(re)ASSIGNMENT, GLAAD, Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, transphobia, film, movie, Tomyboy A Revenger’s Tale

Sigourney Weaver’s Newest Film Makes Horror Out Of Trans Surgery

(re)ASSIGNMENT, GLAAD, Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, transphobia, film, movie, Tomyboy A Revenger’s TaleThe Toronto International Film Festival recently announced that it will show Walter Hill’s (re)ASSIGNMENT, a feature-length action-thriller about a hitman who becomes a vengeful hitwoman after an evil doctor gives her a non-consensual gender reassignment surgery. The film (which was originally entitled, Tomboy: A Revenger’s Tale) stars bisexual actress Michelle Rodriguez as the hitwoman (aka “Tomboy”) and Sigourney Weaver as the doctor and possibly continues an unfortunately long history of transphobic film tropes.

Nick Adams, director of programs for transgender media at GLAAD (the LGBT media watchdog), told The Hollywood Reporter:

“We haven’t read the script, but it’s disappointing to see film-makers turning what is a life-saving medical procedure for transgender people into a sensationalistic plot device. We are at a crucial moment in the public’s understanding of transgender issues, and stories like these have the potential to undermine the progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve.”

Indeed, with shows like Orange is the New Black, Transparent and I Am Jazz educating American audiences about trans lives, films like (re)ASSIGNMENT possibly reinforce negative pre-conceptions about gender reassignment surgeries. In this case, it literally becomes a punishment, a cruel means of body-horror meant to make cisgender audiences squirm. Presumably, the hitwoman gets revenge on the dastardly doctor, conveying the idea that she is a worthy target for her unthinkable crime.

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We’ve already gone through a decades-long dark age of film with cross-dressing and transgender villains in Psycho, Dressed to Kill and The Silence of the Lambs. (re)ASSIGNMENT borrows a trope from films like Color of Night and Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Am In by presenting forced gender transition as a terrifying threat to cisgender identity.

As the film gains more notoriety, its creators will probably reaffirm their respect for the trans community and state that the film’s true horror comes not from the surgery but the body dysmorphia; after all, some trans people would agree that being stuck in the body of a gender no matching your identify is pretty horrific. But as far as we can tell, none of the above films had transgender creators — certainly no writers or directors — and without them, the films are cisgender nightmares that completely exclude those most affected by their subject.

  • JGavin Bergstrom

    While some may be offended and claim a lack of representation in this film. I remain intrigued by the underlying issue many remain unaware of. That is to say, we are alone with our Physicians and the procedures they carry out for us; With or without consent. I haven’t seen this Film and wonder? Sigourney Weaver has been a friend to our community (I am a Gay Man) and has shown an affinity for representing children and adults who are marginalized. Not all Transgender or Cisgender people are fortunate enough to interact with Physicians specifically trained or willing to follow the transition through to completion. I imagine (only a guess) for those (who are many) more than likely they view their experience as a NIGHTMARE that never ends. I’m not sure a Hitman/Hitwoman would bring Justice to the situation; But, it may allow some to Liberate their frustration within the context of the pain.

    Not long ago a Trans Teen stepped out in front of a Tractor-Trailer while attempting to face the bullies who were bent by her self perception. A short while prior an 11 yo hung himself from his bed secondary to his Love of a Purple Pony. Maybe some will not like my thoughts? Please go view Elektra from Marvel and know sometimes fantasy, imagination and venting can be an escape without consequence. We are all Human after all.

    I look forward to viewing this movie.

    Nothing Human is Alien to me

  • Trannysaurus

    Interesting thought, but I dont think the irritation comes directly from the content, but from what the writer says right here:

    ” But as far as we can tell, none of the above films had transgender creators — certainly no writers or directors — and without them, the films are cisgender nightmares that completely exclude those most affected by their subject.”

    Though Sigourney is somewhat of a personal hero to me. I fail to see how you can be representative of a marginalized group without actually including members of that group in production, or at the very least seeking their input. Its patronizing to be told you are represented, but only by people who have never lived your reality.

  • JGavin Bergstrom

    Irritation? Certainly I hear you and am more than aware that a lack of presence or what is perceived as presence can be frustrating. However, if we weren’t present in their thoughts the Movie wouldn’t have been made.
    Consider Sophocles and his lack of what are called furies in his version of Electra. While many may have raised their awareness to what isn’t present in a conversation; Others move beyond without a need for reflection.
    As acceptance and increased integration become more prominent many will offer assistance from their own unique experience. Hopefully that assistance will be tempered by positive interactions within our community; If not then put on the Persona/Mask and Shakespeare, pickup the Si or break a dish. Venting is Human even if nobody is listening.

    If I could have, I would have Bronzed myself, stood on my head or taken the beating for the Girl who happened to be Trans-gendered or the Boy who loved his Purple Pony. On more than one occasion I’ve worn those shoes and look forward to a day when we are protected by the Constitution. Without the 14th Amendment we remain vulnerable and passive assistance by people like Sigourney Weaver; In my opinion anyway, should be embraced.

    Thank you for your comment and if you have time; Take a look at “A Monster Calls”. When I was 4 years old I was Molested by a pair of Red headed twins that my Mom trusted to care for me while she was in classes.

    Sometimes the shadows cast by a tree outside my window distracted from the Nightmares and other times I acted out on my Teddy Bear. I have no desire to share pain with you; Rather, I would remind you that sometimes we are truly alone and our imagination, ability to manifest safe places along with the promise (real or imagined) of escape are all we have.

