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When I am grateful, I begin counting things I’m grateful for and before I’m done counting that first thing, another thing I’m grateful for comes to mind, then another, and another. Kind of like when we cry, we think we’re crying for one thing but then all these other reasons to cry come flooding forward..
Today, I am grateful for new experiences, ones that make me stretch far beyond my comfort zone, far beyond what I thought I could handle, even if I had imagined it. This week I strrrrretched my way into guest star role on a sitcom called Young & Hungry. The incredible show creator David Holden and the network entrusted me with a responsibility of telling an important story. This always kills me, in a good way, when someone believes that I can do that. David and his writers packed in some of the most delicious comedy bites and respectful storytelling into a 22 minute episode of a comedy series.. So hard to do but they made it seem easy.
Their super talented director Andy Cadiff, is one of the best in the biz when it comes to this kind of TV, has a clear vision and map of how to execute it, guiding and trusting his performers and treating them with kindness and having a great understanding of what’s funny. Sidebar, at one point behind the scenes, Jonathan Sadowski sat in his chair doing an impression of Andy for all of us and Andy and it was loving and spot on, a tribute to his excellence, but also genuinely funny. I am grateful that we all have the ability to laugh, alllllll of us have that! Isn’t that amazing?!!
I felt so well taken care of by the crew, they all knew I had never shot a multi-cam (sitcom) before and they were beyond congenial, they made me family this week. This is a family birthed from kindness, not bitter, not competitive, or angry, but pure kindness. I believe that tone is set from the top and roots back to David and Andy. I am grateful for a kind crew. Then it all kind of cracked wide open yesterday when the whole cast was in hair and makeup together, we all, ironically, were putting on masks, and shedding our skin at he same time. For anyone who works in the the entertainment industry on the in-front-of-the-camera side of things, maybe you will agree with this.. Cast people tend to really open up and become themselves in front of hair, makeup people and wardrobe.. Everyone in hair and makeup yesterday, everyone, really became themselves or maybe that just where I became myself, and they all included me in their family, welcomed me into their ensemble.
The people who make up the cast of this show are, in the truest sense, so quick, so funny, so tight with their performances. I love to watch people
In their craft knock it out of the park. Every word, line, beat, joke – they hit it! I am grateful to learn from them.
For those who are reading this and are not familiar, I am obsessed with ensembles, creating them, welcoming people into whatever ensemble I am in that moment.. The ensemble at the grocery checkout, backstage at a show, piling in my small
SUV to go hiking, my ol’ softball team, and I’m even more aware of it since becoming Transparent family. I love ensembles in the art of media making and acting. My love of ensembles goes back to my roots in Maine and loving summer camp, being open to new people and understanding that there is no separateness. I am amazed that I only went to summer camp for a week in the summer but it was the most powerful week of my year, shedding the layers of my protective cloak in a matter of hours and digging in deep with other teens at camp and becoming an ensemble. I am grateful for ensembles.
I started on Monday this week and it’s late Thursday night and I feel like I went to summer camp, became part of an ensemble, a family. I am so grateful for this clump of new people in my life, even if i never get to do it again with them, I’m changed by them and this experience.
This work made me need to ask for help from my partner Sarah, to rehearse and run and lines with me – she stayed up super late and allowed me freak out a little and kept going even after she was past her regular expiration date that evening. I’m grateful for Sarah and giving me time and space to practice, free of judgment. My girl Sarah is never a dream-stomper, for that I am forever grateful.
I am grateful for having a previous experience in front of a camera, where someone my friend Jill entrusted me with another storytelling in Transparent – that experience helped me understand things that were completely transferable to this experience and helped me be less in the dark and a little less afraid.
I am grateful to know that more than one production is a tightly knit family, that welcome new members all the time. I am grateful for Jill welcoming me in when she did 3 years ago.
I am grateful for my friend Margaret who has supported me and elevated me from the time I arrived in Hollyweird. I honestly believe of it were not for her telling me a decade ago, that trans people need representation and need voices, I don’t know if I would have pushed with such intent toward my hopes of real change and chasing my love of entertaining/performing and being part of a love revolution for trans people. I am grateful to be awake to see all the amazing movement with trans people in media. Grateful to be awake, grateful for Margaret’s love and encouragement – always.
I am grateful to David and Daryl for working so hard for me and they barely know me – pushing so hard for me so I can go play with an ensemble. I am grateful every day for a bright, intelligent team!!
I am grateful for a man who changed my life 15 years ago with a postcard advertising a standup comedy writing workshop back in Portland Maine. Tim changed my life and plugged me into a love that had been waiting for me. I am so grateful for that comedy love discovery and and for your extended friendship Tim.
But even deeper rooted, I am grateful for my family and parents who, whether they realize it or not, have also elevated me as their youngest child or sibling and told me through their actions and exactly with their words, that it was more than just okay to be me, but cherished. I am grateful to have a family where that has always been valued. I remember being a kid and my mom saying “just be yourself and people will love you”. I am grateful those words have been embedded in me.
Those words helped me in the makeup room this week, where everything expanded.
To all my loving friends here in CA and in Maine and all over, I am grateful for all of you – you rock my world with your love, I am grateful.
At this point, this is surely seeming like an award speech – I’ve won nothing, and simultaneously, won everything! I am grateful I have won everything in this moment. I am grateful to be tired and laying in bed. Here are some pics from this weeks lovely ensemble.
Thank you to YOUNG & HUNGRY! Watch the show, it’s a funny and heartfelt, well-written sitcom on Freeform which used to be ABC family.
