Gay Pride's Here! And I'm So Ashamed!

We're asking, so tell us: What about our civil rights?

Most poignantly of all, we can be our own worst enemies, if I can replay a broken record I started cranking recently. The watchdog group GLAAD (which admittedly does a lot of good work) famously tried to get Israel Luna's exploitation-film homage Ticked-off Trannies With Knives pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival, which was pretty shocking considering it's a wildly pro-transsexual film that pits sympathetic ladies against a psychotic 'phobic character who ends up being disgraced and destroyed.

The film (which is tonally uneven, mind you) portrays the bonding of the trannies as they rousingly battle prejudice and violence. And GLAAD hated it! Why? For one thing, they don't like the word "trannies," which has become a term of endearment on the scene, but I guess not everywhere. For another, they feel the extreme violence is exploitative. (It does go over the top, grindhouse-style, but judging from all the acclaimed films about real-life LGBTs who've been brutally beaten and murdered, the attack is hardly inconceivable—and this film bashes back.) Mostly, they feel the audience might come away from the flamboyant characters feeling that transsexuals are actually "ridiculous caricatures" of femininity that are closer to drag queens.

See how our protectors only endorse certain types of transsexuals and how they bash drag queens in order to praise those transsexuals? The reality is that transsexuals come in all types—as critic Kate Bornstein has noted—and some of them are sharp-tongued, big-breasted, and work at Escuelita (or at all sorts of places). Being LGBT doesn't mean you have to be tasteful—and if this kind of person makes our watchdogs uncomfortable, perhaps they need to go out more and celebrate the people who make the night scene more bearable.

As for drag queens, they were at Stonewall, they're on TV, and they've always been at the forefront of the Gay Pride Parade. They're helping drive the bus, so let's stop acting like they should go to the back of it.

Of course, I'm far from perfect myself, having put my flip-flops in my mouth more than once. Meet me at the parade, and let's discuss.

musto@villagevoice.com

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