Orange County Movie Fans Message Board › "Trained In The Ways Of Men" a film review by Lauren
Los Angeles, CA
"Trained In The Ways Of Men"
The Life and Death of Gwen Araujo
By Lauren Ward
I recently happened across this engrossing documentary while scanning the new release shelves of my local Hollywood Video. Many might vaguely remember the case of a 17 year old Newark, Ca. transgendered woman who was brutally beaten and strangled by several acquaintances with whom she'd been partying and hanging out.
The film jumps around the timeline, beginning with Gwen's mother, Sylvia Guerrero addressing a vigil held shortly after the discovery of Gwen's body in a shallow grave some distance from the crime scene. We're provided with brief images of her childhood and gradual transition from cherubic boy child to lovely young woman. We also witness the gradual post-mortem realization as Sylvia fully accepts Gwen as her daughter. There are compelling sequences from both trials that rose from the case and the rallies and marches as the S.F. Bay Area GLBT community responded to the tragedy. Another case is paralleled in the more conservative community of Fresno. Legal and psychological experts are interviewed and what results is a tapestry of cause and effect in the case that resulted in a new California State law that reveals the "Gay/trans panic defense" for what it is, a strategic defense tactic to limit the punishment of violent criminals.The overriding message is that her death helped to call into question the commonly accepted cultural aversion and denial of one of its most subjugated minorites, the transgendered.
This film could be an amazing tool to help sensitize people to the struggle and vulnerability that trans-persons deal with, often from an early age. Even if documentaries aren"t your cup of tea, the 90 minutes spent with this film can't help but expand your mind and work your empathy muscle.
For more info check out www.reelfreedom.com
Edited by Lauren on Jul 10, 2008 7:03 PM