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Highway and Home: Mapping Feminist-Transgender Coalition in Boys Don't Cry.

THE TRADITION OF THE HIGHWAY NARRATIVE in the United States tends to define the road as a masculine space of freedom and escape. It presumes a dichotomy between the highway and the home--which is defined in terms of feminized domesticity. (1) In the 1999 film Boys Don't Cry, director Kimberly Peirce adapts the road movie tradition to fictionalize the story of transman Brandon Teena, whose rape and murder in late 1993 made his story a rallying cry for transgender activists. In the film, the highway provides the transgender protagonist a space of freedom in which to develop his white male identity through a "male escapist fantasy linking masculinity to [the] technology" of the automobile. (2) However, the highway also becomes a space of danger and (sexualized) violence, and it is in a car on the outskirts of town that Brandon is brutally attacked and raped. Home is likewise defined in contradictory ways, as Brandon's arrival in the homes of newfound friends reveals that this supposedly safe haven is actually fraught with physical and psychological violence. Brandon's murder in the home of a friend not only disrupts his own return journey home, but also challenges the very notion of home as a safe space.

This ambivalence toward home resonates with both feminist and queer theories, in which "home" and "migration" are important contested terms. On the one hand, the film reflects feminist concerns that women often desire and seek home, while also finding the home to be a space of danger, violence, and unrewarded labor. In the words of Gloria Anzaldua, "though 'home' permeates every sinew and cartilage in my body, I too am afraid of going home." (3) On the other hand, Peirce's rendering of Brandon's journey also resonates with what Kath Weston has called the "Great Gay Migration." (4) This idea--which has gained almost mythological status--is that in order to find safe communities, queer people must leave rural homes and migrate to urban centers. The Great Gay Migration narrative defines "home" in terms of a symbolic urban/ rural divide. Brandon's journey interacts with this narrative in complicated, paradoxical ways as he travels away from the regional urban center of Lincoln, Nebraska, to the small town of Falls City. Similarly, his identity as a female-bodied transman interacts in complicated ways with categories such as gay, lesbian, transgender, female, and male.

One of the most compelling accomplishments of the film is its denaturalization of whiteness and its critique of working-class, white manhood. By adapting the road movie genre, with its historical focus on a white male protagonist, Peirce not only makes Brandon legible as a man, but also deconstructs the very processes through which white manhood is created in the first place. However, this nuanced critique of white manhood coexists with the "radical erasure of blackness" in the form of the complete absence from the film of Philip DeVine, an African American man who was murdered alongside the real-life Brandon Teena, along with a white woman, Lisa Lambert, who does appear in the film, at least in composite form. (5) The erasure of a second male protagonist simplifies the narrative and helps it align with the generic conventions of the road movie and tragic love story traditions, in keeping with Peirce's claim that the choice was aesthetic and not political. (6) However, the very possibility of seeing such a choice as apolitical rests on a position of white privilege and reflects a history of (often unexamined) white privilege in both queer and transgender politics. Ultimately, both the film's accomplishments and its shortcomings reflect the historical development of transgender theory and politics, and a careful examination of the film sheds light on both the importance and the difficulty of intersectional analysis and activism, including feminist-transgender coalition.

The article that follows focuses on the home/highway binary that is central to the road movie narrative, and it offers two related interpretations of the climactic filmic events of Brandon's rape and murder. The first section, "On the Road," interprets Brandon's rape on and in an automobile in relation to his prior use of the car as a prosthesis for his developing masculinity. This section places Brandon's ambivalent relationship to the automobile and the highway in the context of historical understandings of the car as a symbol of upward mobility and of masculine sexual potency, as well as understandings of the United States as a "republic of drivers" in which racialized and gendered forms of citizenship are connected to geographic mobility. (7) The second section, "(There's No Place Like) Home," reinterprets Brandon's rape as a form of domestic violence that actually begins in the home before his attackers drive him to the outskirts of town to rape him in and on a car. Reinterpreting Brandon's newfound friends/attackers as a family of sorts allows for a more complete interpretation of the attacks against him, as well as for an expansion of the possible grounds on which to build feminist-transgender coalition. Interpreting Boys Don't Cry through the lens of the highway narrative genre thus begins to show the complex intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality that affect Brandon and that complicate attempts to form political coalitions among feminist, lesbian and gay, and transgender activists, even while they make such coalitions all the more necessary.


Brandon's story at first appears to be an unlikely highway narrative. In contrast to the epic, transcontinental journey that has come to define the genre, Brandon travels only about a hundred miles from home, and he travels not westward but southeast. (8) However, repeated images of the open road emphasize the importance of highway travel for Brandon's developing identity. Likewise, images of the American West--ranging from cowboy boots and hats, to flat, dusty horizons, to an improvised rodeo in which Brandon and other young men compete to ride not a bucking bronco but a pickup truck--place the film within a frontier tradition that suggests westward movement and the seeking of the American Dream that such movement has come to evoke. (9)

To begin with, Brandon's journey appears to fit a common narrative structure that critic Ronald Primeau defines as the "journey of self-discovery," characterized by the protagonist's departure from home, their development of a new sense of self during a liminal period of exploration and freedom, and finally a return home to take a new place in the social order. (10) The story of Boys Don't Cry begins on a night when Teena Brandon (who would soon reverse her name to Brandon Teena) cuts her hair and passes as a boy, an important step in the journey toward fulltime manhood. Soon after, the film depicts Brandon's departure for Falls City, where he can develop his male identity among strangers who have no ties to his previous female identity. However, while the road narrative is generally defined by "anonymity and autonomy," wherein the driver passes through places but remains separate from them, a number of factors conspire to make Brandon stay and form relationships in Falls City. (11) The highway narrative takes a detour when Brandon meets the beautiful Lana, with whom he is immediately smitten. The anonymity and detachment of the road trip break down as Brandon begins to see himself as part of the local community, and the film shifts from highway narrative to tragic love story. However, even after the narrative trajectory of the road trip is interrupted, the image of the automobile continues to dominate the film, and Brandon and Lana are drawn together largely by their shared desire to travel away from Nebraska. Much of the pair's time together is spent fantasizing about a journey to either Memphis or Hollywood, US cities that neither has visited and that represent the mythical American Dream from which their economic status excludes them. Thus, both the highway narrative and the automobile itself are constant visual presences in the film, but the freedom of automotive travel is unattainable for both Brandon and Lana.

