Monday, August 10, 2015

Dance Like a Man

I've been catching up on my summer TV shows lately, and I wish I had stayed more up to date with So You Think You Can Dance.

When I was watching their "Vegas" week, I noticed one of the male dancers, named Moises Parra, that danced with great skill but had a definite feminine aura about him.

In these "weed-out" rounds, they had 4 - 6 dancers in a group all doing the same routine, and then critique, praise, or boot them.  As I watched the group that Moises was in, he was kicking their asses.  When the group finished, I was then surprised to hear Paula Abdul (who had actually been a joy to see...up until then) tell Moises that he had to "dance like a man."

W.  T.  F?

It was really hard to believe such harsh criticism and heteronormative bullshit was coming from one within the dance community, a place where the LGBT community is very prominent.  They criticized him so much that they made him "dance for his life" even though he had already proven that he was the best in his group.  Luckily, he again kicked ass during his performance and the judges had no way of booting him.

The Top 20 (Top 10 Stage and Top 10 Street) were announced at the end of "Vegas" week, and Moises was there with the best.  I was glad that he made the top 10 stage dancers and was hoping that he would progress relatively far, although there were a number of other strong dancers, too.

Moises is not built that big, which is something they often treasure with the men on SYTYCD since they pair them with women for some of the dance lifts, so I knew that was going to be one thing that could hurt him.  His dancing has been fantastic, though, and I have been surprised that he has ended up in the bottom three each week.  His performance in Top 20 and Top 18 should easily have earned him a pass for both weeks, but only the Twitter vote saved him in Top 20 before going into the Top 18.

On the Top 18 show that I watched tonight, they said good-bye to Moises after neither the Twitter vote, nor the judges failed to save him.  It was too bad.  He's such a graceful and elegant dancer, and I love that he dances with all of his soul.  He's a better dancer than most of the street dancers, and had this been the regular format, I think he could have gone quite a ways.

Congrats on such a strong performance, Moises, and I hope we see more of you in the coming years!

Monday, June 01, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner

I watched the Diane Sawyer interview of Bruce Jenner a while back and thought it was well done.  A lot of people were surprised that one of the most masculine men of the past few decades announced that he's really a she.  I wasn't.  Some LGBT people still in the closet go ultra far in the other direction to compensate for what they are dealing with.  When I was growing up, I found sports to be my man-shield.   During the interview, though, I think what surprised me the most was that Jenner is a Republican, but after looking at Jenner's past, I suppose I shouldn't have been as surprised.  It will be interesting to see if Jenner transitions more to the middle of the road or Liberal side once she's seen the Republican party through the eyes of a trans person.

Let me first say that I've never watched more than 15 seconds of Keeping up with the Kardashians, so outside of the Olympic stuff, I had no idea of who Jenner really was until watching the special.  Sure, I've seen the hints over the past few years and if someone would have asked me years ago when the transition rumors started surfacing, I would have put down money that Jenner was indeed trans just based on the subtle changes and the knowledge of all the other transitions I have seen.

It appears that Vanity Fair pictures of Caitlyn Jenner are appearing on the internet today.  It looks like she had a little FFS...mainly on the jaw, and the professional photography and lighting are a plus.  She looks good.  I'm happy for her.

A few months ago, I was going to write an entry after watching the Diane Sawyer interview, but I had DVR'd it and it took me a few days to find some spare time to watch it.  I thought about JLo'ing her name into BJen (Be Jen) and suggesting that Jennifer Jenner has kind of a superheroine alter-ego ring to it, but I never got around to it.  I didn't expect a "Caitlyn," though.

A number of years back, I wrote a small screenplay for a friend.  He wanted it to be about 2 trans people who fell in love.  I named them Kate and Aiden.  Why?  Because I ran into a lot of transpeople named that.  While the name Kate has a classy appeal to it, the name didn't have a resurgence until the mid-1960's. Aiden is a relatively new name...and if you were over the age of 20 (when I wrote the screenplay), then I basically knew that you were trans.  How?  Because Aiden wasn't a name when you were born!  That's how!

The name "Caitlyn" wasn't even a name when Jenner was born. 

I did a little homework when picking out Kara, but then again, I had it picked out in the early 80's when it peaked.  OK, while the "name versus time" thing is a pet peeve of mine, it's sorta one of those things I just kinda laugh off and shrug my shoulders at.  I guess it's actually better than the secret trans handshake, though, because with the name thing I usually know in advance.  For instance, I got a Facebook friend request from someone named Kaden who shared a number of my high school friends. Ding, ding, ding...the trans radar went off simply based on the name, and sure enough, one of my female high school classmates was transitioning into a man.

In all honesty, though, I want people to be happy.  I just want people to realize the consequences of choosing a name that isn't common or even existent when they were born.

So, back to Caitlyn.  Some people are judging her transition timeline.  I'm sure some people think she's taking things too fast.  Everyone is different, and with a good support network, one can go as fast as they feel.  And you know what, she's not unaccustomed to going fast.  She did kick everyone's ass in the decathlon back in the 70's.  That reminds question that wasn't talked about in the Diane Sawyer interview was how Jenner reacted to Renee Richards' transition back around that same time.  I wonder if Jenner went more in the closet or if that opened her eyes to her situation.  Who knows. 

While transition isn't a race, I can say that I beat Caitlyn in at least one thing.  Her best time in the 1500 meters:  4:12.6.  My best time in the 1500 meters:  4:05.98.  She'd kick my ass in the other 9 events, though.