Women Who Have Played Male Roles in Movies: The photo to the right is of the talented Barbra Streisand who directed and starred as Yentl. I appreciated this movie because it showed a woman’s desire for education. This movie symbolizes the rights of all women (all people) to an education. It is appropriate to include Malala Yousafzai, who is pictured in a hospital bed in England. At 14 years of age she was shot by the Taliban for advocating women’s rights to an education.
Hilary Swank in 1999, won an Oscar for best actress in the movie, “Boys Don’t Cry.” This movie was based on the true story of Brandon Teena, a young woman who was a transgender man (without operations). Her rape, murder and story was written for the movie. Ironically, the movie making was concurrent with the murder of homosexual teenager, Matthew Shepard, who was killed on October 12, 1998. The film premiered in Toronto at the International Film Festival, where it received acclaim. Like Yentl, the story illustrates the violence and hatred directed towards gays/lesbians/transgendered persons that exists in so many parts of the world.
Death of Matthew Shepard:
Matthew was lured to his death by two men pretending that they were homosexuals. They beat him and tied him to a split-rail fence on a lonely road, on a cold night. Eighteen hours later, he was discovered by a cyclist who initially mistook him for a scarecrow. Matthew died in hospital with his family around him. Melissa Etheridge wrote and recorded the song “Scarecrow” in his memory.
The power of the media cannot be underestimated. All of us need to speak out and do our part to build world peace and social justice.