I watched the movie, “The Danish Girl”, for the first time this evening. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it when I first decided to watch it. I was excited, curious, and hopeful that I would like it, but afraid I wouldn’t.
It was complex. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it. The male character, Einar, who flourishes into Lili, realized that Einar was the fake identity….his maleness was a mask that he was forced to wear. In embracing Lili, he left Einar, and who Einar was, behind. Einar was a painter, Lili was a women’s boutique sales lady. Einar was married, Lili loved men, though from a distance for the most part.
I, as a transgender person, can totally relate to the idea of wanting to take the skin I’m born in and change it utterly. I look at my body, and still, after 47 years, am shocked when I see the maleness of it. Dismayed, saddened, tortured. Where there are male parts, I always expect to see the female.
But, the part I couldn’t get was how Einar completely disappeared. I don’t want to lose myself. I like myself, for the most part. I like being a “dad” to my children. I can’t imagine just taking everything that makes me who I am, and changing so utterly, to where I am unrecognizable as, well, me.
I want to change the bits, correct what I believe is a birth defect. I don’t want a personality lobotomy.
One line in the movie struck me. “God made me a woman, the doctor is fixing the birth defect.” I love that line. God made me a woman. I am using medical science to correct the error. To me, it’s like repairing a hair lip. I suppose that makes it difficult to those who are completely in tune with what their mind and body tells them, to understand. The surgery to me is like removing an extra finger…repairing a cleft palate. I will still be me, just the true genuine me.
The movie was moving. The end was tragic, as far as Lili Elbe died. Turns out her friend, Einar’s wife, continued to paint Lily the remaining years of her life. It was tragic that Lili couldn’t live free.