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Glenn Close’s “Albert” Brings Transgender Identity To The Red Carpet

Glenn Close’s “Albert” Brings Transgender Identity To The Red Carpet
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This weekend’s Academy Awards are buzzing about Glenn Close’s new film “Albert Nobbs.”

Ms. Close and supporting actress Janet McTeer have both been nominated for their portrayal of women-passing-as-men in 19th century Ireland. Close plays Albert, a secretive and shy “man” who has worked for 17 years as the head butler of a posh Dublin hotel, all the while concealing the fact that he was once a she. McTeer plays Hubert, an outgoing, vivacious “man” living just as he chooses, though technically female as well. Meeting Hubert propels Albert into pursuing a long held dream of owning a successful tobacco shop, despite laws against women’s ownership.

Watching the trailer left me thinking about the lives of transgender folks today. I would like to be able to say that over the past 100 years we have become a more accepting and inclusive global community. When, in fact, if Albert were alive today, his life might have been much worse.

Last July, at noon on a Tuesday, two transgender women were walking down a main street in Antalya, Southern Turkey when they were descended upon by a group of 15 men wielding iron rods. They were badly beaten, tied up and paraded in front of a large crowd that had gathered, none of whom intervened nor called the police.

This was an attempted lynching, fueled by transphobic hate, and just one of hundreds of similar stories to reach the media last year. Transgender Europe reports that in 2011, 221 people were brutally murdered, on every continent except Antarctica, for doing nothing more than being transgender. In the US today, it is still legal in 34 states to fire someone if they are discovered to be transgender.

Glenn Close spent more than a decade struggling to get the support she needed to bring “Albert” to the silver screen. She told The New York Times that the psychological effect of finally completing the film was a sense of joyous closure. Stating, “there came a point where I asked, ‘Am I willing to live the rest of my life having given up on this?’ And I said, ‘No I won’t.’ ”

Ms. Close understands that this film’s importance stretches way beyond winning awards for convincingly playing a man. She recently stated about reactions to the film, “some people will change their point of view, and those who are either too old, or too blinkered, to accept the beauty of difference will just have to ‘die off’.”

So in honor of Ms. Close’s determination and courage to bring us Albert, this month’s Faces of Change blog features a Transgender rights organization in Turkey called Pink Life.

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68 comments

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1:23PM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

Whilst I applaud the inclusion and acceptance of anybody and everyone - I think a little reading comprehension is in order here. People seem to be under the impression that this is a movie about transgender people and issues. It is not. It is a film about sexism - faced by women. A movie in which women are forced to pretend to be men in order to exist and prosper in a mans world.

"Meeting Hubert propels Albert into pursuing a long held dream of owning a successful tobacco shop, despite laws against women’s ownership."

The author of this piece has made a fairly successful attempt at using this movie to discuss some important issues regarding inclusion and human rights - however it is misleading to call this a movie about transgender people. The inability of people to comprehend what they are reading has always been a sore spot with me - sorry for the interruption/reality check - carry on carrying on people. :)

12:58PM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

I'm not sure why the gender-neutral pronouns are needed... although they do sound intriguing. A transgender person feels like a man or a woman, so shouldn't we address them accordingly?

3:08AM PST on Feb 29, 2012

Thanks Glen.

11:59AM PST on Feb 28, 2012

this is another reason why i love ms close. trans rights are very important and sadly many transgender people are even discriminated agianst in the gay community. they are people too and i cant even begin to imagine what it would feel like to have my body and mind not match and the kind of pain that causes

7:09PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

I really want to see this film thank you Glen Close

1:13PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

Bravo, Glenn!

9:43AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

Thanks to Glenn Close for making the world aware of transgenders---everyone has a right to be---in this world!

1:54AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

You go Glenn! :)

12:54AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

Thanks for the article.

2:57PM PST on Feb 25, 2012

Go Glenn

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