Eddie Redmayne is a beautiful man. He also makes for a gorgeous woman. The actor is starring in The Danish Girl, a film based off the historical novel by David Ebershoff, exploring the marriage between Lili (Redmayne) and wife Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander). Gerda paints Lili (formerly Einar) in women’s clothing. At first it seems to be all fun and games, but Lili really feels at home in women’s attire because she, though born male, is actually female. Gerda realizes it is serious when she catches Lili kissing another man.
Lili was one of the first people to have gender reassignment surgery in the 1920s and the film is a look at what it was like being a transgender woman in a society even less advanced medically and socially than ours. The movie is directed by Tom Hooper, the man behind The King’s Speech and judging from the trailer, it’s shaping up to be a must-see.
Thanks to women like Janet Mock, Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox, people have been made more aware of the transgender experience, the triumphs and the many, many struggles. This year, there has been an epidemic in the community of transgender women, many of color, who have been murdered in the United States. At least 17, including Tamara Dominguez, Elisha Walker, Amber Monroe have been killed. ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio told Democracy Now there is a “state of emergency” in the community. With all these moving stories about trans men and women coming to light, it is important for us to realize that though we may be leaps and bounds away from the 1920s, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
Hopefully, films like this will help lead us in the direction of understanding.