As my tweet read, I got out of #hangover2. “Man with boobs.” “Chick with a dick.” “Ladyboy.” Now processing my feelings about this. Spoiler wary members of my readership should view now as a good opportunity to leave this open in another tab and go do something else, like reading a daily bacon blog recipe foundry or typing “baby sloth” into Google Image Search.
Now if there are any survivors from that barrage of internet distractions, here are your ers freshly spoiled: Stu (Ed Helms), in retracing last night’s debauchery debonanza, descovers that not only did he cheat on his fiancée with a Thai stripper-hooker, but that this strooker is a transsexual who happily bottomed and buttockally impregnated Stu butt good. Cue “The Crying Game” as Stu whimpers out “I had sex with a man…with boobs.” The despair is perhaps driven home strongest in that IRL transsexual porn star Yasmin Lee is seen in all her beautiful nakedness, boobs and penis present and accounted for.
I really enjoyed The Hangover and have no ax to grind against the series, as unrestrained transgender rage will never be the focus of my little corner of the ‘net. I built this as a haven for humor and insight, not some soapbox from which to gnash my teeth at every perceived insult and sleight, unkempt vitriol being a great loser of attention and begetter of tensions. Hell, The Hangover has a great personal connection with me and my transsexuality: the first night I came out to someone was two years ago this month. My friend and I Friday’d at TGIF’s, circumscribed a lake buried in talk and skeeters, and crowned it off with what was the new flick in theaters. It was a laugh a minute crowd pleaser of funsanity and the perfect night cap to a conversation I longed 22 years to have. Relief that film brought me, and loyalty I gave it.
I don’t think The Hangover: Part II meant offense when it used slurs and slang that the transwoman community has been subjected to since the advent of porn. I felt no creeping agenda as I stood at the back of the theater (being a film journalist I see a great many movies and have learned that excessive sitting is no bueno), listening to this weaker second entry’s re-hashing and -cycling of everything original from Part I. And I heard jokes about Thigh-land and the Asiatics, about their small breasted women and mini-penised men. And I heard white guys try to say “nigger” ironically (try in the sense that are no black characters in this movie save Tyson’s brief cameo). The thing is we’re not laughing at being Black or Asian, we’re laughing about our uncomfortable history with racism and trying to salvage humor amidst the wreckage of our mistakes. Transsexuals, however, are laid naked before the camera to net the same knee jerk disgust we got from Ken Jeong’s tiny genitals or Jason Segel’s surprise man tackle in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. We’re laughing because transgendered people are sexual deviants with weird bodies.
Standing there in the back of the theater I know the audience isn’t thinking “Boy howdy I can’t wait to lynch me a tranny like that redheaded one in the back with the sensible purple cammy.” But I am feeling laughed at. Much like after SNL’s skit Estro Maxx, I felt like a freak. A group of people whose work I had admired for years was taking cheap shots at a minority, and for what? To say that sex with me would be gross? That I’m basically a dude with tits? I believe there’s a way to laugh about being trans, and for me its been a mostly humorous experience more wonder and whimsy than woe and woer, but millions upon millions will see this movie and the only thing they’ll know is what every other representation of transppl tell them: we’re an amalgamation of fetish and sickness.
Now what I’ll remember from this movie is the feeling that suddenly the whole world had become my old middle school. Pranks, threats and isolation in redux, though at least this time I’ll have pretty dresses, push-up bras and leaning toward the mirror to see if my cleavage is any deeper to salve my soul.
Think I’m cheese danish-wearing outside my mind schizo? Take in a counterpoint over at Queerty to properly sharpen your double-edged sword. Even actress Yasmin Lee gets in on the discussion in the comments section.