Trans Visibility on TV

Ellen Page is now Elliot Page.  And Elliot is not only transgender, but also nonbinary.  “I love that I am trans.  And I love that I am queer.”  While I applaud this, it also confuses me – because some people are criticized if you use a trans person’s so-called “dead” name.  I am quick to point out that Elliot didn’t appear in Juno and get an Oscar nomination – Ellen did.  It’s like when Caitlyn Jenner posed with those Olympic medals – which I believe Bruce won.  Anyway, Page (first name redacted) added this: “The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared.  I’m scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the ‘jokes’, and the violence.”  Well, that takes the wind out of the sails of this item.


When I saw the first episode of the reboot of Saved by the Bell, I was shocked – shocked at how awful it was.  But I was triple shocked by Josie Totah, who plays mean girl Lexi.  What shocked me first was how fantastic she was – but I’ve always had a penchant for mean girls.  Then I was shocked when her character announced that she was trans – I had no idea.  Then I was shocked one last time when I learned that Josie is trans in real life – where have I been?  Regardless, I say, “Good for her”.  She not only had a hand in shaping her character’s narrative, she’s also a producer on the show.  And, thus far, she is the only – and I do mean ONLY – reason to tune in.

I was thrilled to see Alexandra Billings on The Conners last week.  The trans actress plays a trans character who is a supervisor at the factory where Becky works.  She was really terrific – and I’m thrilled to announce it wasn’t just some one-and-done scene.  She’s gonna be around for a while.

Then there’s J.J. Hawkins – another trans actor – who has been cast as a trans college student on Charmed.  One of the trades reported the news this way: “This is another step forward in authentic representation with a trans actor playing a trans role.  The news of Hawkins’ casting doesn’t come at a better time considering this week marks Trans Awareness Week.”  What I find more important than the casting is that all of these trans characters are showing up matter-of-factly in high-profile shows.  Well, some high-profile shows.  And Charmed.

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