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“Transparent” Taking the LGBT World by Storm

“Transparent” Taking the LGBT World by Storm

I talked about Transparent when Amazon did the pilot show and was looking for feedback and support to continue the series. We were successful and the first ten episodes of Transparent aired on Amazon Prime on 28 September. I’ve watched them all.

“Transparent” is a drama that centers around an affluent Jewish Los Angeles family and their lives following the discovery that their father, whom they’d known as Mort, is a transgender woman named Maura. The show stars Jeffrey Tambor as a transgender woman (formerly a crossdresser) who is transitioning in his 60’s and is coming out to his 3 dysfunctional adult Maura doing makup - Transparentchildren. The show gives us a spectrum of trans characters to choose from: a butch, a transman, two transwomen, and Maura, a transwoman at the beginning of her transition who may or may not “medically” transition.

“Transparent” doesn’t just aim to tell the story of a trans character, but of an entire family questioning their understandings of gender, sexuality and identity, and learning to accept and love one another as they each evolve into who they are. Each of the characters has their own gender story as the show unfolds the lives of Maura and her children.

I was a bit disappointed as the show was slow to develop Maura’s role but she comes on stronger in the later episodes. Judith Light (from the long term comedy sitcom Who’s the Boss), playing Mort/Maura’s ex-wife, Shelly, is marvelous and the children are amazed that she knew all about Maura. In fact the friendship is strong as Maura is there for her, when her self-centered children were not, at the death of her second husband. It will be interesting to see how they develop this relationship in later shows.

Maura at drag camp - TransparentThe show is receiving broad acclaim, deservedly so, for Tambor’s portrayal of a trans woman. I personally can relate to the many conflicts from the bathroom scene to the crossdressing camp that Maura attends. Although I thought some of the scenes were a bit contrived, the character of Maura rings true. One scene in particular you will relate to. His daughter, Sarah, asks him, ““Are you saying you’re going to start dressing up like a lady all of the time?”  “No, honey,” Maura replies. “All my life, my whole life, I’ve been dressing up like a man. This is me.”

Tambor had fun doing the show. Here’s another true incident we can all relate to. “There was a time when I was wearing nail polish, and some evening after filming I didn’t take it off and went shopping after we wrapped, and I’d get clocked,” Tambor remembers. “People would look at me. I remember one guy just staring at me and shaking his head. And I went, ‘Remember this.’ A lot of that was my way in.”

This film could prove to be a milestone for our community so I encourage everyone to support the show

There were many good reviews. Here are a few of them. You will be remiss if you don’t watch the show.

The Daily Beast

USA Today

Boston Globe

Huffington Post

QZ.com

Addendum:

Finally, Jeffery talks about What’s it like to play an aging Jewish transgender woman  His preparation was so intense and his portrayal so convincing that I’m sure we’ll see a second season.

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Comments

Claire Stafford says:

The clip has been barred on copyright grounds. Oh hell. I haven’t seen this show, I can’t even buy it here, so I have been trying to download it illegally. Oh no!!! So there, I am a criminal.
But then why can’t I download the first episode, if I like it I’ll probably buy it. I take a car for a test drive, don’t I? Try a dress on first don’t I? So why not. Oh dear, life is so complicated.

Chelsi says:

I like what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I have inootpcrared you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my website . “The part can never be well unless the whole is well.” by Saul Bellow.

Alison says:

Hi, I just found blog, from the TENE list. I have found Transparent to be a very interesting program. Although I would add, some of the episodes are difficult to watch as the lives of Mauar’s kids are such as train wreck,. There is an interview w/ Jeffrey Tambor that recently aired on NPRs DinnerPartyDownload that is quite interesting; http://www.dinnerpartydownload.org/jeffrey-tambor/

I hope that the character played by Bradley Whitford will continue to appear in future episodes. I recall that in his former role on the series The West Wing, there was a minor bit where it was discovered that he wanted to be a ballerina when he was a boy. And now, to see him playing trans woman, is just too cool,,. Cheers, Alison

Jolyn says:

Essays like this are so important to broadening people’s horizons.

Charcia says:

Helen,I have always adrmeid you from afar in the sense that I admire anyone who tries to mainstream gender issues for public consumption. I watched the track but I was not able to get the audio for some reason. I guess that Chrissie has the right to choose, but from the pictures that were shown she may have left some collateral damage. I don’t mean to seem incorrect but what do you say to a real woman who has born your child when you decide to mimic her? This is actually pretty common in the TGverse, and there is always a persuasive rational. One thing to be known about us TG type’s ..we be very self-serving AND very clever!I have not read your books Helen, but being the Betty of my own life and having dealt with a very insightful woman through it all I think that you may be a bit naive. My advice and consul is free.

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