Hollywood has a Trans problem.
Just after my last article went online, it was announced that actor Matthew Bomer would play a female trans sex worker in the adaptation of stage play Anything for the big screen. Too often this is the case with Hollywood films dealing with trans experiences. We are resigned to either being played by cis actors hoping it will nab them an Oscar or be exploited for trashy, insulting films. Thank god then, for Her Story.
Her Story is a six-episode web series that focuses on the friendship between a trans woman and a cis lesbian and how this friendship empowers them both. There are recognisable experiences for trans women peppered through the show, everything from fear of not passing to disclosing your gender identity during a date. In particular, the show shines thanks to an exceptional performance from trans actress, Angelica Ross. Ross embodies strength, shying away from so many of the narratives that depict our stories as just short of Shakespearian tragedy.
Her Story, however, is not perfect sadly. While it offers us a glimpse into the lives of these two trans ladies, there is little to no representation of the rest of our community. I hope that the success of Her Story will lead to more projects tackling the issues that others in the community face. What the show has done though is open doors for Richards and Ross. It has just been announced that both will guest star on Laverne Cox’s new show Doubt this autumn. In short, Richards and Ross will hopefully be able to be part of telling an authentic story about trans people on primetime TV. It’s clear the reasons why projects like Her Story are important.
They allow us to tell our stories how we see them and without worrying that the project will be controlled by upper management. More importantly though is the point I’ve mentioned previous to this. Small projects like Her Story can lead to cast and crew members joining bigger, more mainstream projects, hopefully using their voices and experiences to help tell more authentic stories about us. Only then can we get away from the mainstream output that purports to tell our story but often offer little to the conversation.
If you enjoyed Her Story and are looking for more films and TV shows to check out, these are picks from the community of what they feel best represents our stories.
Boy Meets Girl (suggested by Benji) – A romantic comedy about a trans woman trying to find love in Kentucky. Available now on Netflix.
Brothers (suggested by Felix) – A web series focusing on a group of trans man, their lives and relationships. You can watch the entire series on Youtube right now!
Steven Universe (suggested by Ollie) – A show about a young boy and his agender, rock based guardians who protect him and the earth. The show is available to watch through Cartoon Network in Ireland.
In a small piece of personal news, by the time you’ve read this I’ll have attended my appointment in Loughlinstown to find out if I’m started on oestrogen. This is really exciting and something I’ve waited nearly two years so fingers crossed, it’ll be good news. I’ll be back in a fortnight with another diary entry. Until then, take care.