Let me start by saying I know a male to female transsexual (she's also preop, a dominatrix, and a feminist activist who's been featured on Dateline NBC). In fact the story of how Ric Fergeson told me he was becoming Susan Stryker was a monologue I orginally did as I was developing my one man show.
I had met Ric when I was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma and we both got into student politics. In fact, Ric, Mike Bresson, and Bruce Kravitz and I all went to see Richard Nixon's first public appearance after he resigned the Presidency when he spoke at a fundraiser in Enid, Oklahoma for departing US Senator Henry Bellmon. It's a screenplay that's been kicking around in my head that I want to call "Touching Dick Nixon" - it was Ric who actually got to shake Dick's hand.
Anyway, fast forward to San Francisco, mid 90's. Ric had gotten divoriced from Brett (whom I also knew at OU through Ric) and had also just completed his dissertation from Berkeley in History. I called him up to go see an Oakland A's game. On the way to the game, he told me that he was in the process of becoming a woman. I looked over, and yes, he was starting to grow breasts. To a transsexual, it is not about sex or sex organs, but it is about gender identity. I learned a lot that afternoon. The A's won the game, by the way.
So with that background, I must say that Felcity Huffman was nothing less than perfect as a preop male to female transsexual. She is one brave actress and she deserves props for doing this movie (I imagine she did this before Desperate Housewives). I've always had a little crush on Felicity - I noticed her first in "Things Change" and "Reversal of Fortune". She always had little parts in this and that and did that awful Showtime series called "Bedroom" - at least she was topless in that and played a lesbian. "Sportsnight" should have been her breakthrough but, alas, no one really watched it.
The movie was better than I thought it would be - it tried to be shocking - but Huffman brought out such humanity in her character that she didn't fall into the trap of playing a transsexual but played a human being. It's nice to see her finally getting her kudos. William H. Macy is a very lucky man.