The importance of diverse representation in media can't be overstated. This is especially true for the transgender community, who have historically been underrepresented and misrepresented in popular culture. Seeing people like yourself depicted on the screen can be a powerful and affirming experience. And it's crucial for the transgender community to have visible role models and positive representation in the media.
Despite the progress in recent years, there is still a long way to go when it comes to trans representation. Trans men, Trans-masc and Non-binary folks are still relatively invisible when it comes to television. With the exception of perhaps Elliott Page, most Trans male and Trans masc actors are relatively unknown. And trans characters are often reduced to stereotypes or tokenized. They're rarely given the opportunity to develop fully as three-dimensional characters. This is why it is so important to highlight and celebrate the few shows that are doing trans representation right.
With that in mind, here are seven television shows that feature significant Trans Male, and Trans masc or Non-Binary characters. These shows offer nuanced and complex portrayals of Trans characters. They also provide a much-needed platform for trans actors and creators. By watching and supporting these shows, we can help to create more opportunities for trans representation in the media and ensure that the transgender community has a voice in popular culture.
1. Paul Strickland - 9-1-1: Lonestar
"9-1-1: Lone Star" is a Fox show about a team of first responders in Austin, Texas. The show follows the lives of police officers, firefighters, and paramedics as they tackle emergencies, both big and small. One of the main characters is Brian Michael Smith's character, Paul Strickland. Paul is a transgender man and a firefighter with the Austin Fire Department.
Brian Michael Smith's portrayal of Paul is sensitive and nuanced, and he brings a unique perspective to the show. Paul is a strong and capable firefighter, but he also struggles with the challenges and discrimination of being a trans man in a traditionally cis male-dominated field. Despite these challenges, Paul is determined to prove himself and be a valuable team member. He is also a supportive and caring friend to his fellow firefighters, and his relationships with the other characters are a highlight of the show.
Overall, "9-1-1: Lone Star" is an exciting and heart-pounding drama with strong performances and compelling storylines. Brian Michael Smith's portrayal of Paul adds an essential layer of depth and authenticity to the show, and his character is a standout among the talented cast.
2. Viktor Hargreeves - Umbrella Academy
"The Umbrella Academy" is a 2019 Netflix series based on the comic book series by Gerard Way. It follows seven superpowered children, born on the same day to mothers who showed no signs of pregnancy. These “siblings” were all adopted by and trained by billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves to use their abilities for good.
After Hargreeves' death, the estranged siblings are brought together by their brother, Number Five, who travels through time and warns them of an impending apocalypse. Viktor Hargreeves, played by Elliot Page, is the eldest sibling and leader of the group. He is known as "Number Seven" or "The White Violin." Using his violin as a tool, he possesses the ability to convert sound into devastating force, capable of both taking lives and leveling entire structures. In the third season, Viktor comes out as a transgender man. This change corresponds with Page's own transition in real life.
As the siblings work together to prevent the end of the world, they also deal with personal conflicts that drove them apart.
3. Theo Putnam - Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
The trans character of the day is Theo Putnam from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. He is canonically a trans man! (he/him) pic.twitter.com/Fr01Na0JGo— Trans Character Of The Day (@transcharaOTD) July 26, 2021
"Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" is a Netflix show that follows the life of Sabrina Spellman, a half-human, half-witch teenager who has to navigate life in the mortal world while also learning how to use her powers. Slated as a supernatural horror-drama show, it may be considered scary by some viewers due to its themes of witchcraft, the occult, and horror elements. However, it also has some comedic and romantic elements that may appeal to a broader audience.
One of the characters on the show is Theo Putnam, who is a Trans guy. Theo is also a part of Baxter High's WICCA club and is one of Sabrina's best friends. He is a kind and supportive friend to Sabrina and the other characters. Overall, the show is an exciting and suspenseful mix of magic and coming-of-age struggles, and Theo is a well-developed and important part of the cast.
