Presentation Title

Tomboy, Girl, and Romeos: Transgender Representation in Contemporary European Queer Cinema

Department

English & Humanities

Brief Biography

Thomas Piontek did his undergraduate work in Germany and in England and received a master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has taught writing, literature, film and women’s studies since 2007 and is the author of Queering Gay and Lesbian Studies (University of Illinois Press) as well as numerous articles and book chapters.

Presentation Location

University Center East Ballroom

Presentation Start Date and Time

20-2-2019 1:00 PM

Presentation End Date and Time

20-2-2019 2:00 PM

Brief Abstract

In this presentation I examine cinematic transgender representations in Tomboy (France, 2011), Romeos (Germany, 2011), and Girl (Belgium, 2018). Whereas Tomboy tells the story of a gender-ambiguous child, Girl and Romeos focus on the (late) adolescent experience of transitioning from male to female and female to male respectively. The films I examine present complex and empathetic depictions of real-life transgender experiences, transitions and identities by portraying transgender characters who are not only dealing with personal issues surrounding their gender identity but also face external forces constricting freedom of identity and enforcing what Natacha Kennedy has called “cultural cisgenderism,” the “essentializing of gender as binary, biologically determined, fixed at birth [and] immutable.” To this end, all three films present a more complete view of transgender experience, including depictions of sexuality and medicalization and, in the case of Romeos, by showing the protagonist to be part of a transgender as well as a queer community.

Presentation Length

45-50 min.

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Feb 20th, 1:00 PM Feb 20th, 2:00 PM

Tomboy, Girl, and Romeos: Transgender Representation in Contemporary European Queer Cinema

University Center East Ballroom

In this presentation I examine cinematic transgender representations in Tomboy (France, 2011), Romeos (Germany, 2011), and Girl (Belgium, 2018). Whereas Tomboy tells the story of a gender-ambiguous child, Girl and Romeos focus on the (late) adolescent experience of transitioning from male to female and female to male respectively. The films I examine present complex and empathetic depictions of real-life transgender experiences, transitions and identities by portraying transgender characters who are not only dealing with personal issues surrounding their gender identity but also face external forces constricting freedom of identity and enforcing what Natacha Kennedy has called “cultural cisgenderism,” the “essentializing of gender as binary, biologically determined, fixed at birth [and] immutable.” To this end, all three films present a more complete view of transgender experience, including depictions of sexuality and medicalization and, in the case of Romeos, by showing the protagonist to be part of a transgender as well as a queer community.