Over the past several months there has been a great deal of focus on the Transgender community. While most people are being exposed to the process of transitioning thanks to the Olympian medalist who is now Caitlyn Jenner, we are slowly gaining an understanding amongst Cis people of transgender struggles and how Gender Dysphoria can affect people. I say how it “can” affect people because we also need to understand that there are diverse stages of Gender Dysphoria, and sometimes people don’t even experience it at all. These people can still identify as transgender. Now that the wheels are turning and we have people’s attention lives are going to be saved and accumulative resources are becoming available. I’d say most people have heard of Caitlyn Jenner by now, but there is a less mainstream hype going on that has been working it’s way to the top. The indie film Boy Meets Girl, written and directed by Eric Schaeffer, starring Michael Welch, and up, and coming actress Michelle Hendley is getting a lot of attention right now, especially when it made it’s way to Netflix. The movie has been trending on there since becoming available.
The film focuses primarily on the relationship between Hendley’s character Ricky and Welch’s character Robby. Being best friends since childhood they seem to have an almost brother, sister connection of sorts. It’s not until Ricky takes an interest in dating women that their friendship starts to bloom into something more. Schaeffer also did a wonderful job telling a story about a zealous trans girl who was born and raised in a small town, works a regular job, and hopes to find love while trying to pursue her dreams. Ricky is trying her best to live a normal life while also trying to repress the darkness of her past. This is something I can relate to very well considering I also grew up in a small town knowing almost no other transgender people.
There have been several movies with transgender characters, some even being the focus of the film, but very few have the authenticity of Boy Meets Girl due to the fact that Michelle happens to be a real transgender woman playing the role of one. Casting trans people in transgender roles gives the characters a more precise personality and this certainly helps paint the image of whom Ricky is and what she has been going through. This was a very wise choice on Schaeffer’s part, and even better was his decision to find someone who has the raw talent to portray the “girl next door” image Ricky has in the movie. This happened to be Hendley’s first acting role, which is quite surprising considering her genuine demeanor when she appears on camera. The many years of vlogging on Youtube probably had something to do with that!
Even though most have found this movie to be a breath of fresh air, there has been a big discussion about the reality of Ricky’s storyline. This movie touches only lightly on the common transgender woman in terms of discrimination and the process of transitioning and there is a large debate over the fact that some people want to use the film for educational purposes even though some would argue that it doesn’t provide enough realism to use for such desires. In my opinion, we simply need to remember that this is a movie and there’s far more realism in current events feeding everyone those missing pieces. I think this a lovely film that can get people to relate to everyday trans lives. I personally got so much out of this movie and have even used it for such purposes amongst some of the people in my life and I know that’s the case for many others. Ricky is such a relatable character, which offers families and friends of trans people and even some who are struggling with their own gender identities a better understanding of the daily lives of a transgender woman. Most movies focus too much on the negativity and hinder the fact that some trans people live almost “normal” lives. Boy Meets Girl offers hope to those desperate for some sort life outside the discrimination that so many are faced with daily whether it be to them personally or plastered all over the limited news stations usually consisting of online news sources and even blog sites such as Tumblr where a lot of LBGTQ people come together. Since very few national news stations care to cover trans related stories these are the main ways we gather our information.
We are starting to see more and more acceptance out there thanks to our visibility, and I fully believe this movie will help bring some of that acceptance to the foreground. I highly suggest this movie to almost anyone who wants some understating, solidarity, and even just some heart-warming moments that a romantic comedy has to offer.