The exclusive web series market has never been so popular with shows like Orange is the New Black dominating as pop culture phenomenons. Even so, the success of the Amazon Prime original series Transparent has been impressive. As with OITNB, the show has not only risen to great popularity from the potential limits of the web series format, but it also brings some interesting issues about gender conformity to the front of the story, only Transparent takes it a step further. Where OITNB is known for talking candidly about lesbian relationships and transgender women, Transparent focuses primarily on trans characters, and has hired more than twenty trans people into their staff.
However, while the show focused on trans issues and appealed largely to a trans audience, the one thing they were missing was a trans person on the writing staff. Though there were trans consultants, a full-time writer who understood firsthand what it was like to be trans would surely bring a new level of authenticity to the show. Hopefully that is exactly what will come of the appointment of Our Lady J as the new writer for season two.
“I’m so happy to announce that I’ll be taking the next year off from touring to dedicate my life to the Pfefferman’s as staff writer for season two of #transparenttv,” wrote Our Lady J on Instagram to announce her new position on the show. “Thank you for having faith in me, @jillsoloway. The world is beginning to see us as we have seen ourselves.”
And Our Lady J is not the only one excited about the change. Writer Jen Richards took to Twitter to congratulate Our Lady J shortly after the announcement, saying “I’ve never been so happy to learn that someone else got something I wanted. I guess that’s real love & sisterhood. What a blessed feeling.”
In the face of its success, there are also a lot of criticisms of Transparent as a show that’s meant to represent an entire group of people, but after all, cannot possibly live up to such a task. There has also been a lot of criticism of the fact that the main character, a trans woman, is played by a man. Some argue that giving the role to a man reinforces the idea that trans women are men and also removes a job from the market that could more easily go to a trans woman. Still, Jeffrey Tambor does a great job, and you could make the more optimistic argument that instead, having a man play a woman does something to further blur the lines of gender that can be so harmful. Either way, it’s exciting to see such an opportunity as writing for such a popular show be opened up to a trans woman. Congratulations to Our Lady J
(Picture Credits: Autostraddle)