Laverne Cox’s #RockyHorror “Sweet Transvestite” – Fan or Fail?


Laverne Cox debuted as Dr. Frank-n-furter last night on Fox TV’S remake of the #RockyHorror Picture Show. As a transgender woman, I had very strong emotional reactions, mostly a sense of embarrassment. But watching it again this morning and seeing the response on twitter embracing her role I wonder how you feel about this. I wonder if I am out of sync with the trans movement or maybe you have reservations as well?

I was never a fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show when it first came out. In fact, I’ve never watched the first version. I didn’t know at the time why but I just couldn’t relate to it. Last night I started watching Laverne Cox perform Sweet Transvestite I experienced such an intense swelling of emotions I turned it off.

Mari Brighe wrote on Bustle

“Though it is a fun, entertaining tribute that should appeal to fans of the original and Laverne Cox’s performance as Dr. Frank-N-Furter is treated perfectly, much of the original’s subversive tone on gender and sexuality is missing.”

Then today I realized that there was a reason I didn’t relate to the original version. It was a gay production played by cis gay men. Some people on twitter are lamenting the fact the Adam Lambert didn’t play the lead. It seemed the remake to lost the counter culture the cutting edge of the original.
That and the word “transvestism” is distinctly distasteful to many of us who have fought for years for people to recognize us as women, and not men who crossdress. Not to mention our well-deserved distrust of Fox and any potential branding of our history or culture.

Well, Cox put her all into playing the part and I’m not taking anything away from that but the dynamics of the part changed. I know, a transgender woman finally landed a lead role and I’m not wholeheartedly embracing it. Maybe over time I’ll come to appreciate it more.

To put this into perspective here’s the original version but I won’t vote until I have a chance to watch this a couple of times more. So…new cult hit or fail?

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Kelli Busey an outspoken gonzo style journalist has been writing since 2007. In 2008, she brought the Dallas Advocate on-line and has articles published by the Reconciling Ministries Network, The Transsexual Menace, The Daily Kos, Frock Magazine the TransAdvocate, the Dallas Voice and The Advocate. Kelli, an avid runner is editor in chief at Planet Transgender which she founded in 2007.

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