Whats Sex Got To Do With… Dallas Buyer’s Club?

I recently watched the movie Dallas Buyer’s Club starring Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. Specifically, what intrigued me the most and left me in awe was the character incredibly played by Jared Leto. He played a trans woman living with HIV named Rayon, who works with Ron Woodroof to help others living with the disease. Before watching the movie, I had a tough time understanding fully the correct terms of trans men and women, and what their culture is all about. Through the actions and role play of Leto’s character Rayon, I was able to get a better grasp and understanding. Although Rayon dresses like a woman, has a male lover, and contracted HIV from a combination of unsterilized syringes and unsafe prostitution, Woodroof (McConaughey’s character) refers to Rayon as a male. In the scene where he runs into a homophobic acquaintance at the supermarket, Woodroof forces him to shake “his” hand. As soon as Woodroof referred to Rayon as a man, I was somewhat confused, yet at the same time enlightened in the trans culture. I didn’t matter that Rayon cross dressed, had a boyfriend, or wore makeup. He still considered himself a male and referred to himself as such, but still lived his life as a trans woman. Alhtough his characteristics suggest that he should consider himself a female, Rayon still defies the gender binary that says those people who are assigned male at birth will continue to lead a life as such.

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