The cast of this final season of The Real World, which was shot last year in San Francisco, got schooled in the varieties of trans identity and what it means to be genderqueer, etc., via five queer people of color from Oakland on last night's episode. This all came about because midway through shooting the show, after the cast had been identified, Oakland-based artist Ari Fitz (who's going by Arielle Scott on the show) found out that there was internet rumor going around that she was actually trans. She's not, but she is a lesbian and has worked androgynous looks into a modeling career, but her reaction to the rumors was really negative and emotional, despite knowing plenty of trans people herself.
Saying that it "threatened her lesbian identity," she decided she needed to work through her feelings and the producers worked this into an MTV-style educational moment for the whole cast. Fitz invited a group of five of her Oakland friends including black queer transman Kingston Farady, Krys Freeman, Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski, Chaney Turner, and Charleen “Chikun” Caabay, each of whom represented "various gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations."
As the East Bay Express reports, the group met with the cast for about four hours but the resulting discussion was distilled down into a mini-PSA length of five minutes.
“I was feeling some type of way because the Internet decided I was trans,” Fitz said in a recent interview, “and everyone in the house was talking about it, too. I wanted to know if feeling negative was even a good feeling to have, so I reached out to my community to come and talk about it.” ...
"It’s the start needed to get people asking questions,” Farady said in a recent interview. "I knew there would be gaps because you can’t capture this conversation in a few minutes on reality TV. I also knew it would create critique around the perception of one person talking on behalf of all trans people. But I figured, criticism, dramatization, and misrepresentation or not, people would see a black trans person visible on TV, and start talking."
Cast members were, predictably, in the confession booth, impressed with how well Farady "passed" as a cisgender man, and they learned what the term "cisgender" means.
Expect liberal high school teachers around the country to use this episode as a bridge to dialogue about this final frontier in equal justice, identity politics, and diversity awareness. And hopefully Fox News will leave this one alone.
The trans discussion starts in the video below at the 24:30 mark.