Falls City

Living in a rural community probably made it easier for Brandon to pass as a man initially, but it set him up for a difficult experience after being ‘found out’. Falls City, Nebraska is a small, homogenous town, any difference was seen as wrong and cast out. Members of the community were not used to being around a racially or sexually diverse population, so when they met Brandon Teena they were not alarmed because they did not have previous experience with people of differing sexual identities. There was never really a need to question whether a person in the town was gay or not because it was assumed that everyone was heterosexual even if they were a little effeminate or butch. The town didn’t even have the vocabulary or social awareness to understand Brandon’s explanations, which might be why he tried to explain through words like “hermaphrodite” and “sexual identity crisis”. They only seemed to take into account a black-and-white difference of male or female genitalia as the deciding factor, everyone besides Lana. Lana knew it wasn’t her business to demand an answer or a peak below the pants, and even if she did want to know she had the respect not to show it. The huge scandal became whether or not Brandon was a man, instead of whether or not Brandon was raped and by whom. Tom and John seemed to feel violated by the fact that they were being ‘fooled’ the whole time and had a right to do whatever they wanted now that Brandon was a girl. Lana’s mother said that she told the police nobody had the right to rape Brandon, but yet she felt as though she had the right to force Brandon to drop his pants and prove his sexual identity to her. 

-Annie Grant


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