[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
67°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
November 19
2003 - U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon introduces the first of several bills intended to block the 78-million-ton Cemex gravel mine in Soledad Canyon [story]


Cadence Valentine, a graduate student in social work at CSUN, recognized years ago that the media can be a powerful tool in helping people overcome their prejudices and preconceived notions about people who they think are different.

When Valentine received an email last year from Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne asking to meet with her as part of his research for his role in the now critically acclaimed “The Danish Girl,” the 35-year-old gave his request careful consideration, and then said yes.

“It was the kind of email that anyone would send — no pretense, no Hollywood anything – just like Eddie,” she said. “He had heard that I was a trans woman, that I have a partner who was with me for 11 years prior to transition and followed me through transition, and that we’re still together today, almost 15 years now. He wanted to talk because our experiences — of me and my partner, Trista — were similar to the ones in ‘The Danish Girl.’’’

Redmayne spent hours talking to Valentine and her partner, exploring the dynamics of their relationship and the strength of their commitment to each other when Valentine, then a perceptually male heterosexual, came out to Trista Hidalgo in 2011 and later transitioned.

“We pretty much opened up our entire lives to him and gave him a peak of what this whole experience was like,” Valentine said. “He was just amazing. I had been very, very nervous given all the politics in Hollywood and its representation of trans people. He understood. We both agreed that there are valid and inarguable problems regarding trans representation in the media. He got it, and I trusted that he would do a good job.”

Critics have lavished praise on Redmayne’s portrayal in “The Danish Girl” of 1920s landscape artist Einar Wegener, who transitions to Lili with the help of wife Gerda. But for Valentine, an advocate for the transgender community, the true test was whether Redmayne’s character accurately reflected what it is like to be transgender for her.

“His depiction is very genuine,” Valentine said. “The film is astounding. It is, in my opinion, flawless.

“There are little pieces of dialogue in the film, scenes in the film that are almost direct representations of stories we told him,” she continued. “My partner and I sat in a screening of the film holding each other’s hand, and every time one of those moments happened, we’d look at each other crying, squeezing the other’s hand.”

Valentine first attended CSUN from 2004 to 2006, studying cinema and television arts. But she dropped out to start her own business — a hot rod shop that customized cars.

“I did the whole masculine thing in my previous life: was a Marine, built hot rods and raced cars, and traveled the world doing it,” she said.

Valentine returned to CSUN a few years ago and earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in queer studies in 2014. She initially thought she wanted to serve as a counselor for others, including trans people, their families and loved ones. But as she became involved with CSUN’s Pride Center, which serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students, and helped establish programs for the campus’ trans community, her focus shifted.

“I came to CSUN with one direction in mind, but there came a specific point in my life when I realized that was not going to be my journey,” she said. “I’ve learned to master spinning lots of plates. As an undergrad I worked at the Pride Center while also working for a nonprofit in Hollywood as a coordinator of its HIV education and prevention program for trans women and MSM (men who have sex with men) community.

“While I was still dealing with all the hardships of being a trans woman, I also had a lot of privilege,” Valentine continued. “My story is so rare. Unfortunately, a lot of other trans people who come out do not have partners who support them. The partners aren’t bad people. When you are in a heterosexual relationship and your partner does not identify with the ideas you thought both started out with, you have to make a decision. It can be hard for somebody who defines themselves as heterosexual, not a de facto lesbian or queer. Just like one’s gender identity, sexual identity also isn’t a choice.”

Recognizing the gift her partner, Trista Hidalgo, has given her — her unwavering love and support — Valentine decided to become a public and vocal advocate for the trans community.

“I don’t see how I could not,” she said.

Valentine has been invited by CSUN faculty to educate their classes about the trans community. She founded and helped organize CSUN’s now annual Trans Awareness Week. She has educated students at various CSU campuses, USC, UCLA, Antioch University, Cal Arts and many more. She has also worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to educate law enforcement officials about the issues facing the transgender community and dispel misconceptions about trans people.

She also is part of a national effort to get health insurance companies and health care providers to remove exclusions of coverage based on gender identity and expression. Her first target several years ago was here in California. Kaiser Permanente, her health care provider at the time, refused to provide her coverage for her transition. She fought back and won, not only getting coverage for her transition, but for all trans Kaiser members who followed her. Kaiser is now considered a leader in the coverage it provides to the transgender community. Her efforts also contributed to changes at the state level, eliminating exclusions of coverage based on gender identity and expression in Medi-Cal recipients.

