Monday, 3 October 2016

What Sex Am I? Sex Change Exploitation Cinema

Transgender Documentary Films

Here are two forgotten transgender themed movies from the vaults of yesteryear. The first is Ed Wood's Glen or Genda, followed by Doris Wishman's seedy Let Me Die A Woman.

Glen or Glenda Ed Wood

'Beware, beware, beware of the big green dragon that sits on your doorstep. He eats little boys, puppy-dog tails, and big fat snails. Beware, take care, beware'. A rather bizarre line from the bizarre, but very personal  Ed Wood film Glen or Glenda 1953,  starring Bela Lugosi.  Ed Wood himself was a crossdresser, which is why I say this was a very personal project for him.

I Changed My Sex Ed Wood

The synopsis from Wikipedia:  Glen or Glenda is a 1953 drama film written, directed by, and starring Ed Wood, and featuring Bela Lugosi and Wood's then-girlfriend Dolores Fuller. The title was originally I Changed My Sex! and is often given as Glen or Glenda? but the question mark is not present in the film itself.

The film is a docudrama about cross-dressing and transsexuality, and is semi-autobiographical in nature. Wood himself was a cross-dresser, and the film is a plea for tolerance. It is widely considered one of the worst films ever. However, it has become a cult film due to its low-budget production values and idiosyncratic style.

Here is the trailer. 

For those who are interested in the life of Ed Wood as a person and a film maker there is a list of resources as long as your arm on the net. Perhaps a good place to start is by watching the Johnny Depp film Ed Wood. Here is the trailer:

Recent news for the Ed Wood fans out there reports some presumed lost films Ed Woods films have recently been discovered. They have been released on DVD too under the title 'Ed Wood's Dirty Movies' (say no more, I'm sure you can understand what they will contain).  Check this out

Glen or Glenda is easily available to stream online from Amazon (which has the colourised version) or purchase on DVD.

Lets have Ed Wood making the closing remark, 'This story's gonna grab people! It's about this guy, he's crazy about this girl, but he likes to wear dresses. Should he tell her? Should he not tell her?! He's torn, Georgie! This is drama!' Edward D Wood Jr. 

Next we have Doris Wishman's 1970s Sexchange Shocker, Let Me Die a Woman.

The synopsis from Wikipedia reads : Let Me Die a Woman is a 1978 semidocumentary film concerning the lives of transgender people directed and produced by exploitation film auteur Doris Wishman.

The film features interviews with gender dysphoria pundit and caregiver Dr. Leo Wollman as well as various transgender people, including transgender rights activist Deborah Hartin. Between the interviews, there are staged dramatizations of the interviewees' experiences.

Let Me Die A Woman Sexchange Video

Let Me Die A WomanPersonally I thought this was the most unforgivable and shameful film ever made on the transgender subject. I have always been a fan of horror and exploitation movies, but this one takes the biscuit. There is even a sequence where we see someone cut off their penis with a chisel and a hammer, with a drum roll soundtrack.
The tone of the film is very seedy. From the castration sequence I just mentioned to grainy porny sequences of love making. The 'Doctor' also recommends very strange sex toy devices to assist the post op transsexual, as shown in the above still from the film.

Remember this was made before the phrase 'politically correct' was even thought of.

Let Me Die A Woman PosterLet Me Die A Woman Sexchange Video

Here is the trailer:

The film is easily available on DVD to purchase from Something Weird Video.

Are you affected by crossdressing? Do you have cross gender feelings that you find difficult to talk about? Why not try Cross Dream Life at

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