Throughout the film, the automobile is a repeated image that comes to define Brandon and that serves as a prop for his developing masculinity. Although some more recent queer and feminist-themed road movies have challenged the hypermasculinity of the road movie narrative, the genre remains embedded in this masculine tradition, a fact that helps to cement Brandon's male identity even though he is portrayed by a female-bodied actor who may have been recognizable to viewers after her recurring role on the hit TV show Beverly Hills 90210 the previous year. (12) Boys Don't Cry opens with the image of a highway at night and then moves the viewer inside a speeding car. In this opening sequence, the fast moving lights and driving beat of the music emphasize a sense of reckless speed. It is during this sequence that we first see Brandon's face--not directly but in the rearview mirror of the car, which suggests the extent to which uhis self-image is caught up in the fantasy of escape that the highway offers. This scene evokes a young and reckless masculinity that borders on destructive, which we also see when Brandon gets into bar fights and steals cars.

However, as the film progresses the automobile also dominates the visual portrayal of Brandon and Lana, and it is in these interactions that we see a gentler side to Brandon's masculinity. The film shows repeated images of Brandon and Lana riding together in a car and making love in or near a car. Most importantly, when they make love for the first time in a field outside the factory where Lana works, the image of Lana's face during orgasm alternates with footage of the pair driving on an urban freeway with friends. The rock music and sense of motion in this freeway scene evoke the film's opening but are now tempered by the slow tenderness of the love scene that immediately preceded it. Brandon and Lana's relationship is thus based on an erotic connection that is visually tied to the automobile and that helps to present Brandon's multifaceted masculinity.

Brandon's nuanced masculinity presents a sharp contrast to the other men in the film, enabling a critique of normative masculinity that simultaneously condemns the attacks against Brandon and attempts to uncover the motives and perspectives of his attackers. In fact, one of the results of leaving Philip DeVine out of the film is to emphasize this stark contrast between normative white masculinity and the alternative that Brandon--and only Brandon--presents. As a number of critics have pointed out, Brandon is portrayed in the film as "a different kind of man--radiant, beautiful, clear-skinned and clean," a man with '"movie-star good looks,' [an] enigmatic body, and a certain luminosity in the way his face is shot." (13) Brandon, according to Lisa Henderson, presents "the promise of masculinity" beside his attackers, Tom Nissen and John Lotter, "who stand instead as its scarred and mottled failures." (14) As these descriptions suggest, the film's critique of normative masculinity is tied to a judgment of the men's romantic desirability (or lack thereof) as focalized through the perspectives of Lana and her female friends. (15) This desiring female gaze combines with the film's invitation to identify with Brandon to offer women and queer viewers, in particular, multiple pathways into the film. The audience is invited to identify with Lana and her women friends and to experience their desire for Brandon while also identifying with Brandon, sharing his excitement at passing as a man, his sometimes uncomfortable position as the outsider in this community, and his vulnerability to violence. (16)

However, whereas Brandon's good looks, gentleness, and desirability as a lover mark him as different from the other men of the film, it is perhaps the similarities that are most telling. While Brandon's outward masculinity is always under threat due to its failure to match his underlying female body, the masculinity of the other men is just as fragile. The film suggests that Tom and John's performances of dominant white masculinity rest on a foundation of economic and social instability. John plays at being the head of the household (alongside Lana's mother), but is actually just a visitor in her home; the men repeatedly drive when the group goes out, but they do not own the cars and are instead dependent on the women to lend them automobiles. This contradiction between the men's apparent sense of entitlement and their actual lack of material resources is most pronounced in a few scenes focused on John, who the film portrays as Brandon's primary rival for Lana's affection and later his primary attacker. At one point in the film, Brandon, John, Lana, their friend Candace, and another woman find themselves stopped on a dirt road after a failed attempt by Brandon (the driver) to outrun a police car. John's temper erupts as he kicks the car and tells the others, "Get out of my car. My crappy car." The irony of this statement soon becomes apparent after John drives away and Candace--left behind--says dejectedly, "That was my car." For John, in particular, the performance of hypermasculinity seems designed to mask a sense of powerlessness, as he claims the symbolics of masculine power (in this case the car) without having access to the underlying material circumstances.

Like Tom and John, Brandon and Lana are barred by economic factors from participating in the US "republic of drivers," which Cotton Seiler defines as "a political imaginary of anonymity and autonomy that finds expression in the practices and landscapes of automobility." (17) Not the least of these exclusionary factors is Brandon and Lana's lack of money to buy a car, and the film soon reveals that the cars we do see Brandon driving have actually been stolen, emphasizing the shaky grounds on which he has built his masculine image. In fact, Brandon's transgender identity is revealed precisely because he has stolen cars. His Falls City group of friends/rivals sees a newspaper story describing a warrant for Teena Brandon's arrest, and the accompanying photograph leads them to suspect that Teena Brandon and Brandon Teena might be one and the same. Brandon's lack of an automobile, then, does not constitute a merely symbolic exclusion from citizenship and the American Dream, but rather it is tied to economic and social factors that limit his mobility and expose him to danger. The highway, so often portrayed as a means of escaping the hierarchies of town and city, is instead shown to be a reflection of the society that built it. To quote Seiler: "the space of the American road, like the contours of citizenship, was established under specific regimes of racialized [and, let me add, gendered and classed] inequality and limited access whose codes it reproduces." (18)

Far from reinforcing a biological determinism, then, that sees Brandon's masculinity as fragile due to his female body, the film instead emphasizes the fragility of all working-class, white masculinity due to economic factors. Within an economic climate of instability, characterized by the loss of living-wage jobs and the narrowing of pathways to class advancement (the American Dream), the automobile--a means of literal mobility--becomes a symbolic marker and substitute for the social mobility the men have difficulty accessing. (19) Paul Gilroy has argued that in African American communities, "cars seem to have conferred or rather suggested dimensions of citizenship and status that were blocked by formal politics and violently inhibited by informal codes." (20) Especially for those who have been unable to access real political and economic power, automobiles have gained symbolic power far beyond their usefulness, serving as "pre-eminent symbols of power and prestige," "manifestations of wealth," "ritualized entries] into adulthood," and markers of "personal autonomy." (21) As Gilroy demonstrates, this "personal autonomy" has long been defined in masculine terms, as the car itself has been linked "to the female body and driving to sex." (22) Within this historical understanding of the car as a symbol of masculine autonomy, citizenship, and sexual potency, Peirce deftly redeploys the automobile as a multilayered symbol of Brandon's, Tom's, and John's access--or lack of access--not only to masculinity but also to other forms of citizenship and belonging. (23)

