POLL: Trans* Representation


When we held our Favorite Canon Queer Couple poll last month, it sparked some conversation about the oft-overlooked T in LGBT. While we’ve made some good headway into representation for gay men and women in popular television, the trans* characters tend to be few, far between, and written by cisgender showrunners who might not fully understand the people they are trying to portray.

Well, we hear you. We’ve compiled a list of trans* characters from North American and British TV shows, and we’d like to hear who is your favorite. Feel free to sound off in the comments. Do you identify with someone on this list? Did seeing these characters on TV change your perspective on trans* issues? What would you like to see from these characters going forward? Or is there someone we missed who you would like to bring to all of our attention?
Keep in mind that these characters are not examples of perfect representation. In fact, some of them have been subject to characterization and plotting that do more harm to the trans* community than good. We welcome criticism, but please keep in mind that this poll is about celebrating our favorite characters, so kindly refrain from personal attacks on fellow commenters and fans.

Let’s raise our voices and let these showrunners how much we love the characters they’ve created, and how they could do better in the future. With any luck, this list of prominent trans* characters in mainstream television will only continue to grow in size and quality.

Poll Closes Nov 15th at 11pm

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They identify as queer.

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10 thoughts on “POLL: Trans* Representation

  1. I love Ms. Hudson, played by the wonderful Candis Cayne. Elementary should really bring her back for another storyline! Her Greek translation skills might come in handy again, perhaps?
    As far as representation is concerned, Adam from Degrassi and Sophia of OITNB are probably the most prominent characters. And I’m a big fan of Laverne Cox, so…
    But it’s ridiculous to consider the Always Sunny character as positive representation. Come on, she was actually called “the tr*nny” !

    1. I have no seen most of the shows on that list and was unaware of that slur. Yikes. Judging by the votes so far that character doesn’t have a lot of support, though. Looks like Sophia and Miss Hudson are the winners so far.

    1. As this is the second comment in regards to that character, she has been removed. I apologize. I’ve not seen the show and was working off a separate list.

      -Admin Angel

  2. Sophia is the best written Tran character i have ever seen on tv hands down, the fact that there are not a lot of black queer characters on tv just add to her appeal .anyone who as not watched this show need to just for her character,the show is amazing too.what makes Sophia even more special is her story ,they dealt with real issues and complications that comes about when a married man with a kid comes out as tran,it was so amazingly done .she is also a major character in the show.

  3. I think this list further proves how awful it was for Degrassi to kill off Adam. He might not have been perfect, but there is a severe lack of trans* characters and even more so a lack of FTMs. They really dropped the ball.
    I hope The CW will be able to pick up the pieces, and hopefully even cast someone who is actually FTM. (Although Jordan Todosey did a great job.)
    And I agree with Bonyo. Sophia is fantastic.

  4. I’ve identified with Adam Torres from Degrassi for so long and it was pretty crappy the way they killed him. I know so many transmen who looked up to Adam as a role model and were pretty devastated when he died. Because of Adam I was able to figured out why I felt so bad about myself and who I really was. I think it’s important to have people like Adam in the media. I liked Max from the L Word but after watching him for 3 season I pretty nervous and confused about the concept of being trans. It was hard to relate to Max but people could relate to Adam. He was just a boy trying to grow up and be himself. People could see themselves in Adam for so many reasons. There needs to be more young adult transmen on television. There just needs to be.

    1. I so loved adam, he was the only reason I really watched. His death seemed so sudden and weird, but the funeral was beautiful. Adam will always be an inspiration of mine.

  5. Max Sweeney, even though I didnt really like how they ended his story in L word, I think they did a good job at for the most part and the casting was great. Daniella Sea was believable and heartfelt in the role. I think his transition story was very relatable for many transguys, except for the getting pregnant part of course, which does happen but its very rare and they could have handled it sensitively in a joking manner.

    I liked Adam in the my body is a cage 2 episode arc, after that it went downhill from there, as an FTM Im not a big fan of Degrassi portrayal at all. The show seemed to focus too much on dating girls for the character, and the casting of Jordan ended up being a bad idea. Adam’s potential was wasted on degrassi really, killing off the character shows how little the show actually cared for this character, it seemed the show only wanted the in initial buzz they got for a trans storyline and not invest in the character and storyline at all. But Im not in high school any more maybe thats why I relate to Max more who was living a grown up life.

    Also I almost forgot, the UK show hollyoaks did great with the Jasmine/Jason storyline, one of my favourites. The actress whose first name I only remember as Victoria did a good job, she sold it very well more than Jordan Toddsey was able to do. Max Sweeny in L word still remains my favourite potrayal of an FTM also it was the first one I saw. If Im not wrong he was the first potrayal of an FTM on TV, so it holds a special place in my heart, though not perfect because of the crappy ending. The actors who played Adam (Degrassi) and Jason (Hollyoaks) ended up leaving before their contracts were up which is disappointing, so I would hope maybe for shows to cast actual trans or other queer people in these roles, who are less likely to leave, sadly because they wont get many opportunities elsewhere as cisgendered, straight people would but also they would likely be more attached to the characters they are playing, I would hope and also likely more believable in the role.

    I cant wait to see what CW has in store, hopefully they are serious about this Ze project and can bring it to life.

  6. Anyone know Kasey Barry from Waterloo Road? That was the first character I ever saw with “gender issues” so I hold them close to my heart. Unfortunately, a potentially great storyline was completely wasted as they actually showed them realising it was just a phase, and they were okay with being female. Which was incredibly disappointing, a waste of a good ftm character, and broadcasted the message to thousands of people (and parents!) that being Trans as a teenager is indeed just a phase, which was not what I needed while trying to come out to my family…

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