Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Whether she knew it or not, my daughter gave me some "transgender" Christmas gifts.

She gave me some hoodies and sweaters that are androgynous, if not downright girlie. Also, she gave me a DVD of a film I had on my want list: Song of the South.

I saw that film at age 5 when Disney re-released it in 1956. I never saw it again until last night, but the following scenes of Song of the South left a lasting impression on me for all my life.

Near the middle of the film, the lead character, Johnny, a boy about 8 years in age, must wear an outfit made by his grandmother, who will be visiting later that day. The outfit includes a black (velvet?) jacket with a wide white lace collar, black knickers, white stockings, and black shoes that resemble Mary-Janes, but without the strap.

After reluctantly dressing in the outfit, Johnny goes outdoors to play and encounters the local bullies, brothers named Joe and Jake.

Jake confronts Johnny, "Where'd ya git them funny-lookin' clothes?"

Joe chimes in, "Yeah."

Jake comments, "Lookit that lace collar. Look, Joe."

Joe adds, "What's your name… …li'l girl?"

Jake piles on, "Lookit the little girlie..."

Jake and Joe in unison, "…wearing a lace collar!"

Johnny runs off to escape the wrath of Joe and Jake.

That is the gist of what I remembered from that film for 55 years.

There is something trans-related in that memory, or rather "my memory," but I am not sure what it is.

Maybe it is just one of those little memories in life that only transgenders remember. Or maybe there is more to it.

Go figure.


  1. I suspect you knew at that age just as I did, Stana.

    Even at a tender age, I began to pick up on what I saw as gender anomalies on-film and on television. Remember the TV series "The Ugliest Girl in Town"? I loved Batman because Robin got to wear tights and it was Okay. Or when Bugs Bunny went all fey and crossdressed.

    I guess I always felt these characters somehow could really See inside Me and knew something no one else did or could -- and it was Okay. It helped to think there was a world where _I_ was okay, even if I could not enter it.

    _I_ wasn't gender-confused, but the rest of the world sure was. That's why I couldn't dress normally (that is, as a girl; I only happened to "look like" a boy to others, but was not really a boy...right? I knew that in my heart, at least). I think that's why we post pictures dressed and enjoy those of others. It gives us the validation we seek by comparison. It creates and builds a sense of community and belonging that may not exist beyond our bedrooms or homes when family are away. We create a place of commonality where we can be ourselves without that being regarded as a crime. I think we also take that perspective with us (perhaps always did) when we view portrayals in movies and on film that tilt even slightly toward commonality with our own condition. We're looking at them through the lenses of our own, hidden experiences and seeing things that have greater importance to us. It is partly visual, but largely perceptual, and one of weighting, I think.

    Thanks for the post, Stana.


  2. I have little doubt I was gender confused and I always noted the Trans-situations in films! Guess one knows certainly what one feels regardless of their age.

    Again, sorry I'm late on the posting.

  3. A great post on many levels and a very insightful comment from Lana.
    Every person sees the world from their unique perspective. Those of us in some sort of a fuzzy place on the 'gender spectrum' see things through our eyes and our inclinations.

  4. Somehow we all have similar stories. Well written. We have a unusual path in life that has many hazards and reaching a mature age is a feet in itself. I wondered why some kids wore tights and was ok, I was to embarrased to ask for fear I may be found out, talk about paranoia!
    Thanks for a great article!

  5. Oh that is lovely! This question has nothing to do with the main point of your site but where did she manage to get a Song of the South DVD? The only video release I've been aware of is a Japanese one from way back...

  6. Marlene --- MediaOutlet.com has it on DVD for $7.49.