Looking at Real Trans Media in Her Story Episode Six
Continuing TMS' discussion on Her Story.
Welcome to episode six of Her Story, the Internet-based series that deals with LGBT community intersectionality and dating while trans. You can watch Her Story over at the official website, http://www.herstoryshow.com. Please note: trigger warning for verbal abuse and misgendering. For previous TMS discussion on Her Story, go here.
Her Story episode six is the last episode in the miniseries—excuse me while I sniffle and flail like Kermit. I’ve enjoyed Her Story a lot, and a part of its charm is the fact that it’s so short and accessible. I also hate it a little for the fact it’s so short. Damn you, Jen Richards and Laura Zak! *Shakes over-large fist self consciously.* Episode six (wipes away a tear) opens with Violet waking a sleeping Allie. She’d stayed at Violet’s place to reassure Violet, because Mark had hit her. Allie’s a good friend.
Black coffee loosely held in sleepy paws, Allie nods as Violet asks her to leave because she has a few things to take care of. My brain had started a chant of, “She’s leaving! She’s leaving!” at this point. Jen Richards plays this well, as she both looks upset that it’s come to this and relieved that she’s leaving Mark. We switch to Paige (my hero), whose assistant walks in and silently hands her the paper. Paige, looking furious, strides out without another word.
I feel the need to say again how wonderful the character of Paige is throughout Her Story. Angelica Ross is a wonder, and you should be hiring her right now. We flip to the cafe, where Allie storms in and slams the newspaper down on the table between her friends. We find out that Lisa has got an article published, and Paige has been accused of bias, revealed as transgender, misgendered as a man, and then Lisa ends with calling for her to be fired. I can somewhat understand the effect that getting outed like this would have on someone like Paige.
Before I was out at work, I had the awful experience of getting outed. A friend of mine who happened to be a lesbian, so she should have known better, outed me to another co-worker. This shocked me—the betrayal obviously, but also that she wasn’t out to all of her family and friends. It was OK to out me but not for her to be out? I couldn’t wrap my head around that. Getting outed sucks. Your life and your identity spiral outside of your control. It’s as much fun as swimming with caiman while juggling piranha. I have all the feels for Paige as she walks into the cafe.
Allie apologizes for telling Lisa that Paige is trans; please don’t do this ever. Just because you know someone is trans doesn’t mean others do. Lisa tries to defend her actions by saying other trans women, not gorgeous looking ones like Paige, shouldn’t be allowed in women’s shelters. “Look, I’m not saying you are a man, but I think that biologically, you are a male, and that is a difference.” TERF logic. I out you as a man, but I’m not saying you are a man, but you are biologically a man. This makes as much sense as splitting The Hobbit into three films—none at all.
Paige just cuts her down sharply; there is no excuse for outing someone, and trans women are women. Paige also reveals that, once, presumably when she was fourteen and abandoned by her family, she too needed a women’s shelter and was turned away because she was transgender. Baddass Paige ends by saying if you want to fight her, fine, but she always wins. At the end of the scene, I had a huge grin and was cheering Paige as she wheeled and walked out of the cafe, head held high.
At last, we get to see Violet leave the highly abusive Mark—or at least his house while he’s away on business. Really though, this last episode is mostly about Paige, as we switch right back to her and James, who has seen the newspaper. It’s a cute scene as they discuss how much information should or shouldn’t be revealed on a first date. Jason starts by saying Paige should have told him but then says, “I have a gambling problem, and I’m just trying to understand when would it have been the right time to tell you that.” I’m betting (groan) it wouldn’t have been on the first date. Jason has empathy for Paige not telling him, and they walk away hand-in-hand. Aw <3.
Later—we don’t know if it’s the same day, or not but it is night—Violet is in Paige’s office getting some Paige advice, “It’s always you white girls that bring the drama.” Violet repeats what was touched on in episode two: She’s worried that liking a woman will make her less of one, a sentiment also prominent in one episode of I Am Cait. Paige tells her off gently, No. You learn to be you; don’t be defined by others. Then, we get the final scene where Violet is ringing Allie’s buzzer. (No, not a euphemism. Get your mind out of the gutter!) Allie comes home; they meet and kiss.
I’m so glad that Her Story ended happily for the characters. That doesn’t seem to happen often, and it’s extra rare for transgender characters in the media. I’ve enjoyed watching Her Story and writing about it, as well as having some interaction with Jen Richards. 2014 was labelled as the “transgender tipping point.” It wasn’t, of course, and 2015 turned out to be a difficult year for transgender people. 2016 is here, and we have the public release of Her Story. It’s showing the direction trans media can take if trans people are hired to be in production as well as in front of the camera. Her Story represents hope and change for the future of trans people in the media.
I hope you enjoyed these discussions on Her Story. If you have comments or questions, please add them into the comments below!
Marcy (@marcyjcook) is an immigrant trans woman and writer. This includes Transcanuck.com, a website dedicated to informing and helping trans Canadians. She also has a nerd job, too many cats, is a part time volunteer sex educator and has an ongoing sordid love affair with Lego. Those last two are not related … probably.
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