welp my anxiety is going to be through the roof tonight.
welp my anxiety is going to be through the roof tonight.
Evening Post: August 12, 1899.
"She immediately alighted, caught hold of the astonished youth, and gave him a sound thrashing, using her fists in a scientific fashion…”
I would love to know what this means.
I think that might be code for “punched him in the balls with devastating accuracy”.
(You should click through to that comic it made me lol.)
“Fifty years ago, thousands of young people organized the Mississippi Summer Project, a historic attempt to register black voters in Mississippi, which, at the time, had the lowest black registration rate in the country. Some civil rights workers were killed. Hundreds were beaten. But Freedom Summer, as it’s now known, transformed the national narrative surrounding civil rights by ushering in a new wave of laws that would guarantee equality at the ballot box.
Today, America is at another crossroads in civil rights. People of color represent two-thirds of our incarcerated population. Gun homicide is the leading cause of death among black teenagers. Schools are again re-segregating. Race is still a roadblock in America. We face a stalled Congress, unable to protect our founding values that we are all created equal. And we sit in the looming shadow of a Supreme Court, whose blind eye toward race is equally blind to our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as shown from recent decisions limiting contraception coverage, hurting public employee unions, rolling back voting rights, and increasing the influence of big money in politics.
We, the millennial generation, cannot be “colorblind.” We must choose the path of change.”
“There’s no point to a guy yelling, “Hey sexy baby” at me out of the passenger window of a car as it speeds past. Even if I was into creepy misogynists and wanted to give him my number, I couldn’t. The car didn’t even slow down. But that’s okay, because he wasn’t actually hitting on me. The point wasn’t to proposition me or chat me up. The only point was to remind me, and all women, that our bodies are his to stare at, assess, comment on, even touch. “Hey sexy baby” is the first part of a sentence that finishes, “this is your daily message from the patriarchy, reminding you that your body is public property”.”
I’m taking my first art class tomorrow.
I’m just really excited.
(I’m going to be so fucking terrible at this isn’t it wonderful)
Orphan Black took a noteworthy step in the second season episode “Variable and Full or Perturbation” by presenting a trans male clone. My tumblr dash (normally pretty vocal about both Orphan Black and trans issues) has been weirdly quiet about this, so I was left to make up my own mind. (This is a joke. I normally exercise fairly independent thinking.) Here is how I understand the situation (please excuse the cliche)
Thoughtful, positive trans representation* is so desperately needed in contemporary media. We need more characters, particularly DFAB characters, who push our understanding of gender and transgenderedness. The show portrayed the character injecting testosterone and wearing a binder: it didn’t just gloss over the issues of trans-ness. It tackled it head on. I would also like to acknowledge that this is my perception of this scene as a person with a lot of cisgendered privilege. If you are a trans person and you have negative issues about the way Tony was portrayed, I would love to hear them from you if you would like to share them with me.
The magic of Orphan Black is that one woman portrays a dozen other people who all have distinct personalities. We don’t see eleven iterations of the same person; we instead get a bunch of drastically different people with the same face. Every character is dynamic and complex and compelling, and very thoroughly defies any trope you might assign to her. Even Cosima is not defined by her sexuality (and says so in the show); she’s gay, sure, but she’s also a scientist, a nerd, a stoner, classified by her caring attentiveness and easygoing demeanor.
Tony doesn’t get that. He’s basically Sarah if she were a trans man. He’s got the gritty criminal lifestyle, the grunge look, the sarcastic sass that all define Sarah. Beyond that, he’s basically just trans. That’s all we get. To be fair, Tony is not an exact replica of Sarah. Despite Sarah’s rough exterior, she’s got that underlying maternal and distinctly feminine side that makes itself known quite often. This is notably absent from Tony (which isn’t to say that he isn’t caring-his love for his partner shows that- but he’s got a distinctly masculine attitude). At the end of the day, however, Tony is the exception to the rule that the clones are a) wildly unique and b) complex and dynamic characters.
Okay seriously what I said about representation before really only counts if the actor is trans. Yeah, yeah, I get that having a trans clone is impossible if that person isn’t played by Tatiana, but it troubles me to have a cisgendered woman portraying a trans man. It’s representation of the idea of transgenderedness, but not actual trans people. Is Orphan Black bad for doing it this way? Maybe. I don’t know. I am inclined to say that an intentional and deliberate inclusion of a trans person is significant, but not as significant as the inclusion of a trans person played by and actual trans person. I’m not counting Tony as actual representation, though.
Here’s my biggest rub with the whole thing: Tony was not incorporated into the main plotline. Tony shows up for one episode, then gets written right back out again. Sure, he’s got a phone, so he can come back at any time; but we’ll have to wait and see what the viewer response to him is before we bring him back in any lasting story arc. I get it-including trans folks in television is risky, and the ratings game is tough. But if you’re going to stick your neck out for trans folks and include some type of half-representation for them in your show, commit to it.
One of the reasons I started watching Orphan Black was because tumblr clued me in to Cophine, and I was really excited about positive gay lady representation. This show is part of a larger pattern in entertainment that shows queer inclusion in television may be possible (although we’re still working on racial inclusion so I’m not going to hold my breath). Including a trans character is such an important step in pushing this improvement to include trans folks as well as cisgendered homosexuals.
There’s Still Hope
If you bring back Tony in Season Three, and give him a meaningful character and significant story line, I might start to feel a bit better about this. Not about the fact that there’s a cisgendered woman playing a trans man on a major television network-that will still bother me. But it’ll be something.
I would love to hear from LGBT Orphan Black fans: how do you feel about Tony?
Edit: Someone pointed out to me that some of my language here is problematic. I would like to apologize for said problematic language; it was never my intention to be disrespectful or negative in any way. I’m leaving the text above intact to take ownership of my mistake. I intend to learn from said mistake and avoid such phrasing in the future.