Valentine noted that there is some irony with her work on one of Hollywood’s most talked-about films of the year, “The Danish Girl.”

“The trans community seems to be a favorite topic to mine in Hollywood at the moment, with not only ‘The Danish Girl,’ but ‘Orange is the New Black,’ ‘Transparent’ and other shows,” she said. “Yet its unions, SAG-AFTRA and others, exclude trans coverage in their own group insurance policies. Someday soon, I hope that changes.”

In the meantime, Valentine is balancing even more plates in the air as she organizes a series of lectures CSUN Women’s Research and Resource Center to take place at the university next spring called “Behind Closed Doors.” The lectures will center around topics such as BDSM and discussions around Sex Work and decriminalization. She continues to accept requests to speak – across the country. She’s taking advantage of the opportunities “The Danish Girl” presents for her to educate people about what it is like to be a trans person.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


HIGHER EDUCATION LINKS
LOCAL COLLEGE HEADLINES
Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017
The College of the Canyons Athletics Department invites community members of all ages to run, walk, or jog in the ninth annual Thanksgiving Day 'Turkey Trot' event benefiting the college's cross country and track & field programs.
Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017
Hurricanes Irma and Maria cut a devastating swath of destruction across the Caribbean this fall. They upended vegetation, destroyed structures and left thousands of people homeless and without power for weeks. The extent of the devastation on the region’s fragile coral reefs is unknown.
Monday, Nov 13, 2017
Middle East scholar Mehrzad Boroujerdi will explore the growing tensions in the Middle East and the impact U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has on the region during a special lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at California State University, Northridge.
Thursday, Nov 9, 2017
College of the Canyons political science professors held a panel discussion on Wednesday — the one year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s election — allowing students to ask questions concerning the current state of affairs.
Thursday, Nov 9, 2017
Los Angeles-based record label Populist Records released new music from The Herb Alpert School of Music faculty, composer and guitarist Nicholas Deyoe and cellist Ashley Walters (Music BFA 07).
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
2003 - U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon introduces the first of several bills intended to block the 78-million-ton Cemex gravel mine in Soledad Canyon [story]
1957 - Newhall County Library dedicated on Ninth Street; rededicated as city of Santa Clarita's Business Incubator exactly 57 years later (2014) [story]
The WiSH Education Foundation helped students at Sierra Vista Junior High School in Canyon Country with a donation of guitars Friday.
WiSH Foundation Donates New Guitars to Sierra Vista
Rep. Steve Knight (R, CA-25), is sending this letter to constituents about H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives 227-205 Thursday.
Knight: House Tax Bill Offers ‘Unprecedented Relief’
Los Angeles County and city of Los Angeles officials have reached a key milestone in their partnership to create 10,000 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless people over the next decade.
LA City-County Partnership to Create Supportive Housing for Homeless
'SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical' officially opens at the Palace Theatre in New York on Dec. 4, but this weekend, NY-based CalArts alumni gather for a preview event.
Dec. 4: ‘SpongeBob SquarePants – The Musical’ Opens on Broadway
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, SCV Sheriff's announced the arrest of a Saugus probationer on drug and probation violation charges. Plus, a look at some more fun, holiday events happening this weekend. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, November 17, 2017
Seventy dancers from CalArts will present a massive ensemble performance outside the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15 and 16 at 8 p.m.
Dec. 15-16: CalArts Dancers Plan Massive ‘Impromptu’ Performance
REDCAT, CalArts’ downtown center for contemporary arts, in partnership with the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, will present the first-ever symposium on "Kandors," the last major project of renowned Los Angeles artist and CalArts alumnus Mike Kelley (Art MFA 78) on Saturday, November 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Nov. 18: REDCAT Symposium on Mike Kelley’s ‘Kandors’
Back in rainy Vancouver for the NAIA Cross Country National Championships on Saturday, the TMU Mustangs men's cross country team will look for more monumental firsts.
TMU Cross Country Poised for Podium Finish
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce invites local business owners and managers to a Chancellor’s Circle Breakfast briefing on 2018 employment laws in California at College of the Canyons' University Center on Friday, December 1 at 7:30 a.m.
