Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Girls like Us: Her Story's Look at the Dating Lives of Trans and Queer Women Earns Its Cred Onscreen and Behind the Camera

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Girls like Us: Her Story's Look at the Dating Lives of Trans and Queer Women Earns Its Cred Onscreen and Behind the Camera

Article excerpt

The success of shows such as Orange Is the New Black, Sense8, and Transparent mark a new era for trans representation on television, while Eddie Redmayne's performance as Einar Wegener in The Danish Girl is already being touted as Oscar-worthy. But while these have been praised for treating the story arcs of trans characters with accuracy and sensitivity, they remain infrequent successes. Across the media, the trans community remains hugely underrepresented.

"We're on the very forward edge of something, but I think we've overstated it," says writer and actress Jen Richards, reflecting on the notion of a trans tipping point in entertainment. "When you really look at the roles and the numbers, it's still pretty slim. We're still waiting for our Will & Grace moment ... when a character just becomes a part of everyone's family, and is in their living room and just seen for who they are."

Richards is the producer, co-writer, and starring actress of Her Story, a new Web series that explores the dating lives of trans women. When she was putting the project together, Richards was keen to ensure that as much of the team as possible, from the director to the cast, were trans themselves, with the goal of making a show with the authenticity that's often lacking in some of the more mainstream portrayals of trans lives.

"Unless we have trans writers ... those parts aren't going to be much better than the ones we've been given so far," says Richards. "I'd really like to see a pipeline develop for trans writers, directors, and producers so that we can create content that's a little bit more authentic to our experiences."

Historically, trans roles have often been limited to sex workers or addicts, and exploring original, more positive stories has been a focus of Richards's writing. Her previous projects include running multiple Web sites (she was co-founder and director of The Trans 100 and creator of WeHappyTrans. …

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