Friday, January 15, 2016

A Night On The Town… Rather An Afernoon On The Town

Credit: Ullstein Bild via Getty Images
Wednesday afternoon I went with three friends to see “The Danish Girl" and the next morning the movie was nominate for several Oscars. Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Viaknder were nominated for Best Actor and Supporting Actress and the movie was also nominated in the following categories; Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.

Overall I thought it was a good movie and in the end I was crying over her death. The movie was a fictional account of the lives of Lili Elbe (Einar Wegener) and Gerda Wegener.

My first thoughts were that the movie makes Gerda the martyr in that she stuck by Lili to the end, but in real life it is believed that Gerda was either a lesbian or bisexual. I also felt that they played the multi-personalities card too much. Lili kept on referring Lili and Einar as two different persons. They also made it sound like when Gerda had Einar dress up in stockings, shoes and ballerina dress was what caused Einar to transition but in real life she had always felt that she was a woman (the movie briefly touch on it when the movie had a flashback with Hans when they were teenagers) and the dress was just the trigger to bring her gender dysphoria to the surface.

I think what they got right was the turmoil that we go through before we transition how it is a wild roller coaster ride from one extreme to another. They also got it right how trans people and gays were treated as being insane back then. Even though they made Gerda the martyr it gave a pretty good portrayal of a wife whose husband transitioned. My favorite quote was “I think Lily's thoughts, I dream her dreams. She was always there.” My dreams have always been “Diana” as long as I can remember. A little humor was provided by Hans when he said to Lili “I've only liked a handful of people in my life, and you've been two of them.”

I have always said that trans people should have a chance to audition for trans parts in the movies and The Danish Girl didn’t give trans people a chance to audition, however, they did have two trans actors who played cis gender parts in the movie, I wrote about it here.

The movie talked about the “doctor from Germany” who in real life was Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld and the real operation that she died from was a womb and ovaries transplant. A good article about the Lili Elbe was in the UK paper The Telegraph
Wegener lived at the dawn of understanding of human sex and gender. In 1918, Magnus Hirschfeld, a German physician who also founded the world’s first gay rights organisation, opened the Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin. Having spent the previous 30 years documenting the experiences of homosexual men and women around the world, Hirschfeld’s intention was to turn sexology into a rigorous academic discipline. It was Hirschfeld who came up with the term “transsexualismus” for those who wanted to become, rather than simply appear to be, a different sex. (This is distinct from being transgendered, which does not necessarily imply a desire for physical transformation.)
The procedures by which the then-47-year-old Wegener became Elbe are not precisely known, partly because the library and archive of the Institute for Sexual Research were destroyed by the Nazis in May 1933. In the biography Man into Woman, which incorporates many of Wegener/Elbe’s diary entries and letters, as well as conversations with the book’s “editor”, Niels Hoyer, details are elusive.
Just as a point of history; the Institute for Sexual Science that Dr. Hirschfeld founded was burned down by the Nazis Brown Shirts in 1933 and the classic picture of the Nazis burning books was actually from the Institute for Sexual Science.

After the movies we headed over to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I have been there many times and I always had a good time but the only problem is with all the types of cheesecakes I can’t have any because there are way too many carbs in them.

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