Despite the growing popularity of queer characters in Hollywood films, there are still plenty of people who feel out of place on the big screen. The glass ceiling between the A-list and the rest of the film industry is a constant reminder of this fact. This article explores the role that transgender actors play in Hollywood, from Brokeback Mountain to the pioneering cinematic same-gender attraction The Dickson Experimental Sound Film.
Transgender actors on the big screen are nonexistent
A recent study by the GLAAD LGBT media advocacy group found that transgender characters were virtually nonexistent on the big screen in 2020. While LGBTQ characters were well-represented in major studio releases last year (21 movies, including The Hunger Games), they are almost nonexistent in international film. A report by GLAAD found that 57 percent of trans characters were cast in supporting roles. This bleak picture is particularly troubling given that trans characters have the highest incidence of being excluded from films.
The A-list is a glass ceiling for queer representation in international films
Despite recent advances in LGBTQ rights, there still is no such thing as an “A-list.” The lack of LGBTQ characters on the big screen is not a new problem. Several movies, including the Oscar-winning “Black Panther,” have been unsuccessful in international territories because Hollywood executives fear that casting LGBTQ actors will negatively impact the movie’s financial success. That’s why, even though more LGBTQ actors and actresses are coming out, Hollywood executives haven’t seen fit to cast them in major films. The A-list is a glass ceiling, but it can be broken!
Brokeback Mountain is a queer film
The controversial polarizing film “Brokeback Mountain” was a game-changing film that revolutionized the way Hollywood films deal with queer people. It’s powerful, bold, and game-changing. But it’s not the only queer film to make waves. The film was also criticized by conservative media outlets and censored in some areas. The film’s controversial nature has resulted in its inclusion in the U.S. National Film Registry and the Library of Congress.
The Dickson Experimental Sound Film is a pioneer in cinematic same-gender attraction
The early years of the LGBTQ+ subgenre in cinema are difficult to recall, but one early example is the 1895 film The Dickson Experimental Sound Film. This early queer film was made of wax cylinder music and photosensitive film. In spite of the fact that music and image were not based on the same material base, the filmmakers were able to create a film that still holds the attention of audiences today. In this film, the protagonist Salome is fascinated by the head of the prophet Jochanaan. The film’s synchronicity is a gesture to a total synaesthetic confluence.
The Dickson Experimental Sound Film
The Dickson Experimental Sound Film is an important piece of LGBTQ film history. It was the first film to feature queer characters and was shot in the same year as Oscar Wilde’s gross indecency trial. The film features two men dancing together and is known as the first cinematic same-gender attraction. The movie was an experimental piece and only featured a few minutes of film, but it was groundbreaking for the time. It was a subversion of the gender binary.
The film Pandora’s Box opens the door for LGBTQ representation in international cinema by reimagining the traditional definition of queer as a slur for women. The film’s title refers to Greek mythology, where a woman named Pandora opened a box given to her by the gods and released all the evils of the world into it, leaving only hope and redemption. While the prosecutor makes this connection explicitly, the film’s characterization of queer characters has a much broader significance.
The Kids Are All Right
The Kids Are All Right is an Oscar-nominated film that focuses on a lesbian couple and their relationship. The film was directed by Lisa Cholodenko and stars Julianne Moore and Annette Bening. Brokeback portrayed physical and emotional desire, but the film was also set in a time when queerness could lead to death. The Kids Are All Right takes this storyline and puts it in historical context. In some countries, it doesn’t warrant a second glance.