“Her Story”

By Megan Wadding, March 2016 Issue.

A groundbreaking new web series focusing on the lives and loves of transgender and queer women, and their friends, coworkers and partners, has emerged on to the small screen scene in a big way.

The series, co-written and co-produced by Laura Zak, centers on her character Allie, a queer-identified magazine writer; Violet, a trans bartender played by series’ co-creator and co-writer Jenn Richards (“I Am Cait”); and Paige, a black trans lawyer played by Angelica Ross.

The first season, which is divided into six short episodes that were released Jan. 19 via herstoryshow.com, offers viewers trans protagonists played by trans women.

“Trans women in the media have long been punchlines, killers, indications of urban grit, pathetic tragedies and dangerous sirens,” according to herstoryshow.com. “Rarely have they been complex characters who laugh, struggle and grow, who share strength in sisterhood, who seek and find love. ‘Her Story’ depicts the unique, complicated and very human women we see in queer communities, and explores how these women navigate the intersections of label identity and love.”

The series, set in Los Angeles, starts off with Allie asking to interview Violet for a piece she is writing on transgender individuals for a local magazine. They eventually meet for the interview and quickly form a friendship that turns romantic.

Allie is the tie that connects all of the others together, sort of everyone’s best friend. She isn’t afraid to say it like it is, and her personality is a bit reminiscent of Alice from Showtime’s “The L Word.” Allie quickly falls for Violet, and is confused about her feelings because she claims to have never met a trans women before. Her character is very eager to learn and is always respectful.

Violet is delicate, sweet and loveable. She hasn’t had an easy life and her living situation is volatile, but Allie seems to be able to provide her with the support she’s so very much in need of. It’s easy to see why Allie is mesmerized with Violet from their first interaction.

Paige is beautiful and charming, but she provides a perfect foil for Violet through her toughness and sharp tongue. In one of the episodes, she even compares herself to Kerry Washington. Rightfully so: she’s a tough-as-nails lawyer and always speaks her mind, and is also a wonderful friend and sounding board for Violet. We see her struggle with disclosure when she begins dating a straight cisgender man who does not know that she is trans.

We also catch a glimpse into Allie’s seemingly close-knit circle of lesbian friends. In a particularly poignant scene, where one of Allie’s friends, Lisa, makes transphobic comments, which offers the audience a frank portrayal of rampant transphobia that persists within the LGBTQ community.

Paige (Angelica Ross) and James (Christian Ochoa).

Through the characters of Violet and Paige, we see very realistic trans women navigating their professional and personal lives while alsot touching on such subjects as dating, disclosure, domestic violence, being outed

and transphobia within the LGBTQ community and beyond.

The show sheds some much-needed light on these trans issues in a truly honest and authentic way. Such character development has not really been seen at this level before.

Additionally, the script is very well written. The dialogue between these women is filled with witty banter and realistic dialogue (think: “Sex and the City”) that draws you into their world from the first episode.

Zak and Richards did an exceptional job at giving the audience a group of fascinating women to tell these stories. Their characters are immediately lovable and relatable, and we can all see a little of ourselves – or our friends – in them.

The series was shot gorgeously, the dialogue is realistic, the stories are moving, the jokes are funny and the actresses are so very talented. This show shines a spotlight on trans lives in a way we have never seen before.

There’s no doubt the 55 minutes of these six episodes will leave you wanting more. Thankfully, there’s more “Her Story” (10 30-minute episodes, we’re told) in the works.

For more information on “Her Story,” or to view Season 1, visit herstoryshow.com.

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