I could be totally wrong here and I’m open to on-topic discussions, thoughts and opinions…
I got to thinking about the NC hateful “bathroom bill” that just passed & was signed into law. Although it does include other hateful pieces of legislation in the bill against the entire LGBTQIA community, by allowing businesses to freely discriminate, giving permission to post signs and refusing service to us at their place of business.. To which, I don’t know how on earth can they can clock people as gay/straight? How will they know whether or not that older, short-haired, butch woman is a legit, ol’ salty, stonewall dyke or just someone’s sweet southern grandma (as Margaret says, I don’t know if that woman is my meemaw or my new Daddy) – yes, many of them look the same. Are they gonna quiz grandma on who she gets nekkid with? Part of me is like, let’s see who puts up those signs and how long those hateful people stay in business before having to close up shop forever..
I don’t think it’s the people of NC as much as it is their hateful representatives that are not representing their constituents accurately, pushing these kinds of laws with their own screwy agenda.
Also I think It’s important to note, being refused service from a bigoted business owner simply doesn’t carry the same weight of DANGER as a transgender, gender non-conforming, or intersex person using a public restroom and the violence that can occur. Trans people, gender non-conforming people and intersex people are already being attacked for using public restrooms on the regular, and we have states making laws giving many crackpots license to be more violent toward people, who simply need to go to the bathroom. They’re trying to pass a law offering bounty if you find a trans person in the “wrong bathroom” in Kansas. This is essentially deputizing people to hurt other human beings and giving financial incentive to do so.
To me all of these bills are entirely about policing gender and not really about orientation. Take a breath and just think about this for a moment.. This is entirely about policing gender and not about who you choose to partner with/love, because even when trying to clock people as LGB, they are not looking at you trying to guess who you mmmmmight be attracted to, THEY ARE CLOCKING YOUR GENDER, ASSESSING WHERE THEY THINK YOU ARE ON A MASCULINE-FEMININE SPECTRUM, AND WRONGLY ASSIGNING YOUR GENDER PRESENTATION TO YOUR ORIENTATION. Yes, read that again, we all do it to each other every day, we don’t clock orientation, we clock gender and wrongly assign it to your orientation. Despite even what we as LGBTQIA people joke about with each other in our friendly circles, NO ONE CAN TELL WHO YOU LOVE BY LOOKING AT YOU. They are clocking your gender and assigning it to your orientation – policing your gender.
So, see.. This is not just a trans problem, it is an everyone problem, and not just everyone in the LGB community, it’s anyone who has gender, problem, because people are reading and clocking yours and deciding things about you when they have no idea. IT’S AN EVERYONE PROBLEM, but not because your gay, lesbian or bisexual, but because everyday you make a performance with your gender, and now other people are making laws about where you and your meemaw can/can’t be in this world.
Legislators in NC and many other states introducing these horrific bills want to police everyones gender and keep people afraid of anyone who doesn’t fit their two little gender boxes. THAT LEAVES THE LARGE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, OUT OF THEIR DUMB CLUB.
But most of all, THIS IS A DIRECT ATTACK ON TRANS WOMEN, PEOPLE WHO DONT HAVE PASSING PRIVILEGE, GENDER NON-CONFORMING PEOPLE INCLUDING CHILDREN, AND INTERSEX PEOPLE.
This may sound strange but I don’t consider myself on that list, because I have passing privilege and as much as I still get in my head about using a public men’s restroom, no one in that room ever clocks me as anything other than a man. So I am not necessarily speaking for myself on this issue, I am speaking about the people who are truly at risk.
As ironic and half-joking as it might seem, at first, for me to post a picture of myself in the women’s restroom trying to mock legislators for wanting to put me there, I have done it in the past and I am now rethinking it. I wanted them to imagine me with this manly body and beard, in the ladies room with their female friends and family, daughters and sisters and kids, but for me, what I think I just realized is, that isn’t really helping change the narrative. No one should fear me in a public restroom, no one should fear anyone specific person in a public restroom. I don’t think it’s helping the current narrative change because the current narrative isn’t about trans guys like me, who have passing privilege. The current narrative is that there are men dressing as women in order to go into women’s public restrooms in order to sexually assault women. In case you haven’t heard, HAS NEVER, EVER EVER EVER happened. The targets of this hate legislation are CLEAR: trans women, transgender people, gender non-conforming adults and children, and intersex people.. and although I am trans, I have (fortunately and unfortunately) passing privilege. So I am rethinking taking selfies in the women’s room because I don’t want to take away from life and death significance of who the real targets are here with this hate legislation.
This is not to shame my trans brothers who have done this, I did this, and I am just now rethinking it.
HOWEVER, I do think that the targets of these hateful laws, posting selfies in the public restroom that they would be legally bound to use, if they were in those states, ARE POWEFUL, and should continue, because it is those people: trans women, gender non-conforming people and kids and intersex people, who are most impacted by these horrific laws – to show that imagery I believe IS powerful and a form of protest when we can’t be in NC to protest in person.
I don’t know what to do about these gross laws, I’m guessing the Transgender Law Center is already working on it, there’s been question if HRC is working on it, I don’t know. I want to find out. I’m open to hearing ways I can help. Can I speak somewhere? Does what I say mean something? How can I be of service?
For me, I don’t like to not having a solution. But maybe I can help assist in changing the narrative, but maybe I need to first remember that, we of ALLLLLL genders, use the same friggin bathroom at home. Why does that change when we exit our homes? Maybe the solution is to make nice, safe, public bathrooms that all may use and we stop monitoring, policing, and clocking each other’s gender. It will take some practice, but before long it will be simpler that way and don’t we all like simpler?
Maybe to help aid in that that shift in the narrative, in my social media photo posts, if I take selfies in the bathroom, I will and/or we all can, begin asking friends of all genders to take happy selfie pics of ourselves, all of us together, safe, happy, free and peesful in the same public bathroom, together.