WATCH: Sitcom The Switch Could Make Trans TV History

By Mitch Kellaway

Originally published on Advocate.com June 26 2014 4:45 PM ET

According to Vancouver-based television producer Amy Fox, her new sitcom The Switch could push trans representation forward 15 years. In a recent Bustle interview, she discussed how the show's forecasted reach is beyond anything advocates could have imagined happening before 2030.

Why? Because unlike any trans-centered show before it, The Switch has already procured a broadcast agreement from a TV network in Canada. If it reaches its fundraising goal and successfully airs, Julie Vu, who portrays main character Sü, will become the first trans actor to play a lead on television.

The show, which released its half-hour pilot online yesterday, is a magical-realist comedy that begins when Sü comes out as a trans woman at work and subsequently loses her job and apartment. As she tries to rebuild her life, she becomes surrounded by a zany group of roommates and friends, including several trans characters also portrayed by trans actors.

If Sü's story sounds like another instance of trans tragedy, Fox assures viewers that its setbacks will be portrayed like those in any other "wonderfully flawed" protagonist's life.

"In televised fiction, transgender characters seem to be the new hip, token, topical minority. This representation lacks a lot of creativity, with trans people standing for a narrow (and often tragic) rehash of the issue," she told Bustle. "[The Switch] will show us dealing with things that have little to do with being transgender."

"And," she adds, "when trans issues are the focus of an episode, it will not be the same old story of victimhood, but resistance to a variety of attacks on our dignity[.]"

With the majority of their funding expected from broadcaster commitments, tax credits, and grants, Fox's Trembling Void Studios has set up a Kickstarter to gather the remainder and finally make the groundbreaking show a reality.

To meet some of the show's hilarious characters, watch the video below, and catch the pilot here.

Contributor: 
Mitch Kellaway