Nov 9, 2011
Why 'My Transsexual Summer' isn't as good as it should be.
I spent a huge amount of time over the last few months talking about why I think the show is going to be brilliant and in many ways it has turned out really well. However, having now seen episodes 1, 2, and 3 my frustrations have increased and some of my initial fears about the show have come back to haunt me.
What I see is the inevitable privileging of narratives that do not challenge dominant paradigms of normative gender. What I see is programming that will make you think “oh I feel so sorry for them, maybe I might think about how those people get a tough ride”. What I don’t see is anything that is going to make people think or feel any differently about what gender is or how it limits us all in one way or another.
What we see are lovely endearing transsexuals (who I still consider to be my good friends) struggling though ‘typical’ transitions and don’t get me wrong these stories are hugely important, I do not underestimate how important these stories are but where are all the queers!?
These narratives are totally valid but I believe they need to be seen in context and juxtaposed with a more diverse representation. A representation that was there in the house but somehow didn’t make it to our television screens.
Where is Fox talking about being mixed race, about his art and about how he sees himself as two spirit?
Where is the exploration of Donna’s male and female identities as she navigates the personal relationships that mean so much to her?
Where is the discussion about how I reject gender binary and sexuality and still live an observant Jewish life at the same time?
I think what we have is a hard hitting critique of the injustices trans people are forced to face, I wanted it to be that and more. I wanted it to show the complexity of our gender identities so that people could start to see that it doesn’t have to be one or the other, that it isn’t one or the other.
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