Because even I need a break sometimes, I just binged on a TV show. All six episodes. Don’t worry, though, they were only about 10 minutes each. It didn’t eat my entire evening, though I may need a bit of time to calm down.
Her Story is a show put together and starring a bunch of queer women, principally — least from my point of view — Jen Richards and Angelica Ross. You may remember me nagging you about the Kickstarter campaign. It is a short series about the love lives of two trans women: Violet, a waitress with a controlling boyfriend; and Paige, a high-powered attorney. Jen and Angelica take the lead roles. Given how short it is, much more detail than that risks spoilers, but along the way the show tells you a great deal about the reality of trans lives.
The operative word there being “reality”. This is not some exercise in cis gaze, putting the weird trans folk on screen so that “normal” people can see how tragic and pathetic we are. This is actual trans people condensing lifetimes of hurt into an hour worth of TV that they hope will educate people. Whether it will or not, I don’t know, but it sure is real.
It took me a while to get up the courage to watch it. Watching Tangerine made me nervous, but Her Story scared me a lot more. I’m way too privileged to completely see myself in Sin-Dee and Alexandra. Vi and Paige, on the other hand, are both women that I could have been. They do things I have had to do, that scared me horribly at the time. Watching the show simultaneously reminded me how lucky I have been, and how much I miss Kevin.
I could put my critic hat on and pick a few nits with the show, but I’m not going to. Firstly, for what it is — something produced on a shoestring, many of whose crew are new to the business — it is damn good. Secondly it gets the important bits right. And, as I’ve just been saying to someone on Facebook, the show totally makes you care about the characters and want things to turn out well for them.
Here’s hoping something bigger happens as a result. I note that Eve Ensler has an Executive Producer credit, and in fact Laura Zak who co-wrote the show with Jen, and has a major role in it, is Ensler’s campaign manager, so there’s contact to influence there. Her Story isn’t going to win awards. Those are reserved for cis white people, it seems. But it is helping change the world, which is a much more important thing.
You can watch the whole of Season 1, for free, here.
Oh, and that taking a break? I lied. I needed to watch this show for a talk I’m doing later in the year.