Paris is Burning (Make up Blog)

I really loved this documentary and was happily surprised. I knew the movie was about trans women of color, but that was about all I know before watching the film. I was happily surprised with the fact that most of the film was informative and positive, I was afraid that it would be very sad. Instead this documentary focused on the language and outlets of expression for gay men of color and trans women of color. One thing that I thought the director did a great job of was showing how the subject’s identities intersected because its important to acknowledge that gender, race, and class all contribute to the experiences of the people featured in this film. You really see this intersectionality when the topic of sex changes are discussed. Due to the fact that the subjects of the film are poor people of color they approach sex change surgery a lot differently. Pepper Labejia talks about how she wouldn’t have the surgery because it would be more dangerous and in her community being a woman would put her at greater risk. Venus talked about how she wanted to become and be treated like a rich, white lady so for her it was imperative to have the sex change surgery in order to further transcend socioeconomic, racial, and gender boundaries. I thought this was really important because of how large their socioeconomic status affected this decision. We often think this decision is based on their identity and how they wish to express it. Even when we do look at this issue through a socioeconomic lens we just see the issue of access and cost. What we often fail to see is how socioeconomic status impacts the type of community you live in, your physical safety, what you see as success, and perspective on gender in relation to the decision to either get or refuse this surgery.

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