Vanity Fair is cornering the market on transgender debuts this summer. First, it broke the Internet anew with Buzz Bissinger’s in-depth profile of Caitlyn Jenner, accompanied, of course, by the first pictures of her, post-transition. Now, the magazine’s digital arm has premiered the trailer for the forthcoming film, About Ray, in which Elle Fanning plays a trans teen.
Following in the gender-fluid footsteps of Felicity Huffman in Transamerica and Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent, Fanning plays a young girl named Ramona who assumes her true identity as a boy named Ray. “Why can’t she just be a lesbian?” the character’s grandmother, Susan Sarandon asks in one scene, representing a portion of traditional progressives’ response to the trans civil rights movement. “Because she’s not a lesbian, she’s a boy,” her daughter, played by Naomi Watts, fires back.
Although there is a part in the trailer where the words “in transition” flash across the screen and the letters “trans” are highlighted, the film appears to be a more compassionate than cutesy take on an important, albeit controversial part of the current national dialogue.
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