The Instigator
Justin108
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Amphia
Con (against)
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0 Points

It is hypocritical and ideologically inconsistent to criticize a movie for its lack of trans people

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/9/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 474 times Debate No: 110469
Debate Rounds (3)
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Justin108

Pro

Despite the hyper-progressive nature of Black Panther, PC culture still managed to criticize it for not being PC enough due to a lack of LGBTQ representation. To those who agree with this I ask: did you just assume their gender? How do you know all the biological women in Black Panther identify as women? How do you know the biological men in Black Panther identify as men? For all we know, half the people in Black Panther are trans. Is assuming they're cis not essentially the same as assuming their gender?

Is it possible to criticize the lack of trans people in cinema without assuming their gender?
Amphia

Con

Not, it is not hypocritical nor ideologically inconsistent to criticize a movie for its lack of LGBTQ representation. Something interesting that you seem to be forgetting, the LGBTQ community is not just transgender people. But I guess you just chose to take that aspect for this debate.

Anyway, here goes.

Being honest, many actors/actresses who are transgender are pretty open about. Obviously, not all of them are, we don't know, but these people complaining were wishing that OPENLY LGBTQ people were represented. I mean, a movie where one of the actors/actresses is closeted is not going to have a huge impact for the LGBTQ community. To show that the LGBTQ community also has a talented pool of actors/actresses, you'd need someone who isn't in the closet about their sexuality. Someone who has made it clear they are gay or lesbian or transgender or bisexual or queer.

Maybe they were assuming these people's gender but at the same time, if a person doesn't let you know what gender they identify as (or don't identify as), there is no way for you to know. People see me and say I'm a girl. That's the way it is. Most transgender people don't expect you to somehow know through mind games, in fact, many of them are hypersensitive about the way they portray themselves in public. A lot of them are in situation where revealing they are transgender could get them hurt or worse. No one expects you to know. if they want you to know, they'll tell you.

One more point, this debate is framed very bad. The whole "assuming their gender" is not something transgender people actually say. It something cisgender people say to make fun or make light of transgender people. It's rude and I myself have been known to use it in the past. Just saying, it's not funny and it's offensive to poke fun of someone because of the way they identify. "Assuming someone's gender" actually does not necessarily offend transgender people. If you said: "Omg, Sally totally just assumed your gender, Ella." Ella might take more offense at the fact that you're making fun of her rather than Sally assuming her gender.
Debate Round No. 1
Justin108

Pro

For clarity sake, yes I am specifically focusing on transgender representation in cinema as per the heading.

You mention trans actors and actresses, which I find to be irrelevant to the topic. This is not about the representation of trans actors, this is about the representation of trans characters. Unless you are of the opinion that only trans actors should be allowed to play trans characters? If so, you are dismissing the majority of films that do in fact represent both gay actors and gay characters. Actors like Sean Penn , Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal all plaid respectable gay roles despite all being heterosexual whereas actors like Ian McKellen and Neil Patrick Harris often play straight characters. Insisting that trans characters only ever be played by trans actors would either be inconsistent or it would force you to invalidate all of the above actors and the roles they played.

You insist that characters be OPENLY trans but I fail to see how that is necessary. Does a trans woman have to look like a man in order to be "openly trans"? Does a trans person have to randomly in conversation say "Hi I'm Jessica. By the way I have a penis"? Does this not invalidate all trans people who do not openly advertise the fact that they are trans? Does a trans person have to advertise their trans-ness in order to be a "true trans"? The trans community often likes to create the narrative that genitals do not matter, yet I cannot imagine a scenario where someone can be "openly trans" in a movie WITHOUT their genitals coming into question. Essentially the only way I person can come out as openly trans is to somehow indicate that "I am a woman with a penis". You can't have it both ways.

What, to you, would be an appropriate way for a trans person to be "openly trans"? Does it have to be a female character being played by a biological man? But doesn't that imply that sex is in fact biological? If I look at Jude Law playing a woman, I will immediately recognize the fact that it's a man. This goes against the trans narrative that you can look at a person and determine their gender. And how will I know Jude Law is in fact playing a woman? Does wearing a dress and long hair mean you're a woman? Several problems here. First is the fact that gender is a social construct (supposedly) and that "only women can wear dresses" is a gender norm imposed by society. Secondly, this invalidates trans people who don't care to pass as their chosen gender. If a biological man identifies as a woman, does he have to wear a dress to validate that? If you take the trans narrative at face value, you can be a biological man, dressed in a suit, wear a tie, have a beard, and STILL be trans.

In your opinion, is it necessary for an openly trans person to do at least one of the following?
- say "I am trans"
- say "I am a woman with a penis"
- look like a biological man
- dress like a woman

If your answer is "yes", does that not imply that a trans person is not a real trans unless he/she does the above?
If your answer is "no", then please give me an example of a hypothetical openly trans character that does not do any of the above. How will we know a trans character is in fact openly trans if he/she does not do any of the above?
Amphia

Con

"You mention trans actors and actresses, which I find to be irrelevant to the topic. This is not about the representation of trans actors, this is about the representation of trans characters."