As unusual as it might seem to apply Gilroy's conception of African American car culture to Tom Nissen and John Lotter, one of whom, at least, is known to have associated with white supremacist groups, the analogy helps to highlight the subjective sense of powerlessness, "the inchoate economic fears of lower-middle-class men" that often motivate both racialized and gendered forms of violence. (24) As sociologist Michael Kimmel has argued, what holds the white supremacist amalgam of "paranoid politics--antigovernment, anti-global, but pro-small-capitalist, racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, homophobic--together is a rhetoric of masculinity." (25) Many white men, especially working-class white men, Kimmel emphasizes, feel a sense of "entitlement to power" but actually feel powerless in their daily lives, leading to symbolic attempts, sometimes escalating to violence, to create the privilege that otherwise seems lacking. (26) Understanding the automobile as a symbol of masculinity and potency, then, helps us better understand why it is so central to the scene of Brandon's rape, as well as to his earlier creation of multifaceted masculinity. Peirce has used the conventions of the road movie to contextualize Brandon Teena's real-life rape in an automobile in such a way as to deconstruct the symbolic importance of the car in creating US manhood. In the film, the rape and the car on which it takes place are connected as much to Tom and John's masculinity as to Brandon's.

The dangers trans people face in a gendered society become all too clear when Brandon is raped and murdered in the second half of the film, and the image of the automobile is just as central to the scene of Brandon's rape as it had been to the scenes of his and Lana's earlier lovemaking. When John and Tom abduct Brandon, they force him into a car and drive him to what appears to be an abandoned feed mill outside of town. The semi-rural, semi-industrial setting of this scene mirrors the love scenes earlier in the film. The scene shows the two men raping Brandon in the backseat and against the side of the car. Close-up shots of the faces of Brandon and his two attackers alternate with middle-and long-distance shots of the three men and the car, and the cumulative effect invokes a complicated identification with both Brandon and his attackers while never letting the viewer forget the extreme violence of the attack. The highway that had seemed to present the possibility of escape instead transports Brandon to this isolated and dangerous location, and the car that had previously served as a prop to support Brandon's masculinity now becomes a tool of violence, a means of emasculating Brandon and reducing him to a biological femaleness that is produced here as a state of victimhood. (27) The first half of the film, with its focus on Brandon and Lana's love affair, supports an almost mythical image of the automobile as a symbol of sexual potency, freedom, and upward mobility. However, by tying Brandon's rape to the image of the car, the film undermines the mythic status of the automobile and reveals the darker side of imagining the car as a sign of male power and sexuality, in this case the sexualized power of Brandon's attackers.

Of course, an interpretation of the rape as a means of reducing Brandon to his female body or to a feminine role illuminates only one layer of this complicated act of violence. A more complete interpretation of the attack, which involves both hetero-and homoerotic relations toward Brandon, as well as the negotiation of homosocial bonds between the two attackers, further illuminates the systemic gender violence that underlies the attack. Brandon's rapists had been relating to Brandon as a man for an extended period before the attack, and they return to calling him "little buddy" afterward, choosing language that defines Brandon as a young man rather than as a woman. Interpreting this in relation to recent social science literature about rape, one might argue that it is in part because they relate to Brandon as a man that the pair turns to rape as a means of reasserting their own masculinity through dominance. Michael Kaufman's idea of the "triad" of men's violence, for example, suggests that violence against women, against other men, and against the self are intimately related to and reinforce one another. (28) Thus we might see Tom and John's violence against Brandon as connected to Tom's own violence against himself (one scene in the film shows him cutting himself) and John's violence against Lana. These related forms of violence, Kimmel's work suggests, result not from men's experiences of power, but rather from feelings of powerlessness. (29) Brandon, who has apparently been more successful in keeping a job and attracting a girlfriend, presents a threat to Tom and John's masculinity that becomes all the more potent when they realize he is female-bodied. (30) Moreover, the fact that this is not a single rape, but rather a crime perpetrated by two men together, suggests that Tom and John are just as interested in performing their masculinity in front of one another as in subduing Brandon. As Laura O'Toole argues in her study of group rape among fraternities and male sports teams, the purpose of group rape "is to affirm the shared masculinity and brotherhood" of the rapists. By transferring "despised and dirty femininity" from themselves onto Brandon, John and Tom assure each other of their own masculinity and enable "homoerotic bonding." (31)

The rape scene is framed within a scene in which Brandon reports his attack to police, and the film creates clear parallels between the police interrogation and the rape. In the police station, the two male police officers repeatedly ask Brandon about his gender identity and his romantic relationships with women, violating his personal life in a manner that is portrayed as a continuation of the rape itself. As Brandon tells his story, the visual cuts back and forth between the interrogation and the rape in such a way as to emphasize the parallel violence of each. The technique also serves an important ethical function because it allows us to hear Brandon's own voice telling of his rape at the same time that we see it on screen. This prioritizes his perspective while at the same time combating the tendency for representations of rape to eroticize or aestheticize the rape scene, thus producing a further act of violence. In interpreting the film this way, I am arguing against Karina Eileraas's claim that the film portrays Sheriff Laux more positively, as someone who encourages Brandon to "report his rape," motivated by "sensitivity to the underreporting of sexual assault among female survivors." (32) Instead, I interpret Brandon as struggling to tell his story in spite of the invasive testimony, rather than in response to it. I see Lana and her mother's presence at the police station, and Lana's mother's comment to Brandon that "nobody has a right to do that to you," as a sign that it is, in fact, these two women who have encouraged Brandon to report his rape.

