One of the things I had a chance to talk about with young trans advocates during this just completed Transgender Leadership Institute in Dallas was the upcoming February 15 debut of the CBS legal drama Doubt and why Laverne’s Cameron Wirth character to me has the same social and societal importance as Nichelle Nichols Uhura character was to Star Trek.
We are now in a moment in which the visibility of trans characters is increasing, and even better, they are increasingly being played by trans people, As much as I love Karla Mosley, love her as a cis woman and standup trans ally playing Maya Avant on The Bold and the Beautiful and talked about how groundbreakingand important her character was in Soap World, one problem I see with Maya Avant is that the longtime major character on the soap didn’t originally start out as a Black transgender woman.
In Doubt, Cameron Wirth is not only a major character that happens to be trans from the outset of the show, but is also played by a girl like us who can bring those subtle nuances of being a trans woman in real life to this character. .
“Yes, she’s trans. But now what?” Cox told a small group of reporters during the Television Critics Association’s winter meetings. “It’s sort of like a who cares, really. And I think having something like that on television, it helps the public to become familiar with that, to become comfortable with that. … Years before we saw a Black president in real life, we saw Black presidents on television.”
In a Hollywood in which far too often trans characters of color have either been killed off in the first fifteen seconds, are riddled with stereotypes, or played for comic relief, it is nice to see a girl like us dramatic character that is reflective of the segment of the trans community that is blessed to have advanced degrees and professional careers.
That character being Black and Ivy League educated is also a bonus. It’s also nice to hear this close to Valentine’s Day that Cameron will have a love life on the show.
It’s also coming at this critical time not only for this country, but for my own people in all the group I intersectionally interact with.. We all need to see Cameron Wirth for various reasons on our respective television screens.
Black folks have been far too reluctant to have this necessary ongoing honest discussions about transgender issues and the undeniable fact that African descended trans peeps are an interwoven part of the kente cloth fabric of the Black community.
As much as the right wing haters would love to force us back in the closet aided and abetted by preening kneegrow ministers spouting cherry picked scriptures designed to drive a wedge in our community between Black trans and cis folks, I’m happy to tell them that we exist, and we aren’t going away.
Cameron is reflective of a segment of the Black trans community my people and others need to see.far more often instead of the Jerry Springer stereotype or ‘tragic transsexual’ narrative playing in an endless loop in their brains.
The other reason why Cameron’s characters is so important is like Nichols’ Uhura character, it will expand in our trans kids and others minds the parameters of what is possible for trans people,
As a matter of fact, I know an amazing Black trans woman who is currently studying to become an attorney, and she is eager to see the show.
Just as seeing Uhura on television inspired a young girl growing up in Chicago named Mae Jemison to become an astronaut and another girl growing up in New York we know as Whoopi Goldberg to become an award winning actress, what impact will Laverne’s portrayal of Cameron Wirth have on the next generations of trans kids?
That’s a question I won’t be able to definitely answer for a while, but in the interim, I’ll enjoy watching Doubt starting Wednesday night at 9 PM EST while I do more hard solid thinking about the question I just posed to you. .