Hanging out on the couch with The Toddler Who Would Not Nap, I reached for the remote and flipped through the movies available On Demand. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, just waiting for something to catch my eye. I vaguely remembered Bicentennial Man from ads back in 1999. But I saw it was based on a story by Isaac Asimov, so I figured it wouldn’t be a waste of time.
Wow. So not a waste of time. A simple story, really, no big special effects or dramatic scenes, well, not physically dramatic. The drama was emotional. The story teaches us about humanity through the experiences of a non-human. Though it’s a very well used theme, Asimov does it well and Robin Williams performs it perfectly. Andrew Martin comes into existence as a robot and leaves this life as a human. His greatest dream, finally realized after 200 years, is to be seen as who he really is… not just the sum of his artificially created parts.
Lovely story, great science fiction, wonderfully rendered on the screen and it hit me square in the gut. I had no idea I was going to sit down to a sci fi movie and find myself with tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart, but I did.
I don’t have 200 years to be seen as who I am. My construction says one thing, my internal reality says a lot more. I’m probably asking for something nearly impossible, given the current state of society and the amount of time I have left in this life, but I dearly wish to be seen not just as a butch woman of mature age but also as a man who’s lived all his life within that woman. Largely unseen, but definitely real.
In a way, Andrew Martin had it easier, he looked just like the human man he wanted to seen as. I don’t have that advantage, especially considering we don’t have any societally recognized standards for what a genderqueer transmasculine person looks like. And for starters, society needs to recognize gender variance and accept that we don’t all fit into tidy check boxes on forms.
”… To be acknowledged for who and what I am, no more, no less. Not for acclaim, not for approval, but, the simple truth of that recognition. This has been the elemental drive of my existence, and it must be achieved, if I am to live or die with dignity. “
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