This moment in the film suggests important points of potential conflict or collaboration between feminists and transgender activists for a few reasons. First, the police officer's violent interrogation of Brandon can be read as both similar to and different from the likely treatment of a cisgender woman in the same situation. (33) As many scholars have argued, historically women have often been revictimized by law enforcement and other officials who are supposed to protect them from rape and other forms of sexual and intimate violence. (34) In this sense, Brandon's experiences resonate with those of many cisgender women who have reported rape. However, whereas rape and domestic violence advocates have "prioritized the need not to revictimize heterosexual women survivors of violence" and have "made leaps forward in this regard," LGBTIQ people are often left out of feminist models that emphasize men's violence against women. (35) Thus, studies suggest that "men and masculine people who report sexual violence face particular risk of having their claims minimized or even ridiculed." (36) Brandon's treatment at the hands of police thus emphasizes potential problems with the accepted feminist models of rape, which often focus on the gender of attacker and attacked, and it points to the need for feminists to find new models that continue to protect cisgender women while also fighting the often hidden violence against trans people. Second, although Lana's mother did eventually help Brandon report his attack, earlier she had been complicit, perhaps even instrumental, in initiating the attack itself. The wide variety of reactions of the women in the film suggests the range of possible responses from women, particularly feminist women, who can collude in transphobic violence or fight against it. The film's portrayal of the different women--ranging from Lana's mother who at one point calls Brandon "it" to the kind nurse who first notices that Brandon has been raped--asks women to critique habitual assumptions and take a stand against transphobic violence.


Whereas the road movie genre usually ends with the protagonist's return home, Boys Don't Cry disrupts this return journey and challenges the very notion of "home" as a safe space. When the rape is over, we see an image of Brandon lying in a fetal position on the ground in a pool of light cast by the car's headlights, and this image is spliced with a close-up of Brandon's face in the police department, a tear running down his cheek as he is forced to relive the violence of the previous night. The film then returns to the scene of the crime and shows Tom helping Brandon up off the ground, asking if he is okay, covering him with a shirt, and walking him back to the car with apparent tenderness. As they drive Brandon back into town, John and Tom call Brandon "little buddy" and "little dude," and they assure him: "If you keep our little secret, we'll stay friends." These phrases restore Brandon's previous relationship to the group, which is premised on his male identity and his role as a younger brother figure to Tom and John. The perverse tenderness of this scene and the admonition to secrecy also mirror common elements of domestic violence. This suggests a new interpretation of the rape as a form of domestic violence, emphasizing that the violence that takes place on the highway outside of town is an extension of the violence that is already present within the home.

This interpretation of Brandon's rape as a form of domestic violence resonates with the relationships established among the Falls City group of friends throughout the film. Although Brandon moves from the home of one friend to another, the group centers around the home that Lana shares with her mother. Tom, John, Brandon, and the others all call Lana's mother "mom," and a complicated relationship seems to have developed in which John relates sexually to both Lana and her mother, and in which he jealously controls Lana's life. (37) The film thus portrays the group as a family of sorts, marked (like many families) by violence and alcoholism. However, whereas John uses violence or the threat of violence to claim authority over the home spaces in the film, the households portrayed are actually all woman-headed. This becomes quite apparent in a scene just before the attack begins. When John arrives at Lana's mother's home during Brandon's birthday party, she tells him, "John, I know your mother, and I know she taught you how to knock," emphasizing that he is a guest and not an owner of this house. However, directly following this scene, John intimates the violence to come by telling Brandon, "There's just one thing you gotta remember little man, is this is my house"

Thus, I would argue that Tom and John, as well as Brandon, all struggle as men to fit into the domestic arrangements of the town as they face their inability to provide for themselves and others. Once again, the film emphasizes not the power, but rather the fragility of white manhood, which is easily undermined especially in current economic conditions. Thus, in a revision to the traditional road narrative, Tom, John, and Brandon find themselves unable to participate fully in both the feminized space of the home and the masculinized space of the open road.

Indeed, this focus on the fragility of white manhood allows Peirce to explore one of the questions she says motivated her to make Boys Don't Cry: "why Brandon's exposure as a girl had provoked such violence in Tom and John." Peirce has emphasized that she wished not to demonize Brandon's attackers but rather to "reveal them as understandable and human," a goal that helps to transform this individual story into a broader critique of white American masculinity and economic and social inequality. (38) Peirce's strategic use of the road movie vernacular, with its focus on the arrival of a newcomer in town, denaturalizes relationships--such as the controlling relationship between John and Lana--that might otherwise pass unnoticed. Brandon's arrival does not cause the violence that destroys him, but rather reveals the violent systems of inequity that were already in place.

In the words of Elizabeth B. Erbaugh, "Domestic violence can be conceptualized as occurring within three concentric circles: the intimate relationship, its immediate social circle, and the larger society." (39) These circles, and the parallel violence embedded within them, become clear as the film emphasizes the interconnected violence of the home, the police department, and the highway. As Erbaugh goes on to argue, for trans people, as well as lesbians and gay men, homophobic and transphobic attitudes within the immediate social circle may isolate a potential victim from others, creating circumstances in which domestic violence can flourish. Brandon's outsider status (he was kicked out of his mother's home because of his gender identity, and he has left behind the few connections he had) increases his isolation and makes him particularly vulnerable to abuse. It is impossible to say, of course, what might have happened had Brandon kept his rape a secret as his attackers admonished him to do. What is revealing, however, is that after Brandon reports his attack to authorities, the violence escalates to the point of murder, a pattern that resonates with the common reality that "[a] woman is most at risk to kill or be killed when she attempts to report the abuse or leave an abusive relationship." (40) By pointing out that the attacks against Brandon follow this common pattern of domestic violence, I want to emphasize the central fact that Brandon's rapist-murderers were not strangers, but rather they were intimately connected to his life. Although it is beyond the scope of this essay, this recognition that transphobic violence, like violence against cisgender women, is woven into the fabric of everyday relationships emphasizes the need for rape and domestic violence intervention that takes into account the contexts and relationships in which attacks occur so that authorities can better protect victims from renewed attacks.

As I explore the attacks against Brandon as a form of domestic violence, I wish to emphasize that Brandon is not the only target of Tom and John's domestic violence. Rather, Brandon's arrival in town reveals the dynamics of power and jealousy that were already present in this alternative family group, in which John seems to have had a romantic relationship with Lana in the past and continues to jealously guard her in the present. Lana's mother grants John access to the home and to Lana's bedroom, where John searches through Lana's belongings and interrogates her, enacting a relationship of fear and control. This relationship might be classified as a form of "intimate terrorism," which Michael P. Johnson defines in opposition to "situational couple violence." (41) Whereas the latter form of domestic violence may be "minor and singular" and perpetrated by both men and women, the former (intimate terrorism) involves the systematic attempt of one partner to gain "power and control" over the other partner's life. (42) This form of domestic violence is almost entirely perpetrated by men against women, and it involves a "web of abuse" in which a man uses economic, physical, and psychological force to isolate and control his (usually female) partner. (43) Brandon's arrival in town and budding romantic relationship with Lana place him in the middle of a violent domestic relationship that was already ongoing, and the revelation of his gender crossing might be understood as an excuse for John to continue his "domestic terrorism" of Lana, in this case through violence against someone she loves. Moreover, Brandon and Lana's plans to travel away from Falls City would interrupt John's control over Lana's life by removing her from his sphere of influence, making Brandon particularly threatening to John. From this perspective, the discovery of Brandon's past serves as a catalyst activating the violent reactions already present just below the surface.