Dec. 1: New State Employment Laws Outlined at Chancellor’s Breakfast
As part of the city of Santa Clarita's median turf removal project, nine medians on Orchard Village Road will be refurbished from November 2017 until approximately August 2018.
Orchard Village Road Medians to be Improved
'The Republican tax cut bill was written to help the rich at the expense of the middle class,' Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said after Thursday's vote on HR-1 in the House of Representatives.
Feinstein: House Tax Bill Would Aid Rich at Expense of Middle Class
The city of Santa Clarita, in partnership with Parkway Motorcars, will host a free Thanksgiving Dinner at the city’s Newhall Community Center on Monday, November 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Nov. 20: Community Thanksgiving Dinner in Newhall
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, November 21, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Nov. 21: County Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man at a Park and Ride lot in Newhall after finding marijuana and cash in his vehicle early Tuesday morning.
Man Arrested for Marijuana at ‘Park and Ride’ Gets Ride to Jail
The city of Santa Clarita will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the new River Village Trailhead at Bouquet Canyon Road and Newhall Ranch Road on Thursday, November 30 at 10 a.m.
Nov. 30: Ribbon-Cutting to Dedicate River Village Trailhead
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the county's first two influenza-associated deaths of the 2017-2018 flu season.
Two Flu Deaths Confirmed in LA County
Officers from the California Highway Patrol's Newhall station arrested a man in Valencia after chasing his vehicle from Bakersfield Thursday afternoon, according to authorities.
CHP Arrests Driver in SCV After Chase from Bakersfield
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station Narcotics Bureau deputies arrested a Saugus probationer on drug and probation violation charges Thursday morning.
Saugus Probationer Arrested for Drug Possession
1969 - Construction begins on Magic Mountain amusement park [story]
Boeing announced its investment in Santa Clarita-basted Gamma Alloys, a leader in aluminum alloys focused on developing advanced metal-matrix composites for use in aerospace, automotive and other industries.
Boeing Invests in SC-Based Aerospace, Defense Company
CSUN Men's Basketball head coach Reggie Theus has announced the signings of transfers Jordan Bell, Josh Jefferson and Amel Kuljuhovic to national letters of intent.
Matadors Add Three Recruits During Early Signing Period
The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) on Thursday released its annual account of hate crimes reported throughout Los Angeles County in 2016.
Report: Number of County Hate Crimes Remains High
Preparations are underway at the Michael Hoefflin Foundation as it gets ready for the 2017 Family Holiday Baskets.
Michael Hoefflin Foundation Requesting Donations for 2017 Family Holiday Baskets
Fifty-seven games including 15 matchups with 2017 NCAA Tournament teams highlight the 2018 CSUN Baseball schedule.
Matadors Release 2018 Baseball Schedule
The CSUN men's volleyball team wraps up a busy 17-day span this weekend, traveling to Westwood for the annual UCLA Fall Invitational.
Matadors Head to Westwood for UCLA Fall Invitational
The Williams S. Hart Museum located in Hart Park in Santa Clarita will host an Open House, “Exploring the Art at Hart,” on Sunday, November 19, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Nov. 19: Hart Park Open House, Exploring Art at Hart
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the Friends of Castaic Lake, will be hosting the 24th Annual Castaic Lake Winter Magic and Lighted Boat Parade, Saturday, Dec. 2nd at Paradise Cove, lower lagoon.
Dec. 2: Castaic Lake Winter Magic, Lighted Boat Parade
Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth will participate in the Santa Clarita Sierra Club’s first-ever “Mayor’s Family Hike” on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Nov. 19: Inaugural “Mayor’s Family Hike”
In anticipation of the busy holiday shopping season, Princess Cruises is launching its annual Cyber Sale, with two can’t-miss offers to the more than 360 worldwide destinations the cruise line visits.
Nov. 17-29: Princess Cruises Holiday Cyber Sale
Santa Clarita Elementary School will hold a Winter Wonderland Holiday Boutique, Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9:00 a.m - Noon.
Dec. 2: Santa Clarita Elementary Winter Wonderland Holiday Boutique
Two people were killed and two more were critically injured in a Wednesday evening crash on the northbound 5 freeway just south of Vista Del Lago, officials said.
Two Killed in Late Night Crash Near Pyramid Lake
STOCKTON – In this Caltrans News Flash, you get an up-close look as Caltrans transitions from 4-inch wide stripes to 6-inch wide stripes on the state highways, providing motorists with a better view of the road in darkness or inclement weather such as rain, snow and fog.
Wider Striping Part of Senate Bill 1, Provides Motorists Better View in Darkness
1997 - "Hercules" movie, directed by CalArts grad John Musker, wins four Annie Awards (animation's top honor) [timeline]