I guess it a little bit late but today I learned that in the just finished (thanx Annelie for the update!) cycle of America’s Next Top Model featured a 22-year old woman called Isis (middle picture) which has a transsexual background. There wasn’t any mention about her background in the official release but just like me she seem to think that openness is the best strategy and came out in an article in the USMagazine.
First I was happy for her just for the chance of being a model because ten years ago I have to confess that I dreamt a little about being a model. I guess it is the ultimate affirmation of beauty and femininity. I got to know a photographer back then who took at a thousand images of me and I believe doing those photoshoots and seeing all the images meant a lot for my process. Then I thought about that this meant that she actually got a chance to follow her dream just as the other girls on the show. That is really something for a group of people unfortunately used to being treated badly (read the comments on the USMagazine page if you want to see ugly comments…).
However, I wonder if the biggest things isn’t that fact that transgendered people actually are starting to see someone who are like them in the media. Invisibility is a hard thing to handle. The review from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) notes that a positive trend is that more transgendered characters are appearing in film and television. We have of course Alexis in Ugly Betty (left image) but she is played by a genetic female. In Dirty Sexy Money however the transgender character Carmelita is played by Candis Cayne (right image) who went through her transition 10 years ago. Not only a transgender character but also a transgender actress that has a successful career.
Further they noted transgendered Laverne Cox in VH1’s I Want to Work for Diddy and in America’s Got Talent Dorae Saunders, a transgender woman and Tina Turner impersonator, appeared. I had not heard about it but there apparently was a romantic reality series Transamerican Love Story which featured transgender actress Calpernia Addams as the bachelorette, and included a transgender man among the contenders vying for her affection. Read what Out&About wrote about the show.
Sure, there is always the argument of whether or not these are “good” representations of transgendered people but I guess it must not matter. It IS important to be visible and sooner or later people themselves find out that all transgendered are not the same while we shared some common experiences and problems in life. I think the future looks promising. It does not hurt that these women are stunningly beautiful either – seeing that your dream can become true!