SGA hosts movie, raises LGBTQ+ awareness

Jared Morgan, Staff Writer

FMU’s English department partnered with the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) to host the award-winning 2015 film “The Danish Girl” for the English film studies with two showings at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Jan. 28 in the Lowrimore Auditorium.

The showing was intended to create a discussion on gender identity, transgenderism and the evolving views on LGBTQ+ awareness. Each showing was followed by an extensive discussion of the film and its overall message.

“The Danish Girl” is loosely based on a true story set in the 1920s, which tells the story of Danish painters Lili Elbe and Gerde Wegener. Elbe was one of the first people to undergo sex reassignment therapy and the film explores the complex reality of navigating gender identity in a time of rigid social and gender norms.

Elbe’s journey of self-discovery and the complex relationship with her wife is explored and analyzed in the film. It was met with both accolades and controversy, with the portrayal of a transgender woman by a cisgender male (Eddie Redmayne) being a major talking point in the after-movie discussion.

The event was led by Shawn Smolen-Morten, associate professor of English, alongside GSA. Smolen-Morten specializes in film studies and gender issues. He discussed several questions on representation, culture and how social norms change over time.

“These issues are complicated and we don’t understand them yet,” Smolen-Morten said. “There’s value in how we understand gender and sexuality, so we can better control them and better understand each other.”

Students came from a variety of majors and classes to discuss and evaluate the cultural significance of LGBTQ+ media and its importance in mainstream media. One student who attended was junior Kyla Allen who came from her intro to anthropology class.

“The movie conveyed a tenderness of an understanding relationship,” Allen said. “Where acceptance was not a question, but a process. It opens up the definition of gender, sexuality and what love truly means.”

Following the movie’s conclusion, Smolen-Morten opened the floor for discussions about the various topics tackled in the film; such as creative liberties taken with the film, the location of the movie, the context of Copenhagen’s culture in the 20s and how our modern society has evolved in its views toward the discussion and integration of gender-identity in our society.