Last Wednesday I attended Kingston’s Reelout Film Festival to see a movie titled Boy Meets Girl, written and directed by Eric Schaeffer. This film is about the story of two life-long best friends, Robby, and Ricky, a transgender When Ricky meets the young and beautiful Francesca, fiancée to a boy from Ricky’s past, the two have an immediate connection. The film follows the whirlwind of emotions exposed as Ricky and Francesca start to become something more. Robby is forced to face his feelings for Ricky as he starts to realize she may be in danger of losing faith in herself.

I chose to see this film because the society in which Robby and Ricky lived in was seemingly very similar to mine. There were all different spectrums of understanding and acceptance and the director perfectly captured the reactions from each. There is commonly a whole range of those who reject, those who accept, and those who cannot understand. I felt that as a cisgender female, I know very little about transgender culture and I think it is important to educate myself. It is not enough to be accepting, and I wanted to get a better understanding of this kind of situation. The definition of transgender is a person whose choice of gender identity and sexuality does not correspond to the norms or to that of their biological gender. In many societies, the difficulty that people have understanding or accepting this gender identification is a result of the social construction of gender norms that they are taught to agree with. They are accustomed to believing that there are certain ways for certain biological genders to behave and anything beyond these guidelines are to be considered unnatural. Although societies are evolving and becoming more accepting, there is a difference, as I said before, between being accepting and being educated.

The scene that most definitely caused the most responsive reaction is one that occurred very close to the end of the film. Robby finds Ricky swimming naked in the lake and finally professes how he feels and has always felt about her. At his confession, Ricky walks out of the water, and reveals her transgendered body. By the choice of the director, Ricky’s full frontal body is shown and this disclosure caused a symphony of gasps within the audience. I myself, was quite surprised at the director’s choice to do this, and I do not think anyone was expecting the nudity. However, I think it was really important not to have the audience rely on their assumptions or their imagination for this scene. At one point in the movie, Ricky mentions her dreams of medicalization, but comments at the reality of how expensive that dream really is. From this we know that Ricky desires to be fully transformed into the opposite sex as she was biologically born, but it does not stop her from having confidence in herself. Although this scene may come across as being rather explicit, it is important not only in shaping the character of Ricky within the film as a bold and fearless adolescent, but also for the audience to become privy to the simple difference between her sexual gender and the one she identifies with. They are able to see how Ricky’s given sex is completely and solely biological and physical, and have nothing to do with who she is emotionally and mentally.

This however, was not the scene that held the most importance to me. The scene that I felt was the most significant was that when which Francesca and Ricky start to engage in sexual intercourse. The girls have gotten closer and closer as the film progressed, and led up to the point where they were both ready and longing to explore their desires and feelings for one another. A very common belief and stereotype towards transgender people is the idea that they want to change or go against their biologically given gender because they are attracted to the similar sex and long to be with them in the way that society has deemed natural. To be quite honest, for a long time I believed that this was the case also. This scene within the film helps to educate people like myself to realizing that the position of being transgender does not necessarily mean that that person wishes to be with the same sex gender as they were biologically born. The sexual orientation of a person has nothing to do with whether they wish to be transgender or not, and this scene helps to prove the disparity.

Overall Boy Meets Girl had a beautiful message and a wonderful love story, and I very much enjoyed attending the Reelout Film Festival. It really opened my eyes to the realities of a transgender individual, how they are affected, as well as the people they love, and the people who love them. It is not only an educational film, but also positive and inspiring. I would recommend Boy Meets Girl to anyone. ~ MMG

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