Calling all fans of reality television! Reality television, in the past, can be described as useless. However, let’s face it, everyone has a guilty pleasure. More often than not, people’s guilty pleasure is reality television. Sometimes, a light in the darkness is born and ladies and gentlemen I think we have found that. Fans of inclusivity, the universe might have just given a new show for you. New Girls on the block is a brand new reality show about six trans friends living in Kansas City, Missouri. One of the most (shamefully) rare occurrences in today’s society are trans people being portrayed as normal everyday citizens, and this might be the first time this happens. The first episode of the short series premiered Saturday April 11th and has already received wildly popular attention.
New Girls on the block follows eight individuals, six of whom are trans women: Robyn, Macy, Kassidy, Chloe, Jaimie, and AiYana. These women deal with everyday matters like personal romantic relationships, they deal with friendships and the occurrences that come along with them, and all the other things that make up normal people’s lives. Though, the undeniable fact is that these women are on a reality show, so our past experiences with reality television shows us that there will be more drama than your average person deals with.
Even though this program could get shoved off as “just another reality show”, a TV program that shows trans women as just people living their lives is something that the world, as well as everyone is the world, very much needs. All too often, whether it’s in scripts written, usually by non-trans people, on (often politically incorrect) talk shows or other media appearances, we are shown that a trans person’s transition status or what surgeries they may or may not have had is the most interesting and important thing about them.
This idea then creates a perception that being trans is only about the physical transition, when of course trans people’s lives are about any number of other things. These things can include like jobs and hobbies and family and friends. I feel like when the media talks about trans people they often use the mindset that “they’re just like us” when in fact trans individuals are just like cisgendered individuals, they just had a slightly different path. Showing transition as only one part of all that — as well as dispelling myths about what it’s actually like — is important.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) spoke with one of the stars. She said “It would be nice if the media would portray our lives and not focus on surgeries and those type of things. … And New Girls on the Block is a show like that.”
Trans portrayals in the media have been increasing lately with shows like Orange Is The New Black on Netflix, which features Laverne Cox, and Transparent on Amazon, which follows a Los Angeles family as a parental role transitions. Even though media is getting better, representation isn’t what it could be.
If you like what you hear, consider tuning in. Support the rebranding of reality television! Support actual trans women on screen instead of cis-male actors! Finally, positive portrayals of trans people in the media! Tune into Discover Life’s show New Girls on the Block this Saturday at 10pm.