Last week Channel 4 aired the first episode of the eye-opening new series, My Transsexual Summer.
Now, the name of the show suggests something of an impermanence towards them, as if their transition is as fluid as a summer romance, but these seven brave individuals know exactly who they want to be. It takes approaching with a certain degree of sensitivity and an open mind to really divulge yourself into the world of a transgender person. The show isn’t for your entertainment or to showcase them for everyone to coin a quick one-liner on Twitter, this show wholly invites you into the struggles, fears and overcomes of transitioning.
The series essentially follows seven people, from various backgrounds and ages, male to female and female to male all going through transition. They come together each weekend to a retreat to discuss their struggles throughout the week, progresses and, indeed, support each other. Sarah, 29, when she came into the show had only been living as a woman for just a few weeks. They all photographed themselves in order to boost their confidence and with Sarah it had the opposite effect. She felt she “looked like a tranny in a bad wig”. When the gang had their first night out, Drew helped her with her make up, put together a flattering outfit for her and the difference was remarkable, not only in her appearance, but her confidence, too. It was plain to see there were some more comfortable than others, Fox, 30, feels he looks too feminine, whereas Donna, 25, loves the way that she looks. It lets transgender people know that confidence is the key and they must own their choice, not the other way around. As mentioned, a great edge to the show is that they’re all at different stages, and for those that are new to transitioning the people that have been in the process longer are giving advice and helping each other make it that little bit easier.
The beauty of the show is that it has chosen people who all have a different idea of what it means to be transgender. Perhaps the most outlandish and extrovert on the show, Donna, is happy to sit between genders and blurs the black and white for the viewers into the idea of a ‘third gender’. The gang went to a local pub on last night’s episode where Donna didn’t shy away from questions about her gender and ended up winning over the locals. She even got a date out of it. You go, honey. It was great to see the locals being so welcoming, especially to those amongst the group that weren’t as sure of themselves and their right to be as they wish to be. Small town girl, Drew, 22, expressed her worries about going to a local pub, fearing the ale-drinking, dart-playing gents would be too small minded to understand. It was lovely to see her viewpoint changed. Drew is incredibly sweet and makes no qualms about what she is looking for; to be viewed as ‘normal’ by society and work, contribute, live as anyone else. Last night’s episode showed her going for a job interview in a bridal shop, in which the interview went extremely well, until the subject of her being transgender arose. As the shopkeeper stated: “nowhere in a wedding fairy tale dream is there a trans person.” In fairy tales there are also dragons that need slaying, understand where I’m coming from?