“I am proud to be a man who loves transsexual women”, boasts Wayne Mahon. It took 43 years of his life for the film director to voice his passion for trans women, thereby leaving his alter ego Vogue Moran behind, which he created in order to suppress his sexual preferences. This featurette is a autobiographical documentary that works as a cathartic confession and unveils the difficulties of feeling as a “straight man” who loves male-to-female transsexuals in a traditionalist small town of East Coast in Connecticut, US.
The writing is on the wall: let’s talk about, overcome and embrace our differences. It starts when Mahon adopted Vogue Moran’s identity and moved to LA in order to become a big superstar. In the film he shows footage of this period, including a very amateurish “video script” scene he sent to the big studios and Mickey Rourke. These experiences probably helped him to create the film narrative. But the Vogue Moran bit was just an escape for a lonely eccentric guy who wanted to be accepted.
Leaving Vogue Moran feels naive at times, but still genuine and pertinent. It concentrates its narrative on telling Mahon’s history from comic buff to dating… well, we all know at this point…But does his family? This is the largest moral conflict of the film. Mahon is afraid of losing his father’s love by confessing his sexual preferences. And yes, the audience can expect a coming out scene to his father. There is plenty of suspense in the air as how his father will react.
This is the type of very personal film that can change the director’s life forever, and it can also inspire others to do the same. Its candidness is fascinating. On the other hand, it does not explore the lives of the transgender women that the director meets in depth. Perhaps Mohan still has a lot to learn about these incredible females, well beyond their sexual appeal.
Cinema is a powerful weapon of personal liberation, whether it’s for coming out “of the closet”, or breaking out of a silent shell. The featurette Life, Animated (Roger Ross Williams, 2016) revealed an autistic boy who was only able to communicate through films. The stories are very different, but in both cases cinema is instrumental in improving communication with family members. Click here for our review of the film.
You can view Leaving Vogue Moran on demand by clicking here, and you can also watch the film trailer below: