I was flipping through what is left of my botched Suddenlink channels (yes, after all this time I am still bitter) and came across a commercial for ABC Family’s new controversial show “My Transparent Life”, a docuseries following the success of Amazon’s show “Transparent.” It is about a family’s divorce as the father begins his transition into womanhood and how their son grapples with his brave choice.
We have been working hard to have minorities and the gay community represented in the media but the transgender population is breaking through the glass ceiling. It might finally be their time to shine.
Laverne Cox, an inspirational trans woman is best known for her role as Sophia in Netflix’s original series, “Orange is the New Black,” but also for her infamous 2014 Time magazine cover entitled “The Transgender Tipping Point.” She is, according to The Guardian, the first transgender black woman to hold a leading role in mainstream U.S. television and has opened a gateway for trans people to enter the spotlight.
More recently, Bruce Jenner, known world-wide for his (I say ‘his’ because his transition is yet to be confirmed) 1976 Olympic decathlon gold medal and his marriage to Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the Kardashian clan, has been under severe speculation of beginning his process of becoming a woman. His mother confirmed his transition with the Associated Press in February but it has yet to be confirmed by the man himself. The grandfather was said to star in a documentary series following his transition, but the show has been put on hold indefinitely.
His coming out could be historical and give a revolution the kick it needs to make it all the way because unfortunately to admit, he is a) a white male and b) an extremely famous, white male known for his days as the all-American-boy that once graced the cover of cereal boxes.
According to Rolling Stone, Against Me! founder, vocalist and guitarist, Laura Jane Grace produced her own online documentary series about coming out as transgender in the punk rock scene. Other trans shows in the works include a docuseries entitled “TransAmerica” by Tyra Banks for VH1 and “Three Suits” by Lena Dunham for HBO.
Mind you, these are only a few very well-known trans individuals that work in the media.
As a minority, I know the empowerment of seeing yourself represented in the media, and hopefully these breakthroughs will shed light on a growing group of individuals, their right to choose their identity, and the hardships they face every day.
According to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, an organization devoted to supporting the LGBT community in the media says that a staggering 90 percent of transgender people report experiencing harassment or discrimination in the work place and that 41 percent are reported to have attempted suicide compared to 1.6 percent of the general population. Trans people experience unbelievable amounts of violence and fear on a daily basis and they still are not allowed to serve in the U.S. Military.
ABC Family is said to be U.S. television’s most LGBT friendly channel out there, showing a lesbian and gay family in “The Fosters” with the only recurring transgender character in primetime scripted television for 2014-2015 played by trans actor Tom Phelan.
ABC Family has not set a premiere date for “My Transparent Life,” and when on the network’s website, the link for the show leads to an error page. Hopefully the show is on track to air and does not fall through.