The show opens with a shot of woman’s naked body, covered by just a sparkly thong and nipple pasties followed by a plinky-plonky woe is me speech from someone who isn’t feeling confident. How original. Trans women are sex objects and we hate ourselves. It’s 15 seconds into this documentary and because of the rules of Transgender-On-TV-Trope Bingo, (snappy title, huh?) I have to down a shot of vodka and two fingers of Czech beer. (See below if you wanna play along too)
Next up, there’s a shot of a trans woman doing her makeup. I check the bingo card, a shot of whiskey it is then. The next shot is literally trans women fighting, I pick the “wildcard” in the centre and down more whiskey as the melodramatic voiceover lady says
“But they’re not just fighting for first place, they’re battling to be accepted for the women they were born to be.” For fucks sake, I’ve gotta down a whole glass of beer now! I’m sick a little in my mouth but it’s ok, I swallowed it! Nobody need ever know! Hic.
The plinky plonky music has carried on for more than 5 minutes, which means more vodka. It doesn’t go down very well and I feel my stomach contracting and I fight with all my might not to make a mess of the rug in my living room.
Nine minutes in and the trans women are sex workers trope comes up and I begin to seriously question my life choices. Whiskey again. Courtney is a recovering addict and wants to raise awareness about how trans women can get trapped in the sex industry. I fucking love her, fuck yes! Ok, still a trope, but power to you, girl! On another note, my tummy has made an executive decision to not have any more alcohol for at least the next ten minutes, we’re 8 minutes in and at this rate, I’ll either run out of alcohol or die from alcohol poisoning. And I’m not even being dramatic.
I’ve had to pause the video because I can’t type and watch TV at the same time, I’m kinda squinting with one eye, focusing on typing this, thank His Noodly Appendages for squiggly red line spell checker!
I throw one of my cats stuffed mice at the TV as Jai is misgendered, made out to be an attention seeker and called a tra**y to her face by her ex boyfriend, I swear loud enough for Bruce (my cat) to jump awake and bang his head on the heater. We’re 16 minutes in and I well up for Jai.
The next scene jolts me to my senses, the regional heats. Another itsy-bitsy bikini-clad body dances up and down a stage in front of a panel of judges, I wonder if they marked the girl down because she was wearing a bra and not nipple pasties? What rules do these masters of the trans universe judges have? I bet it’s like ‘theme tune must be sexy plinky plonky music’ or bonus points for sexy air humping. Also, the venue they’re holding it in looks tacky as fuck.
It’s at this point I very nearly noped the fuck out but decide to bravely press on. It’s a shitty job but someone’s gotta do it. Half an hour in and we have Kellie Maloney on t’BBC going on about how this transgender beauty pageant isn’t just about looks. Err, do you think I’m fucking stupid or something, love? We’re thirty minutes in and we’ve already seen more naked, writhing flesh than the average teenage boys weekly porn consumption!
Courtney is also on live TV and brings up how some young trans girls are sucked into sex work, she says not enough is done to help these women. She’s fucking wonderful. When news of this reaches the pageant there is uproar! Crikey! There are candid cam shots of people slut shaming her. WTF. Real life facts are that some trans people are reluctantly trapped in sex work and that is hell for them, I’m not saying that’s true for all trans sex workers but we need to acknowledge this problem for some.
I’m not even going to get into the fight scene. WTAF… Courtney is talking about how she hoped to use the prize money to escape sex work. We’re literally watching the exploitation of trans women on national fucking television. ‘As long as you’re a beautiful enough, trans enough, privileged enough woman, we’ll use your desperation to sell an entertainment show to the BBC!’
It’s not just manipulation of sex workers though, the organisers are offering a grand prize of a vagina! Yes you read that right, the winner of this competition will get free lower surgery with some unheard of quack doctor in India! I heard the perfect analogy a few weeks back, imagine if there was a Miss Cancer UK and the prettiest cancer patient gets free private chemo? Why the fuck is this shit on my telly? What has gone wrong at BBC Three where they think that this is an acceptable piece of television? I can imagine the conversation in the BBC director general’s office, ‘here’s a lovely big carrot you nasty little trans women, now dance motherfuckers, dance!’
These women are being exploited. This show is being dressed up as sympathetic to trans women but it is thinly veiled transphobia. The BBC have endorsed this.
I wanted this blog to be about a happy, tipsy, piss taking type thing but it’s just made me angry. There’s this big ‘you’re not trans enough’ argument that breaks out at the end and I can’t even be arsed writing about how stupid that is.
I wrote this not to attack the people who took part in this show, telling your stories on television is a courageous thing to do and I admire you for it, pageants aren’t my thing but fair play.
I wrote this to point out how stupid the very idea of having a panel of judges giving trans women marks out of ten on how womanly or sexy she is. You can blab on however much you like about wanting to raise awareness and shit but when you have nearly naked trans women parading around for a baying crowd in the hopes of being publicly acknowledged as trans enough to win surgery, your argument means jack shit. The sponsors, organisers and the BBC literally have manipulated vulnerable trans women into brawling on TV, fighting for surgery.
I have to go now, I’m drunk as fuck and I think this time I’m actually going to throw up.
Here’s my bingo card, please excuse the shittyness of my computer skills and the fact that I forgot to put the drinking rules in. I made those up and now I’m wasted. I love lamp.