Industry

‘Transparent’: A Subtle, Thought-Provoking Nod to History

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I was reading about an image in the opening sequence of the Amazon series “Transparent” that was borrowed from the 1968 documentary “The Queen.” It made me think: Assuming 90% of the population is heterosexual, yet spends billions to connect and find love, how difficult it must be for LGBTs.

And how brave yet freeing it must have been in the 1950s-60s to strut before a crowd in dressed in wigs and makeup to express whom they truly believed themselves to be.

While reading “The Queen” article by Stephen Vider of Yale University, I imagined the struggles that young kids must have knowing they are different because they have feelings for people they’re not suppose to love.

Certain people always complain that it’s appalling and even sickening to have gay or transgender images in mainstream entertainment. I’m not sure what triggers that negative reaction; is it the nonconformity? Could it be images of sex acts they conjure up in their own minds?

Anybody who has kids or works with kids knows that anything that makes a kid feel different—even something so trivial as the wrong shoes–can be devastating to a young person who’s desperate to fit in.

People are so quick to voice their outrage over the nontraditional, as if everyone should feel the same thing, and be with a person others deem an acceptable match. If you can recall your first love, were the feelings something you could control? And did you think, “I want to have sex with that person?” Or was it more of an emotional/physical response in your chest or gut that said, “I need to be near this person, this person gives me joy?”

The realization that an attraction is more than just a friendship is likely an amazing yet devastating one for most who must go through life knowing that 90% of the people around them, in most cases their own families and loved ones, are different.

I haven’t written much about the trans community, but “Transparent,” created by Jill Soloway and written by Jill and her sister Faith (their father is transgender), has piqued my interest. It’s a well-done, thought-provoking show that involves people I respect, and appears to be drawing attention to a largely misunderstood segment of society.

Anytime you get all that from a piece of entertainment for TV or film, it’s certainly worth taking note.

Watch the “Transparent” pilot for free on Amazon.com.

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and is currently producing a documentary for her own company, Saving Grace Films.

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