In case you missed it, here’s the moment when three trans women, played by three out trans actresses, casually chatting over lunch, appeared on a prime-time drama on the single biggest television network in the U.S.
Doubt (CBS) was revolutionary in having a trans lead, played by Laverne Cox, but they also had a trans woman in the writer’s room (Imogen Binnie), and trans actors, like myself and Angelica Ross in the scene above, and Alexandra Grey in the following episode (who gives a devastating and powerful must-see performance).
This level of attentiveness was largely due to the creators/showrunners, Joan Rater & Tony Phelan, having a trans son, the actor Tom Phelan. For Joan & Tony, trans people weren’t “other”, they weren’t punchlines, they didn’t exist just as metaphors, or props to trigger male anxieties. They’re real people, whole and complicated people with rich lives that can’t be reduced to the single facet “trans”.
Three friends having lunch and talking over boy trouble, in public, in daylight. This is how we come out of the shadows.
RIP Doubt; long live the team behind it.