In a world of oversharing and excessive visibility, the trans* community is still seen as an other. Despite the equal rights progress the gay and lesbian community has seen, transgender voices have only just begun to be heard on a larger, more global platform.
A lot of that has to do with the mainstream success of Netflix's Orange Is the New Black and Laverne Cox. The actress and activist has used her platform to instigate change and not only be a voice for the trans* community, but also be a vessel for other trans* voices to be heard.
Her latest effort, The T Word, will explore the lives of seven transgender individuals between the ages of 12 and 24. It premieres on MTV and despite how "MTV" the show appears to be, Jezebel's Julianne Escobedo Shepherd makes a great point that it will normalize these stories "in a fashion that MTV viewers are used to." And, that's exactly what The T Word aims to do: present these individual stories in an effort to increase visibility and remove the "other" stigma that surrounds the transgender community.
"We live in a world where people are often judged for being different," Cox says in the trailer below. "But, this is a celebration of those differences as well as how we're the same."
In the same vein, Nickelodeon is advancing the conversation, as well.
Photo: Courtesy of Nickelodeon/VIACOM.
Premiering October 7 at 8 p.m., Nickelodeon will air a new special called Nick News With Linda Ellerbee, centered around the coming out stories of homosexual kids.
The half-hour episode, appropriately titled "Coming Out," will follow the lives of everyday gay adolescents as they experience the things heterosexual kids go through — on top of the fear, bullying, acceptance, and encouragement homosexual kids encounter.
"It takes bravery for a kid to come out,” Ellerbee says in a press release. “Being accepted by straight people is not a given. Being young and ‘different’ is not easy. This may be tough to talk about, or hear about, but this is important stuff."
Aside from how freakin' exciting it is that Linda Ellerbee, the children news whisperer, is coming back, this special is going to be amazing for the LGBTQ community. As a once closeted homosexual, a program like this would've helped normalize the feelings I and many other people I know, were feeling. Kids don't just grow up and suddenly become LGBTQ. They're born that way. And, programs like this will foster a stronger understanding of that.