My top 10 gender-bending characters

According to Gael Garcia Bernal (who features on this list) we all have a bit of us that wants to dress up as the opposite sex. I can’t say whether he’s right or not but we certainly are fascinated with those whose gender identity is a little, shall we say, flexible. These are my top ten characters who have spent some time experimenting with transgenderism.

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Dorothy Michaels/Michael Dorsey
Played by: Dustin Hoffman
Film: Tootsie (1982)
Believability rating: 8/10
“Dorothy Michaels: Oh I know what y’all really want is some gross, caricature of a woman to prove some idiotic point that power makes a woman masculine, or masculine women are ugly. Well shame on you for letting a man do that, or any man that does that. That means you, dear. Miss Marshall. Shame on you, you macho shit head.”

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Noxeema Jackson
Played by: Wesley Snipes
Film: To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995)
Believability rating: 5/10
“Noxeema Jackson: [to Clara] Ms. Vida seems to think that I don’t have a dream. Well, honey, I’m not Martin Luther King. I don’t need a dream. I have a plan. You know I’m gonna tell you what it is, because instinctively I knew I could trust you, being as you’re not a big talker and everything. My plan is that while in Hollywood I will be approached by an imminent producer, at The Ivy no doubt, to star in the lush film version of the Life of Ms. Dorothy Dandridge. Yes that noble blacktress, who never played domestic help. And then who’s career was crushed by the white Hollywood machine.”

Mitzi-del-bra-queen-of-the-desert

Anthony ‘Tick’ Belrose/Mitzi Del Bra
Played by: Hugo Weaving
Film: The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (1994)
Believability rating: 2/10
“Tick: [to Felicia] Is it true when you were born the doctor turned around and slapped your mother?”

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Mel “Nuno” Wandel
Played by: Anjorka Strechel
Film: To Faro (2008)
Believability rating: 9/10

jared-leto-dallas-buyers-club-transgender

Rayon
Played by: Jared Leto
Film: Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Believability rating: 6/10
“Rayon: I’ve been looking for you, lone star.”

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Frank ‘n Furter
Played by: Tim Curry
Film: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Believability rating: 3/10
“Frank: [singing] I’m just a sweet transvestite, from Transsexual Transylvania.”

doc-8269Patrick “Kitten” Braden
Played by: Cillian Murphy
Film: Breakfast on Pluto (2005)
Believablity rating: 7/10
“Patrick “Kitten” Braden: If I wasn’t a transvestite terrorist, would you marry me?”

boysdontcry3

Brandon Teena
Played by: Hilary Swank
Film: Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Believability rating: 10/10
“Brandon: “Dear Lana, By the time you read this I’ll be back home in Lincoln. I’m scared of what’s ahead, but when I think of you I know I’ll be able to go on. You were right, Memphis isn’t that far off. I’ll be taking that trip down the highway before too long. I’ll be waiting for you. Love always and forever, Brandon.””

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Zahara
Played by: Gael Garcia Bernal
Film: Bad Education (2004)
Believability rating: 7/10

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Doofer/Roberta
Played by: Harland Williams
Film: Sorority Boys (2002)
Believability rating: 1/10
“They kicked me in the vaginas!”

23 Comments

  1. No Mrs Doubtfire? Shocking.

    1. Abbi

      There were too many great ones to choose from! I could have had 20!

  2. Great picks! But I can imagine you could work on this for days! I love the addition of Frank ‘n Furter, The Rocky Horror is such a blast. Doofer was so NASTY!! xD

    I always liked Willem Dafoe trying his luck in The Boondock Saints.

    1. Abbi

      I really could have had 20. Frank ‘n Furter is the original sweet transvestite!

      1. From Transexual, Transylvania!

    1. Abbi

      I’ve never seen it!

  3. Interesting idea for a list Abbi! WOW, Cillian Murphy is so pretty, gosh he’s more beautiful than even most real women, ahah.

    1. Abbi

      He is a stunner!

  4. Nice choices. Great list.

  5. Ha! Another great list. Glad you have Boys Don’t Cry in here. God that movie is depressing. Wow – Cillian Murphy is pretty!!! Hugo Weaving is not… 🙂

    1. Abbi

      Lol! Hugo Weaving is definitely not a particularly believable woman!

  6. Laughed out loud at Snipes in that pic! I found Leto very believable! He did an extraordinary job!

    1. Abbi

      He was amazing. A career defining performance for him.

  7. Great picks, especially Cillian Murphy and Hilary Swank. I’d add “Agrado” from Almodóvar’s “Todo Sobre mi Madre”.

    1. Abbi

      Excellent suggestion. Almodovar loves playing with gender roles!

      1. Yes. And he’s so great at creating characters.

  8. I’d have put Chi Chi instead of Noxeema. My goodness is John Leguizamo pretty!!
    I also loved Corey Haim in Just One of the Girls. He was so cute!! hehe
    And RuPaul in anything. Love that bitch 😉

    1. Abbi

      Chi Chi is pretty awesome as well. I did think for a long time before I picked. I haven’t seen Just One of the Girls. I will see if I can find it.

      1. It’s also called Anything for Love.

  9. A great list! One film I really like is Different For Girls (1996): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Different_for_Girls
    It stars Rupert Graves and Steven Mackintosh who were close friends at school but lost contact. They meet again years later by accident, but Steven Mackintosh’s character Karl has since undergone sexual reassignment surgery and is now called Kim. It’s a really great film and is well worth watching 🙂

    1. Abbi

      I have not seen that but it sounds like something I’d enjoy. I need to check it out.

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