|December 21st, 2016||#1|
"Gender-Fluid Performer" qualifies for both men's and women's awards at The Oscars
It’s been a dizzying few weeks for Kelly Mantle, the gender-fluid performer whom the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences deemed eligible for both female and male acting categories at the Oscars this year.
A little-known fact: Mantle’s uncle was the baseball great Mickey Mantle. But more on that in a bit.
Chances of the performance winning an Oscar are a nonstarter. The film, “Confessions of a Womanizer,” which was written and directed by Miguel Ali and also stars Gary Busey, wouldn’t have registered as a blip in the awards race were it not for this news.
But for Mantle, who said that for the purpose of this article it was O.K. to use either “he” or “she,” the development not only raised visibility — the news was picked up by outlets around the world — but also led to an emotional outpouring from transgender and gender-fluid youth across the globe.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so thankful for all the messages and stories; I’m taking time over the holidays to respond,” Mantle said, speaking by phone from Los Angeles, where he is shooting a pilot. Mantle said it was Mr. Ali’s idea to submit his performance for consideration in both gender categories, which was also a first.
Mantle, now 40, grew up in Oklahoma; his father, one of Mickey Mantle’s four younger brothers, was a high school football coach, and the performer said his brother was an all-star athlete. Mantle went into acting and singing young, and said he always had the full backing of the people close to him. “I’m so blessed with an amazing family,” Mantle said. “Mickey supported me when he was alive.”
Still, he said the news has drawn a considerable amount of venom from the right wing, which Mantle said he understood — to a degree.
“When you do anything for the first time and it’s historic, you’re probably going to have 50 percent on your side and 50 percent against,” Mantle said. “But as far as we know we’re only given one life to live. If something is different from your life, why not celebrate? I don’t understand the instant reaction to be anger and hate, and ‘I haven’t heard about it before so it must be wrong.’”
In “Confessions,” Mantle plays Ginger, a transgender prostitute who “ends up being the voice of reason in the film.” Filmmakers have been criticized for making so many transgender characters prostitutes, to the point of stereotyping, but Mantle said that was changing, even though, he joked, he is “kind of the go-to trans prostitute in Hollywood.”
“You can find me at the corner of Santa Monica and Highland,” he said.
“The conversations have opened up a lot more,” Mantle added. “Filmmakers and writers are understanding if you’re going to write these type of characters, they’ve got to give you human beings, and not just the butt of a joke.”
read full article at source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/21/mo...rmer.html?_r=0