Censorship at Frameline Film Festival

For those of you outside “the Bay” when this happened (or who don’t live in the area anyway), there was a film approved by the Frameline screening committee called “The Gendercator,” made by a Catherine Crouch, which got pulled after someone began circulating an on-line petition against it.

A summary of Crouch’s film here: www.catherinecrouch.com/mainwebsite_html/filmsDetail.php?pageID=gendercator

It’s pretty clearly transphobic – lumping all transgender people together with gender policing straight people and the State (DUN DUN DUN!). And it ignores the lived circumstances of transgender lives: how not passing can be hazardous to our health, how transgender people who don’t pass or choose not to pass are shunned in many L and G spaces, how the government does not, in fact, encourage or support people who want sex-change surgery and hormones unless one is living in a place like San Francisco.

Still, i am against censorship except under extreme circumstances. Pulling an already approved film sets a bad precedent. Frameline could well censor a film with a story about

Israel’s attack on the people of Lebanon, for example (i would not be surprised since they annually get funding from the Israeli consulate). It could also very well censor documentaries by anti-marriage queer activists. You know, “THOSE extremists.”

And could someone explain to me how this film is actually dangerous to trans people? As if telling some transphobic lesbians things that they already believe will actually rile them up enough to go postal on transgender people. There’s a big difference between having the ability to exclude trans people from a music festival and having any actual control of the media, the police, or the military.

I believe that a facilitated dialogue should have been organized. Not because i believe that Crouch has an open mind, but because there would be that opportunity for audience members to talk with each other. This assumes good facilitation skills by the moderator.

I am disappointed in Frameline for taking the easy way out. This is what i call “politically correct bullshit.” I will acknowledge that creating a space and energy for constructive dialogue can be difficult: time-wise, emotionally, etc. But that’s how we know it’s worth doing, in part. It’s also worth doing because people who are multiply marginalized need more spaces to work out our differences – ain’t none of us getting very far on our own. And at the rate that things are going, pretty soon we may find ourselves having to stick together out of pure necessity.

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