9 trans stories to read, watch, and hear this #TransWeek

From TV show characters to podcasts, the representations of transgender people in media are becoming increasingly authentic as more and more trans people are empowered to tell their own stories. GLAAD's recently released 2017-18 Where We Are on TV report confirmed that there are 17 regular and recurring transgender characters on broadcast, cable, and streaming services. Of those characters, nine are trans women, four are trans men, and four are non-binary people. Notably, this is the first time GLAAD has been able to include non-binary characters in the report.


Where We Are on TV 2017-18, GLAAD

This has been welcome progress, especially in a political climate that seeks to invalidate, undermine, and discriminate against LGBTQ people. However, just those 17 characters, on only 16 TV shows, can't begin to represent the diverse range of experiences within the trans community.

This #TransWeek, we want to celebrate some of our favorite content created by trans people, about trans people. Whether it be poetry, web series, or animated shows, it is in these types of trans-created narratives that our big, beautiful, diverse trans community can begin to see true reflections of ourselves. Give these incredible projects some well-deserved love!

1. Her Story – Web Series

The Emmy-nominated series Her Story highlights the lives of queer and trans women as they navigate relationships, romance, and their own identities. The web series was co-written by Jen Richards, a prolific transgender advocate, writer, and producer, and Laura Zak, an actress, writer, and queer woman. The series was directed by Sydney Freeland, who is also a trans woman. The series is about two trans characters played by trans women: Angelica Ross and Jen Richards herself. Representing the beauty, complexity, and reality of the queer community in media was a motivating factor in creating Her Story. The Her Story website says it best:

"Trans women in the media have long been punchlines, killers, indications of urban grit, pathetic tragedies, and dangerous sirens. Rarely have they been complex characters who laugh, struggle, and grow, who share strength in sisterhood, who seek and find love. Her Story depicts the unique, complicated, and very human women we see in queer communities, and explores how these women navigate the intersections of label identity and love."

Watch the entire series for free here.

2. One From the Vaults – Podcast

One From the Vaults is a monthly transgender history podcast, highlighting the figures, events, and scandals that have shaped trans history over the past 150 years in North America and Europe. The podcast is created and hosted by Montreal-based performance artist and writer, Morgan M Page. One From the Vaults is the first and only trans history podcast - making history as it tells it! As Morgan says at the beginning of each episode, listen to One From the Vaults for "all the dirt, gossip, and glamour from trans history."

Find the latest episodes of One From the Vaults on Soundcloud and iTunes.

3. Femme in Public – Poetry

 

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Non-binary artist Alok Vaid-Menon's recently published poetry chapbook, Femme In Public, is a poignant, gut-wrenching, and beautifully written collection grounded in Vaid-Menon's own life experiences. In the author's words, the collection "is a dream of what it could look like to celebrate transfemininity in public – both in ourselves and for the people who desire us (by which I mean: everyone, across time, always)."

You can order Femme In Pubic on their website as a PDF or as a physical-copy. Follow Alok on Instagram @alokvmenon.

4. A Queer and Pleasant Danger – Memoir and Documentary

Kate Bornstein is an author, performance artist, and long-time trans advocate, well-known for her groundbreaking works, Gender Outlaw and My Gender Workbook. Kate's memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger, details her lifelong journey of self-discovery, her gender identity, and much more. From her Jewish upbringing, through twelve years in the Church of Scientology, to her life as a celebrated queer icon, A Queer and Pleasant Danger is a riveting, exhilarating, brave, and honest piece of writing. This is a must-read for everyone, inside and outside of the queer community.

You can buy a copy of A Queer and Pleasant Danger here. If you're a fan of Kate Bornstein, also check out Sam Feder's brilliant documentary, Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger. Watch the trailer here and rent the movie on Vimeo here.

5. Kat Blaque – YouTube Channel

Outspoken LGBTQ advocate, intersectional feminist, and vlogger Kat Blaque hosts a YouTube channel where she talks about everything from contemporary politics to her own experiences as a Black trans woman. On her channel, she produces a weekly series called True Tea where she answers questions from her viewers about race, privilege, queerness, and more. With over 132k subscribers and thousands of viewers every week, Kat uses her large platform to discuss her own experiences of racism, transphobia, and how they intersect. Kat says it best herself: "I’m a woman, I’m Black, I’m curvy and I’m trans. There are a lot of things that I deal with. When I talk about those things, I am literally talking about my embodiment of these intersections."

Start watching her YouTube channel here—and don't forget to subscribe! 

6. Can't Wait – Music

Laith Ashley de la Cruz is known as one of the first transgender male models to ever appear in a national campaign, modeling for Barneys New York in 2014. In 2016, Laith starred in the GLAAD Media Award-winning reality show Strut on Oxygen. He's also a talented singer, songwriter, and dancer, releasing his first single titled "Can't Wait" this year. Listen to this catchy, pop hit on Soundcloud.

Join Laith's impressive following on Instagram @laith_ashley and keep up with his music on his website or on his Soundcloud.

7. Danger & Eggs – Animated TV Show

Danger & Eggs is a new animated show on Amazon, great for kids and adults alike. Created by producer and writer Shadi Petosky, an out trans woman, along with animator Mike Owens, the show follows the adventures of a fearless girl named D.D. Danger (voiced by SNL's Aidy Bryant) and her best friend, a giant talking egg named Philip (voiced by Eric Knobel). Danger & Eggs has a fiercely feminist point-of-view and amazing LGBTQ representation, from D.D. and Philip's non-binary friend Milo to the season finale's Pride celebration. Plus, the cast is packed full of queer stars—Stephanie Beatriz, Jasika Nicole, Angelica Ross, Cameron Esposito, Rhea Butcher, Tyler Ford, and Jazz Jennings, just to name a few.

Watch the first season of Danger & Eggs on Amazon here and let Amazon know you want to see a season two!

8. Private Dick – Web Series

D’Lo is a queer, trans Sri Lankan-Tamil-American actor, writer, and comic. His broad range of work includes stand-up, solo plays, films, music, poetry, and spoken word that explore D'Lo's experiences as a trans guy. Among his many diverse credits, he has appeared in HBO's Looking, Amazon's Transparent, and Netflix's Sense8. His most recent project, the web series Private Dick, is about a small-time private detective who just happens to be trans. D'Lo plays the lead character, Ducky, in the series. From finding missing dogs, to catching the thief stealing the temple's donation box, to fighting with his girlfriend and his mother, Private Dick is the type of funny, slice-of-life comedy that trans people usually don't get to star in.

Watch Private Dick for free here and learn more about D'Lo on his website.

9. Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen – Memoir

Jazz Jennings has been making the world a better place for trans youth since her and her family's first interview with Barbara Walters in 2007. In 2014, Jazz was named one of TIME's 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014, and she continues to inspire a generation of transgender kids to be their authentic selves. Her memoir, Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen, demonstrates Jazz's strength, resilience, and unique character through her story of transitioning at age five, growing up in the public eye, and navigating high school as girl who happens to be transgender.

You can buy Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen here. Jazz and her family are also featured in the popular TLC reality series, I Am Jazz. You can share Jazz's story with the kids in your life through her adorable picture book, also titled I Am Jazz.

 

About #TransWeek

Between November 13 – 17, individuals and organizations around the country will participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and address the issues the community faces. Learn more at www.glaad.org/transweek and follow @GLAAD on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to keep up to date with #TransWeek.

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