One month ago, Mack Beggs, a high school senior, earned the Texas girls’ state championship and completed a perfect season. Mack Beggs is a transgender boy. The state of Texas refused to allow Breggs to wrestle with the boys because their laws state that high school athletes must compete by the gender listed on their birth certificate. Wrestling fans called Beggs derogatory terms like “faggot” and “it. ” Negative Facebook and Twitter comments questioned Beggs and made him seem like a lesser being. Other comments celebrated Beggs’s courage and perseverance. Over the last couple of years, The transgender ebate has heated up.
In 1999, Kimberley Peirce and Any Bienan co-wrote the movie, Boys Don’t Cry, a story about a transgender male named Brandon Teena who endured the struggles of being transgender. The movie depicts the challenges in creating a multiculturalistic society, where people can live without the fear of being judged or harmed. Although some critics may argue that the film depiction of Brandon Teena’s murder was too brutal and glorifies violence against the transgender community, Peirce and Bienan film was innovative and effectively generated a discussion about transgender rights.
Boys Don’t Cry took place in Falls City, Nebraska, a city that has been historically known to be ultra-conservative. People who strayed away from societal expectations and norms became outcasts. Brave, transgendered individuals who expressed their true selves were often bullied horrifically. Brandon Teena hid that he was a transgender male from the public, because he did not want to be ridiculed, and he wanted to be seen as simply a male. Although the movie was filmed and released in 1998, Brandon Teena was murdered in 1993. Earlier in 1993, the third gay rights march took place in Washington DC.
Initial efforts were made to initiate the conversation, but Brandon’s murder in December of 1993 sparked outrage and set the stage for the advocating of gay and transgender rights. Once the movie was released, it instantly became a box-office success. Furthermore, this movie would not have been possible without Kimberley Peirce’s background and experiences. When Kimberley Peirce was 32-years old, she wrote Boys Don’t Cry. Before she created the film, she lived in a variety of places, including: Harrisburg, Chicago, New York, and Japan.
She was exposed to a variety of cultures, and her experiences helped her ee the world in a new light. She obtained a better understanding of people from different backgrounds. While working on her senior thesis at Columbia University, she heard about Brandon Teena’s murder. This led her to drop her entire thesis to focus on Brandon’s story. This is important because it shows the passion that Peirce had for the subjects of justice and transgender rights. Peirce is both a woman and lesbian. She was able to relate to some of Brandon’s experiences, and this helped reenforce the film’s authenticity.
She wanted each detail of the actual murder to be portrayed accurately in her thesis, and then ventually her movie. Once the movie was released, she depicted multiple graphic scenes, including the sexual assault of Brandon Teena and his murder by firearm and stabbing. In order to bring awareness to the transgender rights debate, it was essential that she showed the negative effects of lawmakers refusing to give equal rights to transgender people. If the government was able to take a stand against the injustices of discrimination, then it would set an example for the rest of the public.
The main protagonist in the film was Brandon Teena, and the main antagonist was John Lotter. Brandon is a short, transgender male, and during his first encounter with John, his hands were referred to as “tiny. ” Brandon did not fit society’s stereotype of what a male should represent. Vice versa, John is tall and has many masculine characteristics. During one of the film’s early scenes, he took his shirt off when he went mudding. Brandon was expected to take his shirt off, but he could not because it would reveal that he had female body parts. As the film progressed, John and Brandon began to feud over a woman named Llana.
They both had romantic interest in her, but ltimately Llana developed strong feelings for Brandon instead of John. John began to show aggressive signs towards Brandon, including shoving him on multiple occasions. After it was revealed that Brandon was transgender, it ultimately gave John an excuse to take matters into his own hands. He forcibly took off Brandon’s pants in front of multiple people, including Llana. Llana did not care if Brandon was a man or woman. She loved Brandon no matter what gender he identified as. This infuriated John, and he kidnapped Brandon and brutally assaulted him.
Brandon was no match for John’s incredible size, and marks ere left all over Brandon’s body. Brandon began to feel helpless and second guessed his decision to be a male for the first time in the entire film. This is important because it helps show that society’s expectations of a male overmatch an individual’s perception of what a male is. While it may appear that gender is entirely genetic, it is actually a socially constructed label. Once Brandon could not adhere do society’s expectations of a male, it allowed John to commit a grotesque hate crime against Brandon: murder.
John barged into Llana’s home and screamed, “Where the fuck is it? ” (Peirce 1:48:32). John completely dehumanized Brandon in that instance and demeaned him to the level of an object. In John’s mind, transgendered individuals are nothing. The last encounter that John and Brandon have in the movie is when John shot Brandon point blank. Blood spewed from Brandon’s lifeless body. After the bullets went through Brandon, John stabbed Brandon multiple times. This scene was important because it helps show that gruesome hate crimes happen to transgender people regularly.