  • Trannysaurus

    Irritation, disappointment, I would prefer the movie not be made but thats personal preference. We the individuals are clearly not present in their thoughts at all. The the closest they came to thinking of transgender people was ti objectify, nay, demonize SRS as some sort of horror. They only thought about the money.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment as well. I find I am a little thicker skinned than most of the trans community. but please, PLEASE do not misconstrue Sigourney’s involvement in this tasteless film as “passive assistance”. There is nothing altruistic about this project. 100% self serving. It is a product pure and simple, and not a product that benefits humanity.

    Right you are, we always will have the promise of escape. the ability to end the pain is always of comfort.

  • JGavin Bergstrom

    Hey there,
    you might also try a Gina Davis flick called “Long Kiss Goodnight”? She does a great job in assassin Drag (not to mention the Kick Ass). Just a thought.

    Thanks.
    PS The Trannysaurus ID is interesting.

  • Trannysaurus

    I know its so cute. Im surprised it wasn’t taken!

    The long kiss goodnight is a great movie. but she not in drag at all, she plays a woman the entire movie. theres a fairly good series called “hit and miss” about a hit lady who is pre-op trans trying to pay for her surgery. its interesting, I believe its british.

  • JGavin Bergstrom

    Hey,
    A woman dressed in Assassin garb (no matter how fabulous) is drag to me. LOL. I knew several pre-op Trans women who did all kinds of things to afford their transition. Truly, what I watched and went through with them was horrific at times. It’s a difficult subject and without being offensive; I was happy to be at peace with my Penis.

    Thank you for the interaction here; I’m surprised there hasn’t been more discussion.

  • JGavin Bergstrom said “I imagine (only a guess) for those (who are many) more than likely they view their experience as a NIGHTMARE that never ends.”

    Daniel correctly wrote in his review “We’ve already gone through a decades-long dark age of film with cross-dressing and transgender villains in Psycho, Dressed to Kill and The Silence of the Lambs. (re)ASSIGNMENT borrows a trope from films like Color of Night and Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Am In by presenting forced gender transition as a terrifying threat to cisgender identity.”

    You guessed wrong JGavin Bergstrom. Gender dysphoria is induced from without, by society. The only thing that’s an unending NIGHTMARE is transphobia amplified by these sick tropes.
    Of course this isn’t a problem for you. You are cisgender. BTW have fun with your penis,

  • JGavin Bergstrom

    I’m happy you have an opinion and glad to have induced a response. It’s too bad it takes anger for many to talk about or express their feelings. The truth as I’ve mentioned is that many aren’t afforded the same opportunity as others during their personal evolution and it produces an outcome.

    After all it didn’t take much for you to opt an attempt at belittling me here with a label (Cisgender) or diverting conversation to my Penis.

    Have a nice day and hopefully you will never attend a Disco event that turns bloody secondary to an altered perception brought on by an underlying Biased expectation.

    When Trans girls decide to end their lives secondary to a perceived lack of acceptance or 11 yo boys hang themselves from their beds there is much to talk about.

  • scrubba

    Once again , Hollywood who has embraced Gay anything for decades has decided anything Transgender HAS to be EVIL and Morbid . I don’t know weither to waste time and money on this picture or not considering I’m simply an older Trans woman , Mom and I really have NO use for Gay anybody ……..

  • Teresa Landreth

    she is one of my all time favorite actresses as well, but the fact remains, this movie is NOT about transgender in ANY WAY, the objection isnt even being phrased right. you CANT make someone transgender by giving them surgery, its just mutilating someone who is NOT transgender. it IS proper treatment for those with severe Gender DYSPHORIA (its not for everyone despite what a lot of the hate groups think, its the last option for those who CANT live with the body they have currently), but just because some quack doctor changes someones sex, does NOT make them transgender, or make the movie about them, by trying to make it about transgender people as they are, its feeding into the hate groups saying its a CHOICE, you can CHOSE to be transgender, etc.

  • Teresa Landreth

    yes, its a BBC, the lead actress, Chloe Sevigny refused to do more (it was only meant as a short run but they were talking about a second season) but she said she actually was VERY disturbed (as in Gender Dysphoric) from the scenes where they attached a prosthetic penis. she got a small taste what it is for a true trans person, and it was so disturbing, she refused to do it again. and she KNEW It was fake, temporary, and we have to live with it our whole lives (until surgery at least)

  • Trannysaurus

    So im really not sure what your point was here. I think we are both aware that the movie is not about transgender people.
    And i have to say that SRS and transition is a choice. Its the being born trans part thats not a choice.

  • Teresa Landreth

    ok i thought i was pretty clear. this movie is being promoted as her being transgender. SHE is NOT, the character or the actress. that was my point, because she is FORCED into SRS does NOT make her transgender, just a mutilated man. this plays into the hate groups viewpoint that it IS a choice you can MAKE someone trans (forcing a child etc as they claim) SRS is NOT always a choice, some need it or they will end their lives, in my opinion

  • Teresa Landreth

    ok i thought i was pretty clear. this movie is being promoted as her being transgender. SHE is NOT, the character or the actress. that was my point, because she is FORCED into SRS does NOT make her transgender, just a mutilated man. this plays into the hate groups viewpoint that it IS a choice you can MAKE someone trans (forcing a child etc as they claim) SRS is NOT always a choice, some need it or they will end their lives, in my opinion

  • Trannysaurus

    I do what you are saying here. yes the movie does not represent an actual trans person I think we can agree on that. I think I may have interpreted the original comment the wrong way. SRS is ALWAYS a choice, as is transitioning, and suicide. If these things are not choices then why take responsibility for ANYTHING in life. the part we do not choose is the being born “trans” part, and the discrimination.

  • Ahaha thata so funny

  • Ahaha thata so funny