The scene that precedes Brandon's abduction from Lana's home is particularly important to understanding Brandon's rape as a form of domestic violence. When Brandon and Lana return to Lana's home after their lovemaking, they face a violent return to reality after the dreamlike world they had created together. Lana enters the house first and is confronted by Tom, John, her mother, and her two friends Candace and Kate, all of whom have been looking through Brandon's belongings and have found evidence of his gender crossing. When John and Tom confront Lana and Brandon (who had followed her into the home), they portray their violation of Brandon's possessions and his body as a form of truth seeking. Lana's mother tells her, "We are just trying to protect you," and John frames his violence as a reaction to Brandon's supposed "lying." Lana tries to prevent such a violation by telling the group that Brandon will show her his body and she will tell them what she saw. Her devotion to and humanizing of Brandon become clear when she tells Brandon, "Button up your pants. Don't show me anything." In response to Brandon's attempts to explain his condition in medical terms, Lana likewise refuses this pathologizing narrative, instead framing Brandon's situation as normal and everyday, saying, "I have really weird stuff, too." Unfortunately, when Lana assures the group, "I seen him in the full flesh. I know he's a man," they do not believe her, and instead John and Tom drag Brandon into the bathroom to strip him and examine his body, a violation that marks the beginning of their extended rape of Brandon.

At this point the film departs most markedly from a realistic style to portray Brandon in two places at once. He is simultaneously shown in the bathroom, being violently stripped by Tom and John, and outside the bathroom, fully clothed, looking on with Lana, her mother, and the two other women who observe this violence but find themselves powerless to stop it. This separation of the self into victim and observer reflects the separation of the self that is understood as a common reaction to trauma. In addition, this separation shows Brandon as both conscious subject as well as object of violence--an insistent reminder to viewers to see Brandon as more than simply a victim. The fact that the second self looking on is clothed as a man also serves as a reminder to continue seeing Brandon as a man, even as his female body is revealed. By placing Brandon with the observers of his attack, Pierce is also in a sense placing him among the audience of the film--we who are also watching this attack and are powerless to stop it. This creates a profound identification of the viewer with Brandon that refuses the revictimization that representations of violence can possibly produce. Just as Peirce framed the automotive rape scene within the police interrogation in such a way as to give Brandon the voice to narrate his own violation, here Peirce uses cinematic techniques that refuse to mitigate the violence of the attack and that push us to consider this earlier violation of Brandon as the beginning of a rape that extends from this moment, through the attacks in and on the car, and into the police interrogation the next day. The film's rupturing of the chronology of this narrative through flashback also serves to emphasize the connections between these three related forms of violence.

The three other women (Lana's mother, Candace, and Kate) are ambiguously positioned in relation to the rape insofar as they first follow John's orders, helping him isolate Brandon, but then they try (and fail) to stop the violence as it escalates. The character of Lana's mother, in particular, can be understood as working on at least two levels. First, her complicity in the violence against Brandon resonates with domestic violence literature that suggests that, while women are often considered the primary victims of violence perpetrated by men, also "women are often the abusers and neglecters of children." (44) Although Brandon and Lana are certainly adults, recognizing this family pattern emphasizes Lana's mother's responsibility as the head of household and the symbolic mother figure of the group. This emphasis on women's power and responsibility, as opposed to women's powerlessness and victimization, relates to the second level on which we can interpret Lana's mother's actions: as a metaphor for the choices women in general, and feminist women in particular, face when encountering transphobic violence and the challenges it presents to some feminist models of the world. Supporting transgender rights requires feminists to move beyond the idea that women are the only, or perhaps even the primary, victims of gender violence, an idea that has occasionally led to claims such as those made by Janice Raymond, who has falsely positioned transsexuals as perpetrators of violence against women. (45) Transgender perspectives must be added to those of women of color and critical race scholars who have urged feminists to complicate the gender binary through the recognition of intersectionality and a new focus on women's privileges as well as victimization. Ultimately, I would like to suggest that challenges to the paradigm of women's victimization that recognize women's power and deemphasize women's powerlessness allow for a richer and more active feminist engagement in the world.


An exploration of the final scenes of Boys Don't Cry helps to drive home the complex allegiances and calls to action generated by Peirce's intervention in mainstream film genres, particularly the road narrative. Although I disagree with critics who argue that the film effectively betrays Brandon in the final love scene by abandoning his male identity to portray him as a lesbian woman, I nonetheless understand why many have found the film's ending unsettling. (46) In particular, I find myself unsettled by the fulfillment of the road movie narrative through substitution, as Lana drives away in the film's final shot, taking Brandon's place at the wheel. This iconic scene of rebirth and renewal, as she begins her drive at daybreak, suggests that Brandon's death has not been in vain but contains within it the seeds of redemption. (47) However, to many viewers, nagging questions remain: Redemption for whom? And at what cost? Is there any justification for reframing a real person's death in a fictionalized way that makes it seem, not only inevitable, but also redemptive? It is easy to see why many critics have found the film's ending problematic, and it creates difficulties within the theoretical framework I have posited here, as well. If the film is a lesson in feminist-transgender coalition, then does this final scene posit women's liberation as the payoff for transphobic violence: Lana's escape in return for Brandon's death? If we add to this concerns about the removal of Philip DeVine from the story, it becomes particularly troubling that he does not appear even in the "Where are they now?" updates that often appear at the end of films based on true events, which, in this film, memorialize Brandon Teena and Lisa Lambert but make no mention of DeVine. These artistic choices lead one to wonder: are the simplifications required by popular culture genres too high a price to pay for the broader cultural legibility of a transgender life?

