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A Conversation on Transgender Representation

I just read a stellar Howlround article speaking on cis artists attempts at creating trans actors.  Many points in the article struck me, but one that stuck out in particular was the idea that having a transgendered character is the latest fad.  It wowed me, because it was so true!  Currently, having a character with a larger plot line than being the strange woman on the street is very in.  I want to argue that this is not a fad, but an honest recognition of untold stories.  Yes, the stories are untold, but this is not evidence of a greater acceptance and understanding of the experience of transitioning.  Right now, television makes it a plot device.

The greatest evidence of this is that the transgendered stories we hear about are only about the transition.  Beautiful as that story is, it does not reveal a recognition of how human and regular a transgendered person is.  The stories are about transitions, but the stories are not Death of a Salesman played by an actor who is transgendered.  Currently, transitioning is a curious plot device.  The life of someone who happens to be transgendered is ignored.  My guess is that the transgender community needs art that shows them as regular people.  Right now we are dealing with regular cases of hate crime and murder in their community.    This happens because ignorant, hateful people are unable to see past the physical.  If we had stories of important, dignified people dealing with problems that is no different than cis individuals, there wouldn’t be such a large gap in sympathy.  Transitioning is an important story to tell, but that was the first step to welcoming a marginalized community into acceptance.  Now, It’s time for step two.  See them as people instead of a transgendered stranger.

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