It's been like 6 years for me but a showing of that movie at a university with a panel afterward was my first actual exposure to how "dysphoria" worked. The panelists discussed how brandon's naivete showed during the scene with the trucks and stuff- "he" doesn't yet understand he's the butt of a joke by being such a crazy footloose guy. He doesn't understand he's seen as a dangerous idiot because he doesn't fully understand the unspoken of male socialization. and people who buy it don't know that. They don't know "he" is a woman playing along. I'm using he here because in the eyes of the other characters Brandon is a guy.

during the q and A the women in the panel talked about how the movie switches from a straight gaze to a lesbian gaze at the end and this is one of the issues with the movie. i asked why brandon wouldn't have just been okay receiving oral sex from the girlfriend and they were like "He doesn't even want to be reminded of his vagina existing". I felt dumb for asking the question later when dysphoria made sense to me, but now I'm wondering, does that end scene, while just a fiction, represent healing of Teena via embrace of homosexual identity?

Because now that I'm older, I'm connecting the dots, and I'm realizing if I was a rape victim i wouldn't want to be reminded my vagina existed either. Attempting to escape femaleness was her attempt to get the target off herself, an attempt to have some kind of power left in her body. I wish I realized why before all this stuff started making sense. I'd do anything to go back to that q&a and ask about the association of trauma and transness, because in 2015 I wouldn't be labelled a transphobe for simply not understanding or asking a question to a professor.

The panel was run by older women by the way.

I thought it was interesting the pain at the end is framed as them hating Brandon for being Trans and not for being Female. And of course irl the girlfriend did end the relationship or so she claims...didn't she sue for slander or something because the film depicted the sexual relationship continuing even after it's revealed that brandon was female?

Ultimately I feel bad for brandon, I thought she was beautiful, and I genuinely feel a well in my heart when i think about her death. I think it's important for people to remember her biological femaleness was central to her rape and murder. And it was toxic masculinity and homophobia that not only caused her to run from herself but also made the killers hate her.