With the approach of Christmas whipping the masses into the throes of last-minute shopping frenzies and seasonal parties, here are two queer film screenings to keep in mind if you want to take refuge from it all in a movie theatre.
The first offering isn't a festive one but it's an important one. Transgender issues are getting the spotlight at the monthly mental health film series Frames of Mind.
The New Zealand documentary Is She or Isn't He? follows a 25-year-old coffee shop worker named Graham over a period of five years. Graham, who grew up in a small town, tells his friends that he isn't a gay male but a heterosexual woman attracted to men. Filmmaker Justin Pemberton chronicles Graham's journey to becoming Ashleigh, which includes taking female hormones, getting laser hair-removal treatments, and wearing women's clothes and makeup.
She'd love to have big breasts and a vagina. Unfortunately, Ashleigh isn't able to afford gender-reassignment surgery but lives as a woman and dates straight men.
However, the film also reveals her inner conflicts and internalized transphobia, including her dislike of effeminate behaviour, her fear of being identified as "transgender" rather than as a "normal" woman, and her regard for other transgender women as "tragic".
A post-screening discussion will include Dr. Chris Booth, clinical director at the Maples Adolescent Centre and UBC psychiatry department clinical instructor, and Gwen Haworth, Vancouver Coastal Health workshop facilitator and director of the autobiographical documentary She's a Boy I Knew. The discussion will be moderated by UBC psychiatry department clinical professor Dr. Harry Karlinsky.
The film and discussion will be held on December 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Cinematheque (1131 Howe Street).
Later on this week, the Vancouver Pride Society is helping everyone reflect upon the meaning of the holiday spirit by presenting a queer take on Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol.
Scrooge and Marley puts a campy, modern-day spin on the holiday classic. In this gay-themed retelling, the Christmas-hating Scrooge (David Pevsner) is a piano-bar owner who is revisited by a former partner Marley (former Saturday Night Live star Tim Kazurinsky) and three Christmas ghosts (which includes a visit to Scrooge's homophobic father).
The film screens at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour Street) on December 22 at 10:30 p.m. with festivities continuing on at Celebrities (1022 Davie Street) afterward (tickets are available online).