When he learned that an increasing number of people are identifying outside of the gender binary, 46-year-old Tony Brockman was incensed. In his opinion, there is only room for two genders, but a minimum of nine Rocky franchise films.
“I mean, it used to be that there were men and women. Now there are too many genders to keep track of,” Tony told us. “This stuff is being taken way too far.”
He then stated that his ranking of the Rocky movies in order from best to worst is Rocky IV, Rocky III, Rocky, Creed, Rocky Balboa, Rocky II, Creed II, and Rocky V.
When asked if he believes children are socialized to enact gender roles such as wearing either dresses or pants, Tony insisted that no such socialization exists.
“The idea that all clothing is gender neutral—it just doesn’t make sense. Certain clothes are for certain bodies. We don’t intentionally choose clothing to convey something about our identities,” he said, adjusting his fifth-favorite #1 ROCKY FAN baseball cap.
Tony is also concerned with the expectation that he should educate himself on gender theory and transgender history.
“There are all these books out there that trans people want me to read. Judith Butler this, Leslie Feinberg that,” said Tony who once spent two weeks on vacation in Philadelphia visiting various locations depicted in the Rocky films. “Who has the time for all of this?”
Tony’s views on gender have led to tension with his family and friends.
“I don’t understand why he’s so stuck in the past about this. The way people understand gender has varied all throughout history and cultural contexts,” said his coworker, Danny. “But he’s right about one thing, there should definitely be a ninth Rocky movie..”
Tony’s daughter has frequently attempted to talk to her father about his views, but he has not been receptive.
“I tell him, ‘Dad, it’s like Rocky. Rocky was a nobody loan collector and then he became a world-famous boxing champion,” she said. “Those things are both parts of him. Identities are fluid.’”
“It’s just not the same,” Tony told us when we asked him about these father-daughter discussions. “It’s not like Rocky tried to pick his own name or something.”
We asked Tony if he had any message he wanted to give the transgender community, and his response was impassioned.
“Please, for the love of God, cut it out,” Tony said. “I’m confused. I’m frustrated. Stop making more genders. Start making more Rocky movies.”