Some notes regarding a trans writer and trans actors

Torrey Peters was awarded the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel for Detransition Baby. The judges’ citation read in part: “Torrey Peters’s Detransition, Baby, with its sharp wit, devastating clarity, and keenly observed characters, is exceptional not only for its fluid, intelligent prose, but also for the way the novel challenges dominant narratives of time and of gender that flatten and erase the rich complexity of the lives of both cis and trans people. There’s an elation, an honesty, and a verve to Peters’s voice that sounds unlike any prose in recent memory, a unique energy which keeps the narrative moving as she threads in and out of the consciousness of her unforgettable characters.” Um, that’s sort of what I said in my review too.

Cheers to Canadian commercial TV networks for hiring trans women to play parts in major shows. I’ve already noted the CBC series Sort Of, and Bobbi Charlton’s recurring role in Family Law, but was unaware until recently that Kiley May, an Indigenous two spirit trans woman, plays assistant pathologist River Baitz on the CBC series Coroner. Kiley May is Hotinonhshón:ni, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) and Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River territory. Besides being an actor, she is a multidisciplinary artist and storyteller, writer, activist, and emerging filmmaker.

Elliot Page revealed that a trans character will be appearing in season three of the Netflix series Umbrella Academy due to begin in June. Page has been part of the cast since the beginning of the series. The Movie database describes Umbrella Academy as a “dysfunctional family of superheroes [that] comes together to solve the mystery of their father’s death, the threat of the apocalypse and more.”

The BBC recently reported on the ground breaking Serbian film Marble Ass. Released in 1995 and made during the height of the war in the former Yugoslavia, the film celebrated the lives of members of the LGBT community in the conservative country, and made a star of the trans actor Merlinka (Vjeran Miladinovic). Written and directed by Zelimir Zilnik and inspired by the director’s accidental encounter with Merlinka as she worked the street, the film occasioned an emotional and intense coming out moment during the premiere screening in Belgrade. A video of Zilnik’s description of that event and the difficulties he had in making the film are on the BBC site. As a friend to the community, Zilnik’s bumbling of trans terminology can be forgiven, but it was distressing to learn that Merlinka was assaulted and murdered in 2003. No one has ever been charged with her killing. The Merlinka International Queer Film Festival held in various Balkan nations that were once part of Yugoslavia is named in her honour.

Merlinka in Marble Ass