Representations of Transgender Filipinas in Philippine Cinema

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Castañeda, M.K.B. (2018). Representations of Transgender Filipinas in Philippine Cinema, Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines Diliman College of Mass Communication.

This qualitative study examines the thematic representations of transgender Filipinas in Philippine cinema and their social and cultural implications. For the initial results, the thematic representations concentrate on their persona, particularly their language and voice pitch, their qualities and gender expression. Secondly, the research focuses on their occupational portrayals. They were portrayed either as beauticians or as beauty pageant queens. Trans women were also constructed as caricatures within the comedic genre. This particular representation is countered by the humanization of trans women through drama. Thirdly, the study delves into the salient experiences of trans women narrated in cinema such as gender transitioning, forcing of masculinity, short-term relationships, shaming, abuse and harassment.

In the discussion section, a contextual analysis guided by Foucault’s theory of discourse was produced to further comprehend the data collected. The research then evaluates and critiques the dominant discourses of heteronormativity and patriarchy. The study also sociologically analyzes institutional mechanisms that fuel aforementioned discourses. These discourses are also purveyed by micro-level mechanisms such as basic societal units as thematically represented by local cinema.

Keywords: transgender, representation, heteronormativity, patriarchy, film, women