HerStory Tells Our Story

A new YouTube web-series called HerStory debuted today aimed directly at the transgender and gender neutral community, thus filling the programming void of the silent ‘T’ in the alphabet soup of the queer community.

Jen Richards plays Violet
Jen Richards plays Violet

Jen Richards of “I Am Cait” fame and Angelica Ross founder of Trans Tech Social Enterprises, a creative design firm and training academy focused on creating employment for the transgender and gender non-conforming community, star in the six part web series centered around Violet and Paige, “that looks inside the dating lives of trans & queer women as they navigate the intersections of desire & identity.”

As a person who is transgender, we are used to being marginalized on the big and small screen as cartoonish characters; dead hooker number one, the man in the dress and the hot girl with a surprise seem to be the common stereotypes of trans women, but it looks like HerStory seeks to change that in one brush stroke.

Written by Jen Richards, who plays a waitress named Violet, and Laura Zak who plays Allie, a plucky little journalist with a story to break on Trans acceptance, meet for an interview and sparks begin to fly. Violet’s friend Paige, played masterfully by Angelica Ross, is an attorney for Lambda Legal when she meets James, played by Christian Ochoa, a dough-eyed handsome man who will become Paige’s love interest, however, both of them are harboring a “secret” that each discloses at the end of episode six.

Enter the Rad Fem Lisa who despises Trans women and is constantly misgendering Violet, Kat the best friend to Allie who for some reason also uses incorrect pronouns, but indicates that she would date a trans woman and Jen, the “gold star lesbian” who talks about nothing but being a lesbian, and you have your L-Word trifecta of characters.

Angelica Ross plays Paige
Angelica Ross plays Paige

Lisa the Rad Fem, played by Caroline Whitney Smith, seems out of place among this group of friends; hurling her transphobic slurs around like a dead cat, Caroline W. Smith seems almost uneasy in this role and her delivery felt forced. Although her character Lisa can be considered tame compared to the insults most of us receive daily on social media sites like Twitter, Smith couldn’t quite deliver them with the vitriol us in the Trans community are used to receiving. Smith as an actress however, is the perfect antagonist to Allie, Violet and mainly Paige, who puts Lisa in her place in one of the best scenes of episode six.

The story unfolds in eight minute episodes that pack so much clever dialogue into them that the viewer is left wanting twenty more minutes. The beauty of each episode is when you become so emotionally invested in the characters based on the intelligent conversation shot against the gritty backdrop of Los Angeles, you realize that eight just may be enough.

HerStory unfolded across the screen wonderfully and with my self-admitted girl crush on Jen Richards, it’s nice that our story was told by our voices.  Here’s to hoping there are more episodes to come because “it never gets easier for girls like us,” and HerStory is well worth the watch.