Eliza Steinbock
On Not Really Being There. Trans Absence/Presence in Dallas Buyers Club
– Feminist Media Studies
Journal Article 2018


Recently more trans characters, even as main protagonists, star in film and media representations, perhaps in tandem with an increased recognition of trans rights globally. In this article we argue that the visual and aural grammars of cinema perform a double movement of inclusion and elision, making for a fascinating if utterly frustrating uptake of trans presence that is at once, perforce, also an absence. Our case study of the Rayon character in Dallas Buyers Club is an example of a recent sexualized representation of trans femininity. Our textual analysis will deconstruct this character’s presence and absence on the level of the film’s aesthetical and technical aspects demonstrating how cinematic grammar implicates cisgenderism.