This week, a landmark comedy series called The Switch launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first season. The show will focus on transgender people and their experiences. Amy Fox, Executive Producer of the show, promises that all transgender characters will be portrayed by transgender actors, and she hopes to change the perceptions of trans people in reality by putting them in the spotlight on TV.
The series was originally set to hit the Internet as a web series in 2013 but after shooting the first episode, the show received additional funding to shoot a television-quality pilot. Now, the show will, hopefully, be hitting television networks in 2015, if they can raise the funds through crowd-sourcing in time. Ingo Lou, producer of The Switch, told us at GLAAD:
Interest in the show has skyrocketed and the show was optioned by OUTtv, a Canadian broadcaster. We've received interest from broadcasters internationally since then to buy the broadcast rights and air the series once production is complete next summer. We expect that The Switch will be available around the globe and [in] several different languages when all is said and done.
Bustle's Kat Hache asked Fox what she wanted to accomplish with the series, to which she responded:
First, I want to make something fun and uplifting — that brings geek media normally found online to the TV. In terms of transgender representation, I hope to make a series in 2015 that would otherwise not get made until 2030. I want to push transgender representation ahead by 15 years.
In an interview with GLAAD, Fox expanded on what she meant by this:
At first, a set of marginalized people aren't seen at all, unless they're the butts of jokes or menacing threats, always played by people in the majority - usually poorly. Over time, a few actors crack the casting ceiling to become guest stars in "topical" episodes and movies. Then we see one reoccurring marginalized character, then several, and then one day we finally get to the point where a minority character can actually be a lead with stories of his, her or zer own...Left alone, this process takes decades to unfold because the business of large media is socially insulated and views human diversity as foreign and strange...The first producers to make quality content here get to make up the rules. Our goal [is] to make better rules - to seek out, write, and tell stories of human diversity rather than shying away from them. This will allow us to skip decades of awkward misrepresentation and get right to the good stuff of the broad range of human experiences.
We also asked what stake cis-gender people will have in the show, to which Katrina Caudle, the show's publicist, responded:
The show is funny and quirky and geeky. It stands on its own as entertaining and fun to watch. People who are cis will have a stake because the production and work strive to be as entertaining and socially just as possible in every area. We're not only breaking ground with our portrayal of trans* stories, we're also breaking ground in how we talk about sex work, immigration, gentrification, and environmental issues. The writing team doesn't hold back and that drive will set us apart from anyone who wants to play it safe and flat. Media needs that fearlessness.
Finally, Caudle added:
The lives of trans people are more than just about transition and gender...The show's storylines span the everyday nuances of dating, sex, disclosure - the little details about transition and life that are less talked about...It also talks about how to put your life back together when it falls apart, how to create family and community, how to grow into your own brand of awesome, and more. All these things are part of trans experiences, but are not the totality of them. All of these things are part of a human experience. The show treats people like people - beautiful, complicated, with a breadth of experiences. This is what we need in society, less of a focus on othering people and more of a focus on emotional understanding that people are not the tropes we've attached to them.
The Switch Kickstarter campaign video.