Acceptance Xtravaganza

In the film Paris is Burning we are introduced to Venus Xtravaganza, a transsexual individual who had worked as a prostitute in her past. She talks about her struggles within her line of work, because she presented as a woman, but when she was doing work with her Johns, sometimes they would freak out at the fact that she had a penis and would sometimes even try to inflict harm upon her. In 1988, her life was taken from her, and the murder remains unsolved to this day. At the time of filming, Venus was the mother of one of the most well known houses in the New York Ball scene, but before that, she had struggled with acceptance from others, especially outside her community. On a brighter note, since the release of the movie, society has become much more accepting of transgender individuals. For example, Laverne Cox has become a remarkable trans person of color. The success of Laverne’s career indicates a shift in the mindset of the public. Comparing these two individuals’ careers is a good way of observing how society has changed. However, while Laverne has had a very successful career, not all trans individuals today are going to have the same opportunities that Cox has had, because they often face persecution for their identity, but that their ability to succeed is less inhibited than it was during or shortly after the AIDS epidemic.

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