Sunday evening AMC dipped its toes in the reality genre by premiering Small Town Security, an unscripted look at a small town family-owned security and investigation company. Under the guidance of Joan “The Chief” Koplan and her beloved Chihuahua Lambchop the peculiar but endearing crew of JJK Security gives Small Town Security viewers a unique perspective of life in the rural community of Ringgold, GA.
In the pilot, The Chief, who anchored a public access television talk show five years ago, yearns to return to her hosting duties but differences with the station’s management have prevented her from doing so. After some negotiations, she convinces UCTV to allow her to return. Her first guest is JJK Security employee “Lieutenant” Dennis Croft who oversees and trains the security officers at the company. Five years ago, on The Chief’s show, Croft came out as transgender to the small Georgia community. As he returns to television, in a moving interview he comes out to Small Town Security viewers, telling everyone that transitioning allowed him to “feel free.”
Croft is the only transgender man on a reality program currently on the air and joins the ranks of the scarce images of trans men seen on television. Last year Chaz Bono danced his way into the heart of the American public on the GLAAD Media Award-winning reality program Dancing with the Stars and Tyler Ford recently competed on The Glee Project, while Degrassi continues to feature the only regular or recurring transgender man in a scripted series.
GLAAD: What were your first thoughts when you were approached to do the show?
Dennis Croft: My first thought was that our small piece of this world would be quite entertaining to others.
GLAAD: What was it like coming out as transgender in your Georgia community?
DC: I haven’t really felt a change…those who know me and about me haven’t flinched. I found that surprising. It has not been what I expected of others and I see that folks are not the typical haters of my kind that I thought. The South has grown up from the childish games of prejudice.
GLAAD: What has your relationship with Joan (“The Chief”) been like since first meeting her?
GLAAD: How have your coworkers accepted you since coming out as transgender?
DC: They all hold a level of respect…some more than others but all acceptable.
GLAAD: Is there anything you hope viewers take away from watching the show?
DC: Be unafraid of who you are. Do not let yourself nor anyone tell you what you should be or how to live your life. Reach deep into yourself and see who you are and live that. That is your truth and it is the truth to all.
Small Town Security airs on AMC on Sundays at 11/10c.