It will not not stop until someone puts their foot down and shows that hate will never be tolerated under any circumstance. In John’s eyes, being transgender was a greater crime than murder. Boys Don’t Cry is the story of Brandon Teena is a transgender male who attempts to have a relationship with a woman by birth. After living in Lincoln, Nebraska for most of his life, he drifted over to Falls City, Nebraska in hopes of living a care-free life. After settling into the city, making new friends, and beginning a relationship with Llana, Brandon receives a speeding ticket and must appear in court.
It is soon revealed that Brandon has a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear in court for a grand-theft-auto crime. Brandon Teena’s legal name is revealed as “Teena Brandon,” and it is shown that his birth gender is female. Although his girlfriend accepts Brandon for being a transgender male, other people in the town decide that his deception cannot go unpunished. Llana’s former boyfriend John, confronts Llana and sexually assaults him. A few days later John returns to Brandon and murders him in front of Llana. Brandon had shined a light upon her life, and that light died along with him.
According to the Office for Victims of Crime, “Sexual assault perpetrated against transgender individuals may e a component of an anti-transgender hate crime” (OVC). Brandon’s gender identity made him more susceptible to a hate- based crime. Brandon’s character and contributions to society did not create a motive for his John to kill him, but his physical appearance did. When Brandon was thought to be a male by birth, his new friends thought the world of him. He was included in all of their outings and was treated as a member of their family. This shows that some people determine another’s character’s worth by their physical attributes.
If I was in charge of producing Boys Don’t Cry, I would film the ovie in Falls City, Nebraska. Falls City is important to the film’s identity and is where the most important moments of Brandon’s life took place. I unsure was possible. Furthermore, a girl was able to accept him for his true self and accept him for his true self. Unfortunately, where he fell in love, something he was Falls City was where he died as well. It would be powerful to depict the events as accurate as possible. The movie was not a work of fiction, but it actually paints the picture that many transgender people are murdered each year.
In fact, according o the Human Rights Campaign, data from 2016 shows, “advocates tracked at least 21 deaths of transgender people due to fatal violence, the most ever recorded” (Violence Against the Transgender Community in 2016). This is important because it demonstrates that violence against transgender individuals continues to occur in today’s society. While the entire production of Boys Don’t Cry was innovative in itself, it could be recreated to help individuals in 2017 to help fuel the transgender right’s movement. Also, I would like to conduct actual interviews with residents of Falls City.
I would like to hear ersonal accounts from people surrounding Brandon’s tragedy. This would include people like Candace, Llana, and even John himself. It could help open up people’s eyes about issues surrounding the transgender community. Boys Don’t Cry’s overall goal was to bring awareness and generate a conversation about violence against transgender people. In the late 1990s, this movie helped spark outrage for the treatment of transgender people and the LGBT community. In order to allow this movie to be as impactful as possible, the film producers portrayed Brandon Teena’s death in an accurate, but horrific way.
When John and his accomplice Tom went to murder Brandon, John said, “Think they would recognize her, if we chopped off her head and hands? ” (1:46:48). The purpose of the film’s graphic detail surrounding Brandon’s murder was not to glorify violence, or to spark someone to commit a similar crime, but to speak and touch the film’s thousands of viewers. It was to instill the inner moxie to advocate and give a voice for those who may be seen as lesser beings by society. Throughout the film, two derogatory terms were repeatedly used: faggot and dyke.
After it was discovered that Brandon was transgender male earlier in the movie, a group of guys confronted him and screamed, “Open the fuckin’ door, you fuckin’ faggot! ” (6:07). In this instance, Brandon was ridiculed and insulted for being attracted to a member of the same biological sex. It was also used as an insult and a degrading term. Later on in the movie, when Brandon was thought to simply be a male by birth, an older man said to Brandon, “I didn’t ask you what you wanted, you little fag” (8:55). In this situation, the man did not know of Brandon’s sexuality and chose to insult him by calling him a “fag.
He meant to strike a nerve inside of Brandon’s soul and make him feel bad about himself. Both of times that he was called a “fag”, violence soon ensued. Right before he was murdered, Brandon was referred to as a “fag” as well. This was strategically done to show how harmful words can be. Although some critics of the film Boys Don’t Cry argue that Kimberley Peirce’s depiction of violent acts against transgender individuals was too graphic and inadvertently sparked unjust acts, Peirce’s film was innovative and displayed the importance of transgender rights.
Brandon Teena’s life was significant because his story helped generate the discussion of the fair treatment of transgender individuals. His willingness to try to express himself to the world is what helped other people like Mack Beggs bread social expectations. The appearance of a person does not matter; their character does. This filmed helped open up my eyes on the struggles that transgender people face. This movie made me tear up and put things into perspective. We are all human, and we all need to work together to promote peace on Earth.