Okay, I am sorry I misunderstood your argument but now that I do, it"s actually quite a silly, kind of offensive argument. I feel like you are trying to show you are progressive but you don"t seem to realize how rude what you are saying is. The whole "did you just assume his gender" thing is a joke used by cisgender people to make fun of transgender people. And come ON, what"s wrong with wanting representation. When someone is a minority, having representation on TV or in the movies is HUGE. The reason people complained is because the creators of these characters have never come out and said anything about them being LGBTQ. As I have already said, you can"t make an impact if you aren"t open about it. That"s the truth. It doesn"t mean going around and saying "I"M TRANSGENDER! I"M TRANSGENDER!" It means not hiding it. And I totally understand that some people are not in a good position to do this, that"s fine but it doesn"t make an impact for the LGBTQ community. Being a closeted gay actor is not going to do much for the LGBTQ community unless somehow you"re working from the inside but I don"t know how you would do that"

Also, I misunderstood your argument. I thought you were talking about transgender actors not representation. I am not saying only transgender actors should play transgender characters though that would probably make for a better movie if someone who actually has experience is playing the character. But, I am not invalidating gay people who play straight characters or vice versa. I don"t care if actors play characters that don"t match their sexual preferences or gender identity as long as no one is using stereotypes or offending anyone.

You seem to misunderstand my argument though. When I said open, I never said they have to look like man. Not all transgender people get surgery, you know that right? When I say openly transgender, I mean not hiding it. If you are hiding it, nothing against you but that means you aren"t open about it. And to show that the LGBTQ is just as talented as straight people, we have to know you"re LGBTQ! Listen dude, being open doesn"t mean saying: "Hi I'm Jessica. By the way I have a penis"

What the heck is up with that? I NEVER said being open means advertising such information and I don"t see how that is even relevant. I feel like that"s offensive. What the heck.

"Does this not invalidate all trans people who do not openly advertise the fact that they are trans?"

NO, of course not! Think about it like this. Let"s say I am 16 years old. I want to prove that teenagers are also talented actors. But I can"t do this is if tell everyone I"m 25! It doesn"t mean I"m not a talented actor nor does it mean that I"m a fraud. Maybe I lied about my age to protect myself. All I am saying is that since I am currently hiding my age, I cannot make an impact for my community through acting since no one knows that I am 16 years old in the first place.

"Essentially the only way I person can come out as openly trans is to somehow indicate that "I am a woman with a penis". That isn"t true. Many people come out through social media or interviews. What this reveals to me is that you only see transgender people as women with penises. Which is unfortunate because that diminishes what it means to be transgender completely.

Here is a hypothetical transgender person who has decided to be openly transgender:

Sarah was born a boy but identifies as a woman. She is also an actress. At first, she was afraid that coming out to the world would ruin her career but she realizes that she isn"t afraid of that anymore. She has a large social media following and reveals that she was born a boy. Never once does she ever say "I am a woman with a penis". She doesn"t necessarily look like a man. Maybe she dresses like a woman, maybe she doesn"t but that doesn"t matter.

What matters is that she is happy. There is nothing wrong with saying you are transgender. It is not as undignified as you seem to believe.
Debate Round No. 2
Justin108

Pro

"And come ON, what"s wrong with wanting representation?"
- Nothing. My point is that representation, if one were to collectively consider gender identity politics, becomes virtually impossible without having an obvious male walk around in a dress. Consider this. Suppose a trans actor plays a female character. This character is trans but at no point does the character say "I am trans", at no point does the character make any mention of when she was a man, at no point is the character nude. Would you consider this an "openly trans character"? And I stress the word CHARACTER and not actor. Is this an openly trans character?

"It doesn"t mean going around and saying "I"M TRANSGENDER! I"M TRANSGENDER!" It means not hiding it."
- Give me an example of a hypothetical trans character "not hiding" without the character explicitly making mention of their own transness. A gay character can, for example, kiss another man. That would be indicative of his homosexuality without him saying "I am gay". Now give me a similar scenario for a trans character that indicates they are trans without
a) telling someone they are trans
b) going into detail about their own history when they used to be considered a member of a different sex
c) a reference to their genitals

"Sarah was born a boy but identifies as a woman. She is also an actress. At first, she was afraid that coming out to the world would ruin her career but she realizes that she isn"t afraid of that anymore. She has a large social media following and reveals that she was born a boy. "
- This is virtually identical to saying "I AM TRANS" which, if you'll recall, you denied earlier regarding whether it's necessary. A gay character can be gay without "coming out as" gay. How do you suggest a trans character is portrayed without him/her "coming out"?
Amphia

Con

Sorry for not exactly answering your point. I was still confusing transgender actors with transgender representation.

Anywho, I think there are ways a transgender character can be revealed as transgender without explicitly saying it. Since they are a character, they are probably on a TV show, movie, or a book of some kind. The author or writer can use flashbacks to show that the character was born a different gender than they identify with.

Possible ways to do it without explicitly saying "I am transgender"

1. Dialogue
Person 1: "Hey Mary! Long time no see! How are you?"
Person 2: I go by Jacob now.

2. Man and a woman go on a date (inspired by a Google Doodle)

They are at the movie theater and the woman takes out her purse to buy tickets. Her ID falls out. The man picks it up and the ID picture is a man who kind of looks like his girlfriend. He confronts her a bout it and she says that isn't her anymore.

3. A character goes to the doctor to get hormonal therapy

4. A male character gives birth

5. A character tell the doctor they are going to do the full switch

Obviously the movie, book, etc. could do it better than me but these are just some ways.

However, what I've realized is that saying one is transgender isn't bad. So you're wrong in that there are only 3 ways tor reveal you are transgender but you're right in that saying "I am transgender" is one way to do it.
Debate Round No. 3
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