woman and I always will be. This movie loves Wendy but gosh her doctor doesn't and she is attracted to the wrong dudes right out of the gate but that too happens to so many trans women, to this day with sometimes horrifying results. I am thinking about just asking my cis woman GP for HRT and seeing what she says. I am sure she will say no. I feel like I have missed my chance in this life or that learning to adapt to this is somehow good for me in a many-lives scenario? I think about all the lives where I transitioned in my twenties and I wonder how many of me there are like that. How many me were dead before this point. When The Doctor talks to Wendy it hurts because what he says is what trans women are afraid of and he says it is the brutal truth but it isn't. I don't know how true it was in 1972 but it isn't true today. One thing that has been really positive is that cis women by and large have (as far as I can tell?) accepted me as a woman, even if they understand me as being different from them (i don't know in most cases) and this feeling is so immensely gratifying I could cry just thinking about it. And of course it is not universally true. I worry that I am frozen in the 20th Century, never able to show anyone who I truly was except in language and what when that is gone?
I should probably delete this forever