Posts Tagged ‘Ugly Betty’

Why Ugly Betty’s Alexis Meade is important

March 12, 2008

From the wonderful blog Transgriot:

Rebecca Romijn’s Alexis Meade character is that important, peeps. While Ms. Romijn isn’t transgender, her character, like Uhura 40 years before is a representative of a group marginalized in American society. Alexis is not only intelligent and beautiful, but is shown in a position of power and influence. The reactions of her family members ranging from her mother Claire’s total acceptance of her daughter to her father Bradford’s outright rrejection and her brother Daniel struggling with the changes in their relationship mirror what goes on in our lives.

She also gives non-transgender people a glimpse of the prejudice we face, the alienation that we experience from friends and family alike, our complicated love lives, and the gut wrenching emotions we go through before and after transition. I could write posts every day for the next ten years about these issues, but a top rated TV show such as Ugly Betty in the one hour it’s on the air reaches more people than Bilerico and my TransGriot one combined.

Like the unknown positive effects of Nichelle Nichols’ Uhura that became apparent decades later, how many transkids who are being teased, tormented and bullied flip on Ugly Betty and are reassured by Rebecca’s character they aren’t alone, they aren’t freaks and they can one day BE Alexis Meade? How many of those transkids will be inspired to do great things because of this character?

Rebecca Romijn as Alexis Meade on Ugly Betty

February 4, 2008

I’m catching up on Ugly Betty on DVD and love the Alexis Meade story line (Rebecca Romijn plays a MTF):

Here’s an interview with her about her role on the show at Gaywired (via Femulate)

“I happen to have several friends who are transgender so it’s something that is a very sensitive subject and it’s very close to my heart,” said Romijn, who plays Alexis on the show. “It’s something that I would never want to make any choices that would insult my friends. I also feel like I’m part of a movement of people that are sort of making it into mainstream society and don’t really have a voice yet or are still finding their voice. It’s kind of an honor. At first it just sounded like a really fun character to play. Now it feels a little bit more important.”

Those friends of hers in the community approve. “[They have been] super positive,” she says. “I’ve met a lot of transgender (people), which has been really interesting. They love it. Everything that I pick up for the character, I pick up for them. It can be a sensitive subject. To make that decision to change your gender is a huge decision so of course I would never want to offend my friends. Hopefully I have not and the writers are all very knowledgeable and supportive and sympathetic with the character.”

Here’s a YouTube montage:

Candis Cayne’s Hollywood genderbending history

November 14, 2007

Photo from Flickr user hobbes313

Candis Cayne offers up a history of crossdressing and genderbending in TV and film over at Elle (yes, Elle!!), from I Love Lucy to Ugly Betty and much more. Here’s what Elle has to say:

Dirty Sexy Money has captured audiences this season with a heady mix of politics, riches, and between-the-sheets action. But its most notable draw has been the presence of Carmelita, a transgender character who one-ups Ugly Betty’s foray into blurry sex lines courtesy of Candis Cayne, nee Brendan McDaniel?a true life transgender who is breaking barriers in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. “When the role first came along, I thought ‘My life, my career, me me me,’ and then I realized, this is so much bigger than me,” Cayne said. “There have been a lot of other transgender people in the other arts, but never on a network show.” Cayne herself is at the forefront of a recent gender-bending trend, starting with last year’s Transamerica, continuing with Rebecca Romijn’s Alexis Meade character (one of the first transgenders on television, but still played by a woman) and leading up to a general pop culture attitude that is not just tolerant, but of open heart and mind. Here, Cayne shares with us some of the most enlightened moments in drag queens, androgyny, and the thin line between boy and girl. .

See also:
Candis Cayne on Wikipedia