4. Micah Lee - L Word: Generation Q
"The L Word: Generation Q" is the sequel to the original "The L Word" series. It follows a new generation of LGBTQ+ characters in Los Angeles as they navigate love, friendships, and their careers. The show features returning characters from the original series, including Bette Porter, Alice Pieszecki, and Shane McCutcheon, as well as new characters like Dani Nùñez and Micah Lee. Micah Lee is the show’s primary trans character. He is an educator and therapist grappling with his identity and relationships while working to make a difference in the world.
The show explores themes of identity, intersectionality, and social justice and includes storylines involving activism, the LGBTQ+ community, and the changing landscape of the entertainment industry. Michah's role is played by actor Leo Sheng.
5. Buck Vu - The OA
🏳️⚧️ trans char of the day is Buck Vu from The OA (he/him) 🏳️⚧️ pic.twitter.com/uIzTnKYaDq— a 𝒏ya ✧ (@sablepphic) July 7, 2022
The OA is a television series about a woman named Prairie Johnson, "the OA" who reappears after being missing for seven years. Upon her return, she enlists the help of five people from her hometown on a mission to save other missing people. The show explores themes of identity, trauma, and the power of belief as Prairie tells the story of her past and her journey to find and rescue others.
Buck Vu is a high school student and is one of the five people chosen by Prairie Johnson to help her on her mission. Buck is trans and struggles with his identity, as his peers often bully him. Despite this, he is a kind and compassionate person who can see the good in others.
Buck is initially skeptical of Johnson’s claims and her mission but becomes a loyal and supportive ally as he learns more about her past and her powers. He also becomes close friends with the other group members and plays a key role in helping them carry out The OA's plan. In the show, the character Buck Vu is portrayed by Ian Alexander, who also identifies as trans and nonbinary.
6. James Sullivan - The Politician
"The Politician" is a Netflix show that follows the ambitious and scheming Payton Hobart (played by Ben Platt) as he navigates his way through the cutthroat world of politics. One of the standout characters on the show is Theo Germaine's character, James Sullivan. James is Payton's campaign manager and is often by his side as they strategize and scheme their way to the top. James is a trans man, and Theo Germaine's portrayal of the character is nuanced and layered. He is smart, driven, and fiercely loyal to Payton, but he also has his own goals and motivations.
Overall, "The Politician" is a fast-paced and entertaining show, and Theo Germaine's portrayal of James is a highlight. If you're a fan of political drama, this show is definitely worth checking out.
7. Matthew - Party of Five (2020)
"Party of Five" is a 2020 TV show that follows the lives of the Acosta family, who are struggling to navigate life after their parents are deported to Mexico. The show is a modern take on the 1990s series of the same name and deals with themes of immigration, family, and the American Dream. The show stars Brandon Larracuente as Emilio, the eldest brother who must now step up and become the head of the household. Emilio’s best friend, Matthew, an undocumented trans man, is a recurring character on the show who is also trying to navigate his own life and identity. He is a charming and ambitious young man who wants to help the Acosta family but also has his own personal struggles. The actor who plays Matthew, Garcia, identifies as non-binary and has been praised for their performance on the show.
This is definitely a show that deals with some heavy themes, but it also has its fair share of humor and lighthearted moments. The dynamic between the Acosta siblings and their friends, like Matthew, adds depth and humor to the show. Plus, including characters like Matthew, who is both undocumented and trans, brings important perspectives and representation to the screen. It's definitely worth a watch!
As a society, we are finally starting to see more representation of trans individuals in the media. These seven shows, which range from comedy to drama, not only provide entertainment but also give a voice to trans male experiences. Representation matters. And it's crucial that people who are underrepresented are able to see themselves reflected on screen. It's heartening to see more representation of trans men in the media, as it not only gives a voice to our communities but can also help break down stereotypes and misconceptions. It's a reminder that trans people exist and that we too have hopes, fears, and dreams. The time for representation and visibility are long overdue.