It would be easy to stop here, to read in its ending the failure of the film and render it a morality tale about the dangers of fictionalizing a real person's death, especially when that person is part of an oppressed minority. Indeed, this is the conclusion that a number of critics have drawn, based on the ideal of the "inextricability of ethics and aesthetics," a politicized view of aesthetics that has a long and rich tradition in feminist literary and cultural studies. (48) However, even if ethics and aesthetics are interconnected, they do not coexist in a simple, one-to-one relationship. Instead, I argue, it is precisely the tension between ethics and aesthetics that makes Boys Don't Cry such a haunting film, a film that has captured far more attention than direct documentary versions of Brandon's life. It is also this tension that makes the film a starting point for a number of useful meditations on both the necessity and the difficulties of intersectional feminist coalition building at the present moment.

The film's successes and shortcomings demonstrate simultaneously the immense importance of intersectionality in the establishment of feminist-transgender coalition and the immense difficulty of enacting complex intersectional politics. The failure to include DeVine--and the failure to recognize his exclusion as political--rests on a form of white privilege that has plagued transgender theories and activism, media representations of transsexuals, and some forms of feminism for many decades. (49) Indeed, the very question of which transgender lives tend to be immortalized in film or covered by national media outlets is a racially charged issue, as the search for LGBT acceptance often leads to the valorizing of those transgender lives that most clearly fit models of white, middle-class respectability. However, if we look more closely at issues of class, the film also offers a corrective to some shortcomings in contemporary LGBT and feminist theory and activism.

In particular, the film separates whiteness from middle-class respectability, thus allowing for a complex understanding of the inter-working of race and class. The film's focus on a working-class, white trans experience helps to show the limitations of a contemporary transgender activism that usually comes from a white, middle-and uppermiddle-class perspective. (50) For example, much recent transgender activism has focused on individual choice, especially on helping trans people gain access to medical care on demand, depathologizing transgender identity by removing or revising the APA'S diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder, and fighting employment discrimination through legal action such as the 2009 case Schroer v. Library of Congress. While such activism is important, it primarily benefits the small proportion of trans people who are already privileged enough to have access to quality medical care and specialized professions, a problem that several vocal transgender activists, including Kate Bornstein and Vivian Namaste, have already pointed out. (51) The disproportionate focus on such concerns--as opposed to a focus on economic justice, violence prevention, mass incarceration, and other coalitional issues--can support a neoliberal view of individual freedom that fails to liberate poor and working-class trans people and that falls short of true coalition building.

The film's focus on Brandon's working-class status, I argue, presents a challenge to this tendency. The irrelevance of such neoliberal freedoms for Brandon--who cannot begin to afford the cost of expensive sexual reassignment procedures even if he does desire them--becomes clear in the film. Although Brandon attempts to claim the legitimacy of medicalization, describing his gender identity in medical terms at several points in the film, his lack of class privilege essentially excludes him from both medical and legal protections. Thus the film, in a quite visceral way, reflects a number of criticisms that have been arising within transgender and queer theory and activism, criticisms of the tendency toward new forms of middle-class normativity that value whiteness, urban cultures, and creative consumerism at the expense of other forms of queerness. These new normativities have been classified and criticized under a number of different names, including "queer liberalism," "homonormativity," "metronormativity," and "queer urbanity," but essentially each describes the problematic tendency for queer politics to begin from the position of an assumed white, middle-class, urban subject. (52) While Boys Don't Cry falls short of addressing the assumed whiteness of the queer subject, its focus on a rural working-class community does offer a step in the right direction. And although critics such as Henderson have convincingly argued that Boys Don't Cry could be seen as "a new installment in a long history of popular images of working class pathology," (53) I nonetheless see the class awareness of the film as an important intervention.

For one thing, the class awareness promoted by Boys Don't Cry sheds light on ongoing feminist debates about transgender issues. One of the most central of these debates focuses on whether and to what extent transgender people challenge or reinforce binary, patriarchal gender norms. (54) Much current feminist and queer theory places great value on those trans people who are "gender queer" or who otherwise seek to challenge binary divisions between man/woman or male/female in their everyday lives. Going hand in hand with this valuing of gender queering is the tendency to criticize those trans people who wish to pass in their chosen or true gender, which has led to accusations of gender conformity and biological determinism. In her 2001 review of transgender theory from an explicitly feminist perspective, Bernice L. Hausman seems to put trans people in a particularly difficult double bind. While she criticizes those transsexuals who are "interested in sustaining the value of gendered realness" for relying on "traditional conceptions of binary gender as a social and psychological fact," she equally criticizes those transgender activists who promote gender pluralism for supporting "an essentially libertarian view" of individual choice that ultimately "feed[s] into gender essentialism." (55) In other words, both gender passing and gender queering are equally problematic because they fail to dismantle gender as "a way of organizing identity [that] is central to the human project." (56)

While Hausman's critique of libertarianism does have merit, the requirement that trans people dismantle gender altogether, rather than simply fighting for greater equality, safety, and freedom for those of all genders is problematic for a few reasons. First, this line of reasoning disproportionately burdens transgender people with the need to challenge gender systems without fully recognizing the danger this entails. Second, this view seems to equate personal gender expression with political activism in what may be an overly simplistic way. If cisgender feminists can challenge gender norms and fight gender-based oppression even while living in the world as recognizable women or men, can't trans people similarly challenge patriarchal gender norms even while acting from a recognizable social position as either woman or man?

Perhaps even more importantly, Boys Don't Cry reminds us that this valuing of the gender queer over socially legible gender identities may be an indicator of class privilege and locational privilege, which are closely tied together in the logic of the "queer urbanity" that Karen Tongson critiques in her recent book Relocations. (57) Tongson argues that "homonormativity," which Lisa Duggan has defined as a "demobilized gay constituency and a privatized, depoliticized gay culture anchored in domesticity and consumption" (58) is closely tied to "metronormativity," the assumption that the city is "the emblematic habitat for queers." (59) However, Tongson writes that, "rather than resting with the assumption that homonormativity remains within the purview of gays and lesbians who strive to mimic some of the United States' more traditional institutions of citizenship (e.g., marriage, domesticity, and family life) in their most predictable settings (e.g., the suburbs)," she wishes to consider the urban "creative classes--including economically prosperous gays and lesbians"--as "deeply, if unintentionally complicit" in the "lifestyle politics of gentrification," with their attendant class and racial politics. (60) In other words, the tendency to criticize those who conform to "conventional" gender identities and domestic arrangements may actually be enacting a new form of normativity, which criticizes rural and suburban LGBT people for failing to live up to the ideals of the urban and/or academic creative classes. The film, then, serves as a reminder of the fundamental feminist commitment to freedom from (gender-based) violence, which can sometimes get lost in theoretical debates about gender passing and binary gender norms.

