Brokeback Mountain was an incredible movie directed by the talented Ang Lee and based on a short story written by Annie Proulx. It was truly one of the first major Hollywood movies to normalize the gay culture. It was a trailblazer in that it showed that the mainstream was ready for the advancement of gay rights and equality. It became a tool and an actual teaching aid for acceptance. Eric Schaeffer’s Boy Meets Girl is a film that has the potential to be the exact same thing for the transgender community.
I remember when Brokeback Mountain was in the theatre. My gay friends recognized it’s significance immediately and realized it was a movie they needed people to watch. One of my friends even went to the extreme of paying for some of his coworkers to go see the movie. The film opened people’s minds to a simple concept that gay was fairly normal. It was able to do this because the story pulled you in and made you care. Imagine how that felt to a homophobe to realize that they cared about these characters. In many cases the person left changed and gay equality and acceptance scored a huge victory.
Boy Meets Girl is not Brokeback Mountain and does not have some of the numerous advantages the Hollywood movie had. To begin with, the movie is an independent film and it lacked the budget as well as a lot of major star power besides Michael Welch. The actual star of the movie, Michelle Hendley, was an unknown girl the director found on YouTube. Brokeback Mountain had a sizable budget and no shortage of star power. Brokeback Mountain was able to draw people in based solely on the popularity of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. Despite lacking the star power, Eric Schaeffer was very smart casting Michelle Hendley as the main character, Ricki, because Michelle is transgender and that little fact brought legitimacy to the role.
What Brokeback Mountain did for gay people in normalizing gay relationships, Boy Meets Girl brings a similar sense of normal to the transgender community. It portrays the character of Ricki as being very normal which allows and encourages the audience to get drawn into her story and genuinely care about her. By the end of the movie, you are cheering for her and if you are not transgender you all of a sudden will most likely begin to realize that transgender people are not that different from the non-transgender people. It hits with the same sort of realization that Brokeback Mountain evoked in the mainstream towards gay people.
Lacking the Hollywood Hype of Brokeback Mountain, Boy Meets Girl needs as much promotion as it can get. The film is important enough in the growing wave of transgender acceptance and equality that I urge you to check it out if you have yet to do so. The film is on Netflix and also available on DVD. Visit the official Boy Meets Girl site for more details on the movie and how to find it. This is a movie we need people to watch, especially anyone who is not transgender. It is a movie Middle America desperately needs to watch and fall in love with. It is truly a great start to transgender acceptance and normalization which is now continuing in Hollywood and in the mindset of the mainstream.