Putting the T in Reality TV


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Photo: Left/Right Inc.

After decades of being treated by mainstream entertainment like a silent letter at the end of LGBT, the transgender community is finally demanding a little media attention. Two new reality shows TRANSform Me and Boss Ladies—bring fashionable trans ladies with big hair and bigger personalities to the mainstream. Is this progress or the same old stereotypes repackaged? Take off those glasses, cue up the makeover montage music and let’s find out together.

Vh1’s TRANSform follows in the footsteps of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, dispatching an emergency squad of concerned divas to the style calamities of unwitting heteros. In this case, rescue comes in the shape of three trans women—Laverne Cox (ed by Laverne Cox (VH1’s "I Want to Work for Diddy"), Jamie Clayton and Nina Poon), Jamie and Nina—who “travel the country in their tricked out fashion ambulance, siren blaring, and swoop into scenes of fashion disaster,” according to the website. The twist is that the makeover subjects don’t immediately know these ladies are trans, although I’m not sure why it should make a difference after the big reveal. Is it a commentary on the societal construction of gender? Or simply a chance to abuse the word “fierce?” Find out when the show premieres on Monday, March 15 at 10:30 p.m.

Boss Ladies, a new reality show that hopes to blend The Real Housewives and Project Runway. The show will feature five trans women of color working together to break into the fashion industry. According to the Red Label Media Group press release, “Viewers will follow the women on their dynamic entrepreneurial journey from conception to completion—from brainstorming for their line in Atlanta, moving to Los Angeles, and finally the much-anticipated opening of a clothing boutique on Rodeo Drive.” Further information on Boss Ladies, including when and where it will debut, has yet to be announced.

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