When We Became Normal: Transgender People in Pop Culture and the Politics of Normalcy

I am on a bus coasting along the Long Island Expressway. Because it’s a weekday morning, the bus is mostly empty. Just past Queens, I find myself watching glimpses of boy-on-boy sex on the miniature screen of a video iPod between the seats one row up. Looking up from the screen, I see the iPod is attached to a 30-something man, taking in his weekly serving of “Queer as Folk,” Showtime’s fictional extravaganza of white gay drama and discord (and sex).

I stop reading and squint at the tiny figures, wondering how queer worlds like these are made, and then made to represent us to ourselves. And how, inevitably, they come to represent us to some larger “viewing public.” These are, after all, the award-winning years of the queers…

From, “When We Became Normal: Transgender People in Pop Culture and the Politics of Normalcy,” Clamor Magazine, Issue 38, Fall 2006

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