November 14th through the 20th marks Transgender Awareness Week. According to GLAAD, Transgender Awareness Week was founded to “help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and address the issues the community faces,” and throughout the week, many individuals from around the world have shown their support for this community by posting on social media, paid tribute to influential trans activists, as well as attended services and discussions about the transgender community. However, another way to celebrate this week is to tune some of the television shows and movies that center around trans individuals. One of the biggest issues that face the trans community is a lack of representation in the media, but over the past several years we have seen significant changes made by the entertainment industry to embrace gender diversity and expression. Here are some of our favorite television shows and movies which shed light on the trans community that you should be watching during Transgender Awareness Week.
This reality show from Oxygen Media stars the models and managers of the Slay Models, a modeling agency in Los Angeles that caters specifically to transgender models. The cast includes America’s Next Top Model alumni Isis King, as well as Instagram sensation Laith De La Cruz. This show will have you hooked on the dramatic storylines of each of the models and completely compelled by their inspirational transformations.
Speaking of transformations, MTV recently premiered a documentary chronicling the lives of six trans teens and adults as they navigate the world beyond the traditional gender binary. MTV has literally been killing it over the past year, putting out phenomenal short films through their Look Different Contest, as well as addressing issues of racial, gender, and sexual inequality in their regular television programs.
This show, which has won multiple Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy awards, is a must-watch during Transgender Awareness Week. It centers on Maura Pfefferman (played by Jeffrey Tambor) who decides to transition toward becoming a woman after retirement. The show also stars trans actors Alexandra Billings, Alexandra Grey, Trace Lysette as well as trans producers Rhys Ernst and Zachary Drucker, trans writers Ali Liebegott and Our Lady J, and trans director Silas Howard.
Mala Mala is a documentary that follows the lives of 9 trans individuals living in Puerto Rico. The film features April Carrion, who was a contestant on the sixth season RuPaul’s Drag Race and joins the ranks of several Drag Race contestants, including Carmen Carrera, Kenya Michaels, and Monica Beverly Hills, who have come out after having a successful career as drag queens.
This comedy-drama stars Sin-Dee Rella, a trans sex worker played by Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and her story after learning that her boyfriend/pimp has cheated on her. The film was shot in Hollywood on three iPhone 5S smartphones and premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
Boy Meets Girl
Straight from across the pond, this BBC original series provides a comic approach to dating, family, and daily life of trans individuals. The show stars trans actress Rebecca Root, who sparked international controversy when she auditioned for the role of Lili Elbe in the movie The Danish Girl and the role was given to cis-male actor Eddie Redmayne. Root is featured in the film, as Elbe’s nurse, however, it’s fair to say that her character in Boy Meets Girl is much more developed, sophisticated, and appropriate for the actress.
Photo via Oxygen Media
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