Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Sex Change, a Mannequin and Scottish Politics

On paper, it has the makings of student film of the year. To be directed by 28-year-old James Tew, currently enrolled at Glasgow's Stow College, this short documentary will star Renée Slater, a 63-year-old woman who used to be a man, and Helena Torry, the dressmaker's mannequin she registered as a candidate for Aberdeen City Council elections May 3rd.

In the mid-1980s, Slater - when she was still Ron - worked as a Labor Party councilor in the very same Aberdeen district. However, his political career came to an abrupt end when he was convicted of defrauding the city council of about $500 U.S.

Three decades later, Slater has caused more trouble, registering Helena for the upcoming elections as an act of protest against a planned urban development. When Aberdeen officials found out about the ruse this week, they scrubbed “Helena Torry” from the ballot. And once again, Slater is being investigated for fraud.

"The Voice of the Silent Majority"

Despite these setbacks, Tew tells the Scottish Sun newspaper he is moving forward with the film project:

Tew revealed he will follow the mannequin and her election agent Slater on trips around the city — and has no fear his leading lady will freeze. The film student added: “Despite being a dummy, Helena’s got loads of charisma. I think she’ll be a fascinating subject.” “She’s become so famous that everyone is desperate to find out all about her. She’s built up a big following.”

There is currently a petition on to have Helena reinstated on the May 3rd Aberdeen ballot. At the time of this posting - besides Slater and Torry - eight people have signed it, including yours truly.

[James Tew's Vimeo page]


  1. Maybe Helena could front up the Free Cabrach Campaign?
    Jazz up the sustainable living and independence debate.
    Sandy X

  2. Git yir dress on we're gettin hitched!