"Transparent" inspires web docu-series "This is Me"

On May 29, 2015, Wifey.tv announced a new online docu-series This is Me  inspired by Amazon's Transparent. Each episode explores some of the difficult, real-life issues experienced by transgender and gender non-conforming people, including coming out, bathrooms, misgendering, transfeminine sisterhood in the face of violence, and the struggles of trans people of different generations.

The series is told through conversations between transgender and gender non-conforming people including Maya Jafer (Mohammed to Maya), D’Lo (Transparent), Valerie Spencer (Beautiful Daughters), Lily Rubenstein (Looking), Rocco Kayiatos (Original Plumbing), Mariana Mar, Mel Shimkowitz (Ma/ddy), Petey Gibson (Play in the Gray), Zackary Drucker (Transparent), Van Barnes (Transparent), and Miss Barbie-Q (The Eastsiders).

The five documentaries were directed by out trans man Rhys Ernst, who is a consultant and Associate Producer on Transparent. The press release announcing the series provided informaiton on the five episodes:

Episode 1: This is Me: Closets
There’s no better backdrop than a closet to focus on the challenges of coming out. Here, actor/writer/comedian D’Lo, of Sri Lankan descent, and Indian-born actor/dancer/healer Maya Jafer share their very different true stories.

Episode 2: This is Me: Generations
Advocate and therapist Valerie Spencer and trans teenager Lily Rubenstein don’t let a few decades get in the way of understanding. As they travel throughout LA, visiting points of references from Spencer’s personal herstory, the two are brought closer than they could ever imagine.

Episode 3: This is Me: From the Bathroom
Sometimes a person just needs a place to pee! No one knows that better than entertainer-activists Rocco Kayiatos and Mariana Mar. The duo reclaim public restrooms as gender neutral while cracking wise (and wisely) about the issues surrounding today’s controversial bathroom politics.

Episode 4: This is Me: Right This Way
You wouldn’t judge a book by its cover, yet the faux pas of public misgendering is far too common. Transparent alumni Mel Shimkovitz and Petey Gibson banter unabashedly on the importance of more inclusive, gender neutral language at popular destinations on LA's east side.

Episode 5: This is Me: And My Sisters
For years, transgender women lived in fear of hanging out together, lest they become targets of violence. Here, artist/actor/decorator Van Barnes, comedic iconoclast Miss Barbie-Q and artist/filmmaker Zackary Drucker proudly and bravely bond in public, offering a glimpse of rarely seen transfeminine sisterhood.

Jill Soloway, creator of Transparent and one of the executive producers of This is Me said, "This Is Me instigates a new era: stories produced by the trans community about the trans community. This is the mission of Wifey: to give the power of protagonism to creators outside the white/cis/male mainstream. When we put people with an authentic POV in the drivers’ seat, the paradigm can truly start to shift."

This is Me premiered on EW.com, and is currently available to stream on Wifey.tv.