This week marked the State of the Union address, and boundaries have been broken once again. President Obama spoke about American values and principles of human dignity, justice and civil liberties. While speaking, he said “we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims, …. or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We do these things not only because they are the right thing to do, but because ultimately they will make us safer” Previously, former President Bill Clinton was the first president to say the word “gay” in his State of the Union Address back in the year 2000. It has taken fifteen years to include mention of those who are bisexual and transgender.
The struggles of transgender individuals are also becoming more prominent in popular culture, such as the character of Sophia in Orange is the New Black, incarcerated in a woman’s prison. One of these struggles is also represented in the feature film Pop Kowboy, distributed by World Wide Motion Pictures. The film concerns three diverse characters trying to find themselves and getting entangled in each others lives. Frankie, played by Craig Olsen, is transgender woman in need of money, who meets Vinnie, played by Ronnie Marmo (from General Hospital), an incompetent aspiring gangster, who has been given one last chance to make good with the local mob boss. Pony, played by Shawn Driscoll from America's Sweethearts, is a wannabe cowboy who has trouble finding love. He botches the briefcase delivery with Vinnie and ends up on the run with Frankie, beginning their own special friendship. The LGBT angle is a small portion of the film, and not sensationalized, giving the humorous film a non-stereotypical feel. The film also shows how difficult family life can be for a transgender person, and why President Obama’s State of the Union address was so historic.