If GLAAD has anything to do with it, you're not going to see Israel Luna's horror flick "Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives" at the Tribeca Film Festival this year. The LGBT advocacy organization issued a call to action today, demanding that the movie be pulled from the festival's lineup. The reason for the hullabaloo? Well, the film, intended as a campy sendup of 1970s B-movies, shows a squadron of transgender women gruesomely attacked by a group of men. The survivors of the beating then vow revenge, going after their would-be murderers with baseball bats and, one assumes, knives. In its call to arms, GLAAD accuses "Ticked-Off Trannies" of conflating transgender women with drag queens and using "exploitative depictions of violence against transgender women in ways that make light of the horrific brutality they all too often face."
Lest anyone assume otherwise, violence against transgender folks is a serious issue. Clearly, no one should encourage the kind of senseless brutality that transgender people face every day. In real life, that stuff is far from funny. Luna's film, however, operates far from the realm of real life. In an interview with Queerty, Luna, a gay director himself, explained that the movie is essentially an elaborate revenge fantasy, a way of fighting back against the victimization of the LGBT community. "Whenever I hear people saying 'Fight hate with love' and 'Love the bashers' I'm like 'No, fuck that. Let's go get the bats and bash them back," Luna said. It's a controversial point of view, and "Ticked-off Trannies" is the director's Tarantino-esque enactment of it, a world where transgender women aren't prey to homophobic slashers so much as badass vigilantes. It's no more real than the idea of a "good" serial killer or a roving band of Nazi-killers.
Which isn't to say that makes this world compelling -- unlike the GLAAD representatives, I haven't seen more than the trailer (posted below), which didn't exactly make "Ticked-Off Trannies" look like Fellini. Still, it seems like much of GLAAD's protest stems from their judgment that they just didn't think the movie was that good: "Humour can be used to challenge and subvert, but this movie fails on both counts." I'm not sure that there are many good reasons for banning a film, but I can tell you this: not finding it funny isn't one.