John Cameron Mitchell as Hedwig in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
If you’ve ever seen John Cameron Mitchell’s most famous film Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001), then you already know that its male-born titular hero undergoes a botched gender reassignment surgery in order to leave communist East Germany as a married woman during the late ’80s. But while many fans see Hedwig as an empowered transgender icon, Mitchell recently said that he doesn’t consider Hedwig as trans at all.
In an interview with Advocate.com, Mitchell said:
Indeed, early on into the film, Hedwig’s backing man says that she represents both man and woman, and near the end Hedwig transforms back into her male persona Hansel, so it makes sense to see Hedwig as genderfluid or genderqueer moreso than trans.
Though Hedwig remains Mitchell’s most influential creation, in 2017 he released his fourth film, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, a sci-fi punk rock film based on a Neil Gaiman story set in Lindon during the 1970s. He also directed the 2006 explicit sexual fairy tale Shortbus (which is currently unavailable for viewing at theaters for distribution reasons) and the criminally underseen 2010 Rabbit Hole which starred Nicole Kidman as the mother in a straight couple who’s just lost their young son.