Moreover, it is important for avowed feminists to also recognize the ways in which feminism may be complicit in many of the same normativities that have been recognized and criticized within transgender and queer theory and activism. I hope my discussion of Boys Don't Cry has suggested at least two main concerns of importance to contemporary feminism: first, the central importance of class, to the point where class and economic concerns are actually more important than gender in shaping the experiences of many women (and men); and second, the recognition offered by men's studies scholars such as Kimmel that male privilege is much more complicated than once believed, with many, if not most, men unable to access the power of hegemonic masculinity. Even with such reminders, it is difficult to imagine exactly what a contemporary intersectional feminist-transgender coalition would look like. However, one starting point would be for feminism and LGBT activism to join in the new class politics that are gaining visibility through movements such as Occupy Wall Street and debates over access to healthcare as a civil right.

I offer the above meditation as a reminder that intersectionality is not just a buzzword, but rather an absolutely necessary basis for creating a coalitional politics for our time: a politics that can address the interconnected concerns of widening class disparities, the "new racism" that assumes that racism is a thing of the past, and "modern sexism," which similarly assumes that we live in a "postfeminist" age. (61) Whereas feminist antiracist commitments and insights are vital to addressing the problem of the unexamined white queer or trans subject, the reminders Boys Don't Cry offers of the centrality of class position are equally central to understanding the challenges facing contemporary feminism. The vulnerabilities of working-class people exist across transgender, queer, feminist, and race categories. To recognize this is only the first step toward a true coalition-building politics.


I wish to thank S. Olivia Donaldson, Susan Stanford Friedman, and Melissa Adams-Campbell for their insightful comments on earlier drafts of this essay. I am also grateful to the editors and reviewers of Feminist Studies for their thoughtful feedback and editorial support.

(1.) See Kris Lackey, Road Frames (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997), xi; and Steven Cohen and Ina Rae Hark, introduction to The Road Movie Book (New York: Routledge, 1997), 2-3.

(2.) Cohen and Hark, The Road Movie Book, 2-3.

(3.) Gloria Anzaldua, Bordlerlands/La Frontera (San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1987), 3, quoted in Susan Friedman, "Bodies on the Move," Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 23, no. 2 (2004): 191. Friedman's article examines in depth women's complicated relationships to "home."

(4.) Kath Weston, "Get Thee to a Big City: Sexual Imaginary and the Great Gay Migration," GLQ 2, no. 3 (199S): 255. Although Weston refers to a particular historical phenomenon--the large--scale migration of lesbians and gay men to the city of San Francisco in the 1970s and 1980s--she also refers more broadly to the "imaginative processes associated with gay migration from rural and suburban areas to cities," imaginative processes that create a shared community mythology. (256)

(5.) See Jennifer Devere Brody, "Boyz Do Cry: Screening History's White Lies," Screen 43, no. 1 (2002): 92.

(6.) See Gretchen Lee, "Passing Attraction," Curve 10, no. 1 (2001): 16, quoted in Brody, "Boyz Do Cry," 94.

(7.) Cotton Seiler, "So That We as a Race Might Have Something Authentic to Travel By: African American Automobility and Cold War Liberalism," American Quarterly 58, no. 4 (2006): 1092.

(8.) For discussions about the history of the road movie genre, see Lackey, Road Frames; and Ronald Primeau, Romance of the Road: The Literature of the American Highway (Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1997).

(9.) Lackey argues that such western road narratives employ a "rhetoric of discovery" and that this "rhetoric of discovery--issuing from the wish to reenact pioneer hardships, to recreate an innocent country, and to imaginatively possess the land--remains vital after almost a century of American nonfiction automotive narratives and road novels." Lackey, Road Frames, 4.

(10.) Primeau, Romance of the Road, 69-70.

(11.) Seiler, "So That We as a Race," 1092.

(12.) For a brief discussion of recent queer and feminist road movies, including Thelma and Louise and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, see Julianne Pidduck, "Risk and Queer Spectatorship," Screen 42, no. 1 (2001): 99. Hilary Swank plays Brandon Teena in the film. See "Hilary Swank," IMDB,

(13.) Lisa Henderson, "The Class Character of Boys Don't Cry," Screen 42, no. 3 (2001): 302; Pidduck, "Risk and Queer Spectatorship," 100.

(14.) Henderson, "The Class Character," 302.

(15.) For a discussion of the film's focalization through Lana's desiring female gaze, see Patricia White, "Girls Still Cry," Screen 42, no. 2 (2001): 218.

(16.) As Pidduck has argued, the identification with Brandon is particularly strong for "queer and/or female viewers," whose previous experiences or "familiarity with the continuum of hatred and violence can intensify the disturbing recognition ('that could have been me') of watching such an event ... on screen." Pidduck, "Risk and Queer Spectatorship," 101.

(17.) Seiler, "So That We as a Race," 1092.

(18.) Ibid., 1093.

(19.) A number of social scientists have described the current economy as an "hourglass economy," in which jobs are concentrated at the top and bottom of the economic and educational scale, with few jobs in the middle that allow for career advancement. Douglass S. Massey and Deborah S. Hirst, for example, find that men's occupational experiences generally have conformed to the hourglass metaphor since 1969, although women's experiences do not. Douglass S. Massey and Deborah S. Hirst, "From Escalator to Hourglass: Changes in the U.S. Occupational Wage Structure 1949-1989," Social Science Research 27, no. 1 (1998): 51-71.

(20.) Paul Gilroy, "Driving While Black," in Car Cultures, ed. Daniel Miller (London: Berg Publishers, 2001), 94.

(21.) Ibid., 82.

(22.) Ibid., 95.

(23.) Coincidentally, transgender scholar and memoirist Deirdre McCloskey has pointed out that the cost of sex reassignment surgery (SRS) is comparable to that of a car--ranging from a 20,000 dollar "Ford" to a 90,000 dollar "Mercedes," depending on what procedures are required. Although we have no way of knowing whether Brandon would have chosen SRS, the film suggests that he desired medical intervention but could not afford it. Deirdre N. McCloskey, Crossing: A Memoir (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 22424.

(24.) For a discussion of Lotter's links with various white supremacist groups, see Judith Halberstam, In a Queer Time and Place (New York: New York University Press, 2005), 29. Michael Kimmel, "Contextualizing Men's Violence: The Personal Meets the Political," in Gender Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, ed. Laura L. O'Toole, Jessica R. Schiffman, and Margie L. Kiter Edwards, 2nd ed. (New York: New York University Press, 2007), 103.

