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Transexuals on TV and in the Movies (continued from page 1)

  • HBO broadcasts the Sundance award-winning documentary "Southern Comfort" (2001). Its central character was a female-to-male transsexual named Robert Eads who is both dying and falling in love at the same time. Critics hailed the film for its sympathetic look at the world of transexuality. The film also spotlighted the prejudices of the American Health system that refused to treat Eads' illness (ovarian cancer) because he was a transexual.
  • The A&E channel aired "Transgender Revolution" (2001) as part of their Investigative reports series. It featured a female-to-male transsexual who works for the Tampa sheriff's office, a male-to-female electrical designer who hosted an MIT radio show called Gendertalk, and a Southern good-old-boy who we follow through his surgical transformation. The special also discusses elements of the Hates Cirme Acts in relations to transexual killings and an interview with the founder of the GenderPAC, a transsexual advocacy organization.
  • The CBS drama THE EDUCATON OF MAX BICKFORD (2001-2002) featured Helen Shaver as a transexual college professor who revealed to his best friend, history teacher Max Bickford (Richard Dreyfus) that he had a sex change operation and was now known as Erica Bettis. Adjusting to the news, Max struggled to accept his former guy pal turned beautiful babe.
  • HBO's movie "Normal" (2003) followed a fifty-something factory worker from a little Illinois town who announced that he was undergoing surgery to become a woman. The film was written and directed by Jane Anderson (an adaptation of her play, "Looking for Normal") and starred Tom Wilkinson as Roy Applewood. Jessica Lange costars as Roy's wife, Irma who struggles to deal with her husband's radical decision.
  • Showtime's "Soldier's Girl" (2003) revealed the true tale of how a GI was beaten to death in 1999 by other soldiers who were enraged by his relationship with Calpernia Addams, (a.k.a. Scottie) a transsexual nightclub performer. The movie tagline read: "She was the only man he ever loved."

    Lee Pace in 'Soldier's Girl'
    Lee Pace stars in
    'Soldier's Girl' on Showtime


  • A&E's two-hour program "Role Reversal" (2003) followed two men and two women (coached by a team of gender experts) who volunteered to live in a New York apartment as members of the opposite sex for one month.
  • "Changing Sexes: Female To Male 2003" a documentary film produced by Film Garden Entertainment in 2003 and broadcast on the Discovery Channel in 2003 and 2004. The program follows the story of four women who have become, or are currently transitioning to, men including Jamison, who has been a man for 12 years; Rachael, just beginning her transition and still living as a woman; Dirk, who started life as Emily, and now lives in a small town in the Midwest where he fears for his safety for those who don't understand his lifestyle, and Scott (formerly Caroline) who talks about her female-to-male surgery and the creation of an artificial phallus.
  • FIND ME A MAN six-episode series from Britain aired November 15, 2003 on Sky One network. This controversial series featured seven "lively and outgoing" young men competing for the affections of a lady whom, unbeknownst to them, is actually a man. Prior to the show, all seven of the contestants were asked to select the woman they found most attractive from a lineup. Unawares, they chose Miriam, a pre-op transexual.
  • In 2004, the FOX network series NIP/TUCK featured Dutch-born model/actress Famke Janssen in the recurring role of Ava Moore, a predatory male-to-female transexual life-coach who seduces just about everybody on the show. After doing her worst, Ava is banished from town. In her final scene, Ava walks through the airport dressed like Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with a big hat and sunglasses.
  • Miriam - THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MIRIAMThe Fox Reality cable channel aired a 2004 imported BBC series THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MIRIAM, that featured a group of men who compete for the affections of a Mexican woman who is in reality a transexual.

  • The Showtime channel aired "The Opposite Sex: Rene's Story" in May/June 2004 which explored the life a Rene, a 31 year old female-to-male transexual who married high-school sweetheart, Wona, a heterosexual woman. However tragedy stuck when their happy life was disrupted after someone from their local church "outed" their well-kept secret. The movie also discussed an experimental procedure which Rene hoped would make her a fully-functioning biological male.
  • On March 15, 2005 the fictional gay schoolteacher, Mr. Herbert Garrison (voiced by Trey Parker) on the Comedy Channel series SOUTH PARK underwent sex reassignment surgery (vaginoplasty) and became a woman. The episode was entitled "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina". Upon seeing Mr. Garrison's transformation, Garrison's gay male lover Mr. Slave shouted "But I'm gay, I don't like vaginas." Garrison responds, "All you have to do is stop being gay." Frustrated, Mr. Slave leaves and Garrison shouts, "You're just gonna walk out? You men are all alike! Go ahead and find somebody who doesn't have a vagina, you fag!" When Garrison tries to reverse the operation (and finds out he can't) he says "I'd rather be a woman who can't have periods than a fag. Hey guys! This girl is staying a woman! Who wants to pound my vag? Girl power!". On the 1998 SOUTH PARK episode "Cartman's Mother is Still a Dirty Slut," Dr. Mephisto reveals that Cartman's father was in reality (drum roll, please)...his mother, Liane Cartman. Confused? Well, turns out that Liane was a hermaphrodite and since hermaphrodites cannot bear children Cartman's mother got another woman pregnant at the drunken barn dance.
  • During a summer 2005 episode of the SCI-FI Channel cartoon TRIPPING THE RIFT (Called "SOUTH PARK in space" by TV Guide), an apparently female character drops her dress to reveal a very hairy back. Suddenly, we hear the cry, "She's got a Weenie!" Oh, how the times they are a changing.
  • In November of 2006, the long-running ABC daytime soap opera ALL MY CHILDREN cast the first regularly recurring trans-gendered character (changing from man to a woman) on daytime TV. The character Zarf (played by Jeffrey Carlson) is a flamboyant male Rock star with a British accent who one day kisses a lesbian character named Bianca. Suddenly, he gets "special" feelings for her and decides to switch genders for the benefit of a potential relationship. Zarf was born lesbian.
  • In 2007-2008, a number of networks featured storylines that features transexual characters. On the NBC series UGLY BETTY, Alex, the long-lost brother of Mode magazine editor-in-chief Daniel Mead, returned as Alexis (played by Rebecca Romijn). On ABC's DIRTY SEXY MONEY, William Baldwin's Patrick Darling, a married New York state attorney general running for U.S. Senate has an illicit affair with a sultry blond  transexual named Carmelita (played by Candis Cayne). The character is TV's first recurring transsexual character who actually is played by a transsexual. An other transexual storyline appearedon the ABC series BIG SHOTS in which divorced cosmetics CEO Duncan Collinsworth (Dylan McDermott) has an ill-advised liaison with a transsexual prostitute at a rest stop.

Chrisine Jorgenson StoryTRIVIA NOTE: Probably the most famous transgendered person in the news was an ex-GI named George Jorgensen, Jr. (1926-89) who returned from a Copenhagen clinic as Christine and first brought transexualism to public light. A 1952 NY Times headline proclaimed "Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Bombshell."

Christine soon became the unofficial spokesperson for the trans-gendered crowd and frequented college campuses and other speaking engagements to explain her lifestyle. Once, during a visit to THE DICK CAVETT SHOW, host Cavett inadvertently insulted Christine by asking about her romantic life and she quickly walked off the show.

Christine chronicled her life and struggles in her 1967 book, “Christine Jorgensen: A Personal Autobiography" (which became the 1970 film "The Christine Jorgenson Story").  

Never married (although engaged twice), Christine died of bladder and lung cancer at the age of 62 on May 3, 1989 at her home in San Clemente, California.

''Being a man or being a woman has nothing to do with your
 genitalia. It's what's in your mind or in your heart.''

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