The roster of transgender characters on TV is a relatively short one — and the list of shows with transgender characters played by actors who are themselves transgender is shorter still.
That list is about to get a little longer with the arrival of The Switch, a half-hour sitcom shot and set in Vancouver that just met its crowdfunding goal over the weekend. The show — dubbed a "transgender fantasy-comedy series" — follows Sü, a software manager who loses her job and apartment soon after she comes out as transsexual. As the cast explains in the Kickstarter video above, The Switch is conceived of as an alternative to what they see as "socially clueless" mainstream depictions of transgender characters.
A pilot of the show actually aired on OutTV in February, and the funding is intended to top up money already received from grants, presales to broadcasters and tax credits, so that the producers can "do this show right." As they explain on Kickstarter:
The Switch is airing on television, which means it needs to reach a high production standard. And we’re excited about that! While low-budget, DIY projects are often wonderful, we deserve to see ourselves across a range of media. That includes polished television and other high-budget media.
Over the weekend, the show crossed its $50,000 fundraising goal, and is now attempting to reach a series of "stretch" goals over that amount (if they reach $65,000, they'll make a "skill-share" video about how to buy lingerie as a trans woman).
Amy Fox, the show's executive producer, told CBC News that OutTV has optioned that Canadian broadcast rights, and that networks in the U.S., Caribbean and the Netherlands have already expressed interest. The first season of the show is expected to be complete by next summer.
Tomorrow in the red chair, George's guest will be transgender rocker Laura Jane Grace, the lead signer of Against Me!. In this clip, she talks about the support she received from another pioneering rock star, Joan Jett.
Tune in Thursday, July 16 at 11:30 on CBC TV to catch George's interview with Grace.