(25.) Kimmel, "Contextualizing Men's Violence," 105.

(26.) Ibid., 101.

(27.) One idea common to studies of rape is that men's rape of women and other forms of violent sexuality are not entirely distinct from consensual sexuality, but may be seen as an intensification of the masculine gender norms of "dominance" and "conquest" and feminine norms of "sexual passivity" into which we are all socialized. See, for example, Edwin Schur, "Sexual Coercion in American Life," in Gender Violence, 91-92. If we keep this in mind, we might see the placement of Brandon in a position of passivity as feminizing or emasculating him.

(28.) Michael Kaufman, "The Construction of Masculinity and the Triad of Men's Violence," in Gender Violence, 34.

(29.) Kimmel, "Contextualizing Men's Violence," 103.

(30.) I draw the conclusion that Brandon has found a job based on a scene in which he wears mechanic's coveralls.

(31.) Laura O'Toole, "Subcultural Theory of Rape Revisited," in Gender Violence, 219-20.

(32.) Karina Eileraas, "The Brandon Teena Story: Rethinking the Body, Gender Identity, and Violence Against Women," Michigan Feminist Studies 16 (2002): 98 and 102.

(33.) "Cisgender" is a term used to refer to anyone who identifies with the sex/ gender s/he was assigned at birth. It is essentially the opposite of "transgender" and serves to mark the usually unmarked category.

(34.) See, for example, O'Toole, Schiffman, and Kiter Edwards, introduction to Section 2, Gender Violence, 198-99; and Carol-Ann Hooper, "Child Sexual Abuse and the Regulation of Women: Variations on a Theme," in Gender Violence, 346.

(35.) Elizabeth B. Erbaugh, "Queering Approaches to Intimate Partner Violence," in Gender Violence, 456.

(36.) Ibid.

(37.) John and Tom have recently returned from prison, and John has been corresponding from there with Lana since she was thirteen, suggesting the unequal nature of their relationship.

(38.) Kimberly Peirce, "My Search for Brandon: Kimberly Peirce Shares her Five-Year Struggle to Film Brandon Teena's Life in Boys Don't Cry," The Advocate, Oct. 26, 1999, 47.

(39.) Erbaugh, "Queering Approaches," 453.

(40.) O'Toole, Schiffman, and Kiter Edwards, introduction to Section 3, Gender Violence, 252.

(41.) Michael P. Johnson, "Domestic Violence: The Intersection of Gender and Control," in Gender Violence, 258.

(42.) Ibid., 265, 259.

(43.) Ibid., 259-60.

(44.) Linda Gordon, "Family Violence, Feminism, and Social Control," in Gender Violence, 309.

(45.) See Janice Raymond, "Sappho by Surgery: The Transsexually Constructed Lesbian-Feminist," in The Transgender Studies Reader, ed. Susan Stryker and Stephen Whittle (New York: Routledge, 2006), 134. Raymond argues: "All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves."

(46.) A number of critics have taken exception with the final love scene, arguing that in contrast to the "plastic" love scenes earlier in the film, this scene portrays Brandon and Lana as lesbians, betraying Brandon's male identity. See Judith Halberstam, "The Transgender Gaze in Boys Don't Cry," Screen 42, no. 3 (2001): 294; and Henderson, "The Class Character," 300.

(47.) Pidduck discusses this is relation to the Western genre, "a close cousin to the road movie." Pidduck, "Risk and Queer Spectatorship," 102.

(48.) Brody, "Boyz Do Cry," 91.

(49.) See, for example, Emi Koyama, "Whose Feminism is it Anyway? The Unspoken Racism of the Trans Inclusion Debate," in The Transgender Studies Reader, and Emily Skidmore, "Constructing the 'Good Transsexual': Christine Jorgensen, Whiteness, and Heteronormativity in the Mid-Twentieth-Century Press," Feminist Studies 37, no. 2 (2011): 270-300.

(50.) For a discussion of the class divide between perspectives that Patricia Elliot distinguishes as "transsexual" and "transgender," see Patricia Elliot, "Engaging Trans Debates on Gender Variance," Sexualities 12, no. 1 (2009): 10-11. In particular, Elliot summarizes Vivian Namaste's argument from her 2002 Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People that only certain socioeconomically privileged trans people have the "luxury to take on the gender order ... a stance that is simply not available to poor and working-class transsexuals whose ability to make a living, or to access housing or health care would be jeopardized by adopting a visibly transgendered body." (10)

(51.) See Namaste, Invisible Lives; and Kate Bornstein on "Being Transgender in America" with Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBCNews, April,15, 2012, http://

(52.) David L. Eng, "Freedom and the Racialization of Intimacy: Lawrence v. Texas and the Emergence of Queer Liberalism," in A Companion to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies, ed. George E. Haggerty and Molly McGarry (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2008); David L. Eng, The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010); Lisa Duggan, The Twilight of Equality: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy (Boston: Beacon Press, 2003), cited in Karen Tongson, Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries (New York: New York University Press, 2011), 10; Halberstam, In a Queer Time and Place, 37; Tongson, Relocations, 10-11.

(53.) Henderson, "The Class Character," 301.

(54.) For a wonderful review of the tendency of feminist, queer, and transgender theorists "to champion [only] certain expressions of transsexuality for their transgressive value," see Elliot, "Engaging Trans Debates," 6-7.

(55.) Bernice L. Hausman, "Recent Transgender Theory," Feminist Studies 27, no. 2 (2001): 473, 468.

(56.) Ibid., 473.

(57.) For an excellent review of other works focusing on "queer anti-urbanism," see chapter one of Tongson, Relocations.

(58.) Duggan, The Twilight of Equality, 50, cited in Tongson, Relocations, 10.

(59.) Tongson, Relocations, 5.

(60.) Ibid., 10-11.

(61.) For a review of "the new racism" and the way it is closely connected with and enacted through sexism, see the introduction to Patricia Hill Collins, Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism (New York: Routledge, 2004), 5. For a discussion of "modern sexism," see Kay Deaux and Marianne Lafrance, "Gender," in The Handbook of Social Psychology, ed. Daniel T. Gilbert, Susan T. Fiske, and Gardner Lindzey, 4th ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1998), 797
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Date:Mar 22, 2014
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