It is, apparently, very difficult to put a good trans character in your TV show. Recent attempts at portraying trans men have tended to leave something to be desired. And last week on ‘Orphan Black,’ along came Tony.
However, for some reason, the siren song of shock value makes writers unable to let sleeping dogs lie. Happiness (or let’s be real, any positivity) just isn’t authentic enough. Queer characters have a bull’s-eye on their backs because their suffering is interpreted as a commentary on the cruelty of the human condition, even if their death has nothing to do with their identity. It’s symbolic! The potential pathos payoff of a queer martyr is too tempting to worry about silly junk like the importance of representation or overcoming adversity. Queer kids, you can totally have a meaningful future, until your death is required for timely social commentary or for the sake of artistic profundity! But you still kind of sort of existed when it was relevant to other people, so isn’t that enough? Ah yes, you can always depend on that token queer waiting in the slaughterhouse when you’ve run out of ideas and/or creative integrity.
This is a guest post by Lee Skallerup Bessette. When I saw the call for submissions for this month’s feature on abortion and reproductive rights, I knew right away that I had to write about Degrassi. I grew up in Canada (suburban Montreal to be precise) and Degrassi was the show everyone watched. Even if […]