Out of queer-friendly shows to watch instead of studying for midterms? Enter Transparent, a new show by Amazon about trans parent Maura Pfefferman and her family. The show strikes a perfect balance of humor and drama as it follows Maura’s journey of becoming comfortable with herself as a trans woman, and believe us, you’ll be hooked from the first episode. Here are just a few reasons why we’re obsessed with Transparent.
1. The main character is a trans woman
Not only does Transparent feature a trans woman character, but she is the focus of the show. Though the media is making strides toward recognizing transgender and genderqueer individuals, it’s no secret that they’re usually side characters in TV shows. Transparent, however, stars a brave trans character coming out and living as her true self for the first time. As Maura comes out to her daughter, she says, “My whole life I’ve been dressing up like a man. This is me.”
2. Trans and genderqueer individuals’ lives aren’t made the subjects of jokes
More often than not, trans women are demeaned in our culture and sometimes even made the subject of jokes in television shows. You won’t find that on Transparent. Trans people are represented as what they are: Humans born in the wrong bodies. They’re genuine, strong characters we can learn lessons from and relate to.
At the same time, the show doesn’t shy away from showing how trans women can be treated. For instance, when Maura runs into an old family friend while having lunch with her trans girlfriends, he laughs and mocks her, but she stays strong. In addition, when she is called a man while trying to use the women’s restroom, she continues to be true to herself. She accepts herself, even if her family and the world do not.
3. There are actual trans actors in it
Representation matters! With more shows making diversity a priority, Transparent shows it’s okay to be yourself. Transparent embraces acceptance, love and, above all, the bravery it takes to be true to yourself. For instance, Davina, Maura’s best friend, is played by Alexandra Billings, a trans actress; and Dale, Maura’s daughter Ali’s love interest, is trans actor Ian Harvie. Also, the trans individuals at Maura’s trans support group are actual trans people, like the group leader played by Zackary Drucker, a transgender artist.
Unfortunately, not every trans character is played by a trans actor – the biggest example being Maura—which the show has been rightfully criticized for.
4. It features an array of different relationships
Sure, there are heterosexual couples, but that’s not all. Sarah, the oldest daughter, was once in a serious lesbian relationship in college and is still in love with the woman. Ali sees a trans man for a short time. Their relationship is brief, but it is one of the first glimpses of a trans individual in the show as a romantic interest.
All that said, most of the characters are heterosexual, which leaves plenty of room for representation for a variety of queer and LGBTQ+ relationships, but we trust that Transparent will be cognizant of it in later seasons.
5. It realistically portrays the difficulties of coming out
Some LGBTQ+ individuals can relate to the challenges coming out of the closet. It takes TONS of courage to come out, whether you’re bisexual, pansexual, genderqueer, trans or something else entirely. Viewers can relate to Maura’s realistic journey, and it’s inspiring! We get to see Maura come out to her family, attends trans support groups, go out in public spaces as Maura, become more involved in the LGBTQ+ community and face the struggles of being “out” and true to herself.
6. Jeffrey Tambor is incredible
Maura is played by a cis man, meaning a biological man who identifies as male, instead of a trans woman, which raises the issue of representation. However, Tambor plays Maura wonderfully. Through his acting, we really get to know Maura and the struggles she faces. We see her sadness, the discomfort of being in a body that does not represent her and how important family and her support group is to her. Through Tambor’s portrayal of Maura, we really get to know her, sympathize with her and celebrate with her.
7. It shows the importance of allies to the LGBTQ+ community
Coming out to your family is one of the hardest obstacles manyqueer people face. Maura’s family’s support is important to her, which is why she had to finally be honest with herself.
Transparent also shows how important it is to have support from other members of the LGBTQ+ community – after all, they face similar issues and challenges. The weekly trans group Maura attends shows how vital that support can be. Maura sees that she is not alone. She meets other trans individuals like her who have gone through the same struggles as her and have survived. The group is especially important because it gave her the courage to come out to her family and start living as her true self.
Transparent is bringing trans individuals’ stories to the frontline of the mass media, but those aren’t the only great aspects of the show. Make sure you check it out online—it’s free for Amazon Prime members, but you can purchase episodes through Amazon (and the pilot is free!). This is a show you do not want to miss!