TransTainment! Trans in Arts and Entertainment 2/8/21

| Feb 8, 2021
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Today TransTainment is jam packed with transgender people working in the arts. Before we get to them though we must acknowledge a loss to the world of electronic pop music. The producer, songwriter, musical artist Sophie Xenon passed away at the age of 34 after an accidental fall. Sophie had only come out as transgender in 2017. After releasing a successful single called Bipp in 2013 she moved from Scotland to Los Angeles and worked with Madonna, Vince Staples and Charli XCX among others. When she had her accident she was in Greece and had climbed up to watch the full moon. The New York Times has an obituary and 12 of her most influential songs.

Jen Richards

Jen Richards, transgender actor, writer, producer and activist was hired to consult on the CBS show Clarice, but she will be appearing on-screen, as well. Richards is best known for roles on Nashville, Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, Blindspot, Better Things, Mrs. Fletcher and Her Story, which she also wrote and co-produced. In Clarice Richards will portray a character who discusses with Clarice the complicated legacy of Buffalo Bill, the serial killer from Silence of the Lambs. The writers and producers of the show recognize that Buffalo Bill was damaging to transgender women. A serial killer who murders woman so he can wear their skin added to the horrid presentation of characters perceived as transgender in films and TV shows that has the potential to make the general public believe that all trans women are dangerous. Richard’s character is there to explain that being transgender does not mean trans people are mentally ill. Learn more from Yahoo News.

Another trans actor, Alexandra Billings, has a role in the ABC sitcom, The Connors. She plays Robin, a transgender woman who is a supervisor at the factory where the Connors women work. She will be featured in multiple episodes this season. Billings is having a great time playing the tough-as-nails Robin. “You know what’s really fun is playing a trans character who’s just a little bit of an asshole,” she says. “So much time I’m playing what I like to call the ‘magical trans lady.’ I come into scenes and I’m sort of like, ‘I’ll solve the problem.’” Learn more for an article in The Advocate. You can catch The Connors on Wednesday nights on ABC at 9 Eastern Time.

Nomi Ruiz

Singer/actress Nomi Ruiz stars in Haymaker, a film about a trans music star who hires, antagonizes, and then falls for her bodyguard (played by Nick Sasso who also directs), a tough yet sensitive former Muay Thai fighter. The film takes place in Los Angeles, Greece, Thailand, and New York City and the transgender status of the main character is not emphasized. While not as bold as Patti Harrison portraying a cisgender surrogate mother, Ruiz playing a transgender singer whose gender identity is not the focus of the plot seems like another breakthrough for trans actors. Read an interview with Ruiz on NewNowNext.

Patti Harrison

Often we hear that the community gets up in arms about a cisgender woman or man being given a transgender role in a film or TV show. Cis actresses beware, transgender comedian and actor Patti Harrison stars as a millennial cisgender woman in Together Together. The film is about a single, aging man (portrayed by Ed Helms)  who wants to have a child, and the young woman he chooses to be the surrogate mother to carry that child. The film premiered January 31 at the Sundance Online festival. For more info check out the review in Screen Daily.

The 6 Pack Band is India’s first transgender band. The band was curated by Shameer Tandon and launched by the Y films, a division of Yash Raj Films Pvt Ltd in 2016. Like The Monkees in the 1960s USA the band was created by Shameer Tandon who held auditions looking for the six best trans woman musicians in the country. Since their debut in 2016 the 6 Pack Band has garnered millions of views on YouTube and become celebrities in India. Learn more about them from an interview in The Better India.

Liz Carmichael

In 1974 Americans heard about the Dale—a three-wheeled, low-cost, high-efficiency car, which was seen as the vehicle that would upend America’s automobile industry. It was introduced during the height of the Middle East oil crisis in 1974 by Liz Carmichael. She was a new face in the auto biz who appeared to have stumbled on an innovative solution to the scarcity of gasoline; a three-wheeled car that promised high mileage to the gallon. Carmichael bought the car from its original inventor and proclaimed it “the Dale,” creating the 20th Century Motor Car Company and recruiting a roster of engineers to help build and manufacture the car. Unbeknownst to those who were excited by the new vehicle Carmichael was a transgender woman. But, she was also the owner of a checkered past that included counterfeiting, embezzling and other crimes. Her story is being told in a limited series The Lady and The Dale on HBO MAX that premiered on January 31. Get more info from Time.

Sandie Crisp, also known as The Goddess Bunny, has passed away at the age of 61 after living a truly remarkable life. Obituary in Them says, “. . .she described battling polio and experiencing sexual abuse as she was transferred between various orphanages. She received substandard medical care, including a spinal implant that severely affected her posture and growth. It was in her mid-teens that she said she first identified as transgender, coming out to her mother and experiencing rejection.”

In the 1980s, she began to find unexpected underground fame in Hollywood. She worked as a model for high-profile artists, including Rick Owens, and acted in various movies, including Hollywood Vice Squad, where she appeared alongside Carrie Fisher. It was during that decade that she began to identify publicly as trans, adopting the name The Goddess Bunny. Learn more about her life on the Them website. Thanks to Alyssa Washington for the tip. She let us know about this last story, too.

Gabbi Tuft

WWE superstar Tyler Reks is now a lady named Gabbi Tuft. She came out as a trans woman last week. Tuft retired from the WWE in 2012 and after she left she began to think more and more about her true nature. She said on her Instagram account “. . .the day I stopped caring about what other people thought, was the day I truly became limitless and allowed my authentic self to come into the light.”

In her wrestling days her signature move was called the “Burning Hammer.” She would wrap her opponents’ bodies around her neck, take a beat and then slam them stomach-down into the canvas. Nowadays she is looking forward to being a “fun-loving and fabulous female.” Get more info from CNN’s website.

That’s our TransTainment column for today! See you again in four weeks.

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Category: Transgender Community News, Transgender Fun & Entertainment


About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Assoc., Inc., former editor of its newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She was the Diva of Dish for TGF in the late 1990s and Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows.

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