The other evening I (along with 5.3 million others) watched Accused, the TV show where Sean Bean plays a transvestite, and ends up in court accused of Murder. The writing and performances were strong, but did I enjoy the show? well yes I did, the reservations that I have are based more on the design than anything else.
Bean was not visually convincing as a cross dresser, the choice of wig and clothing coupled with his masculine features meant that no one would ever be in any doubt as to his birth gender. While it is true that we all desire to be desired, to be sexy, we also generally will choose to blend as much as possible. The "Holy Grail" of cross dressing is to pass, that is to pass as being of the gender which we choose to present. Tracie (the Bean character) would never pass, both the hem lines and the heels were too high, the whole presentation was just too flamboyant. This coupled with some of the dialogue also made Tracie come across as a sexual predator. For example dressed in spangly mini-dress and fright wig, the burly Tracie asked a bartender for a "multiple orgasm".
"On the rocks?" he asked mechanically.
"Wherever, darling," she quipped back, "I'm easy."
However there was a good effort at showing both the vulnerability of the character, and the differences between Tracie and her male self. Primarily a difference in self confidence and fulfilment. Bean in particular seems to have made a major effort to make this as sympathetic a portrayal as possible a couple of times showing the fear and powerlessness that many of us have experienced. But, overall it has to be remembered that this is a play about betrayal, extramarital affairs and honesty in which a character is a transvestite, not a study of transgenderism.