Amid the growing appearance of trans actors in trans roles on scripted television — including recent roles for Scott Turner Schofield, Trace Lysette, Michelle Hendley, Laverne Cox, Alexandra Billings, Ian Harvie, and Tom Phelan, among others — there's been one group conspicuously absent: trans men of color.
It's a reality that often gets glossed over in the excitement, though hopefully not for long now, if Bronx-based black screenwriter Seven King has anything to do with it. Speaking to The Advocate, the ambitious 26-year-old shared how he's taking matters into his own hands with his new scripted web series Eden's Garden. Premiering this summer, the 13-episode show will offer audiences an unprecedented look into the everyday lives and loves of black and Latino trans men in New York City.
Echoing Logo's gone-before-its time comedy Noah's Arc, which revolved around the a tight-knit group of non-trans black gay men in Los Angeles, Eden's Garden will "go there" with images and stories of trans men of color that viewing audiences have never seen elswhere. Notably, three out of the five main characters are either bisexual or pansexual, while main character Eden's storyline portrays an underexplored narrative of love between a straight trans man and trans woman.
The show aims to expose audiences to numerous aspects of what King calls "trans-reality" — including dating while trans, trans men in same-sex relationships, HIV and AIDS, and gay- and trans-bashing — all grounded in themes enshrined by the show's character-driven dramedy predecessors: sex, love, betrayal, and friendship.
In the trailer below, audiences are given the first glimpses of the sensitive Eden (played by King himself), wisecracking Papo (D'jamel Young), fiercely loyal Jacob (Bryce Richardson), commitment-phobic Angel (Chance Lombardi), and quiet Dre (Kamar Porter), who struggles with dating while "stealth" (not disclosing about his trans history) — five complex men who King says are drawn from his own life experiences and those of other trans men he knows.
"The content in the writing is like a diary for me, but also a representation of numerous guys' experience that may be trans," he explains to The Advocate. "The life of a trans-male is a different experience from a cis-male in certain ways. ... I wanted to create a series that will not only educate and advocate, but give suspenseful entertainment in scripted form." King adds that he feels "the media has a bigger platform for the trans woman experience than the trans-male," which has left audiences unversed in some of the daily realities trans men may face.
Eden's Garden's growing fanbase seems to agree, with the series trailer already garnering more than 22,000 views online. Still fundraising as he produces the episodes, King tells The Advocate that he has big plans for Eden's Garden. "Just Season 1 will be provided for the world. Season 2 is looking for a liable network to pick the series up as a TV show."
Watch the trailer here, then watch Seven King, Bryce Richardson, and D'jamel Young discuss their characters below.