OK. It was funny, moving, affectionate and a whole host of other positive things. I very much warmed to the seven men and women who populated last night’s first installment of C4’s “Transsexual Summer” and suspect that by and large it can only do good for the trans community.
(I also have personal reasons for watching: a compare and contrast between this effort…bouncy, high-spirited, full of life…and the much more sober documentary i took part in earlier this year. Due to air some time soon, but not exactly sure when).
After what seems like an ice age of frozen immobility, things are suddenly moving very fast on the media front – stand by for the imminent arrival of Jackie Green! – with trans topics shifting rapidly from freak show, to mainstream to – possibly 18 months hence – surfeit (and boredom).
I don’t object. The landscape is shifting and in a year, two years, i think the public perception of what it is to be trans will have changed irrevocably and for the better. A lot more will be understood: more importantly, trans issues will no longer be “out there” in some awful tranny ghetto…but at very least understood in outline by a much larger chunk of the British people.
There are nits to pick…which i am now going to do…but don’t let that detract from what i think was a very very good result indeed.
First up is the way the whole “trans thing” gets simplified. Guess that’s inevitable – but hope it doesn’t create an impression amongst the casual viewers that its all jollity and girly partying with the occasional break for tears.
Ah yes: there was surgery…which some tweeters assumed to be pretty much it. Oh no. There’s the months and months of recovery. The dilation. Not to mention further transition and physical changes.
Good that it was shown: bad if some people now think that’s “all” there is to it.
The twittersphere contained various constants: sexist comment on how unfeminine Sarah looked (a horrid thing to tweet…), plus criticism of all the trans women for not looking “like real women”.
We-ell, these are in many ways “early days” trans women – even Drew and Karen. And Karen would have been off hormones in the run-up to her op.
But there is an underlying issue here, maybe just a moving on of something that trans folk in general object to, which is the media obsession with “before” and “after” pics. Oh yes: I get why…because two pictures make the story. Its just that many find it abjectly humiliating.
No. We’re spared that. But in the process of getting to “know” trans folk better, the public are now tuning in to those who are out, but not fully transitioned. Real prob there: because if you did a documentary on a bunch of fully transitioned folk…you’d mostly be looking at people who look like ordinary men and women. Big deal!
This was tricky – and underscores how diverse trans folk are. Some bods objected these were white, young-ish, etc., etc. and i did feel the latter ever so slightly. The prog was an eye-opener for me, seeing how the other (trans) half lives…and i don’t just mean the trans guys.
And yes: i am intensely jealous of those who have managed to find themselves at such an earlier age.
We-ell…one link to andrea’s blog sort of says it all. I don’t altogether agree: equally, though, i think it may now be difficult to put that term “back in the box”. Yes. Various tweeters pointed out that we (trannies) get to say the word, as black people get to say the n-word.
However, i think that pushing that point now is as likely to create backlash as anything else. Own goal? Maybe. Maybe not.
This was mostly good. A vile piece in the Telegraph by twit of the week Michael Pilgrim. Otherwise mostly positive – including the Grauniad review, which some trans folk has suggested wasn’t. Dunno. I felt it was. Its a TV column, fer chrissake. Er, TV = television!
I’ll pass on the really gross decision by someone (at C4?) to advertise this in the Evening Standard with an ad headed “ex-men”.
Twitter was also pretty good. I’d say the bulk of tweets on the #transsummer trend were positive, with the usual sexist stuff about looks, can’t believe it, and a collective crossing of legs by male tweeters when the surgery was shown.
Just one seriously vicious note from a guy posting as jonny weatherley (who has since removed his account) suggesting people should lock the guests in the house and firebomb it. Still thinking about response to that: he has messaged me to apologise…though not 100% sure its genuine.
Last up: was this salacious, voyeuristic, etc., etc. ? Well of course it was. That’s what TV is for. Amused therefore to note that whilst sometimes condemning the cis public for obsessing about trans “stuff”, it felt like the entire UK trans community were tuned in last night, poring over every last detail.
This was a good programme – first of four – and i am now hooked and very much looking forward to next week’s episode.