Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why Maya Avant Is More Important Than You Think

On Wednesday morning while I was rolling toward Austin to fight some anti-trans bills at the Pink Dome, the CBS soap opera Bold and The Beautiful was dropping a cliffhanger that would light up the Twitterverse for several hours in terms of the Maya Avant character, played by actress Karla Mosley, being revealed to be a trans woman. 

Seven years ago I wrote about the importance of Rebecca Romijn playing Alexis Meade on the ABC show Ugly Betty.   I compared it at the time to Nichelle Nichols playing Lt. Uhura on Star Trek in terms of the groundbreaking nature of it.

Now for the first time ever, we have a soap with a trans African-American character.   You know I not only have wanted to see a regular trans character that reflects my ethnic background for years now, I have also expressed my frustration at the ignorance level of elements of my people when it comes to trans issues.

The Maya Avant character has the potential if handled correctly by Bold and the Beautiful writers, to finally bust some myths about what a trans person of African descent is like, and educate about many of the issues we deal with.

And while we African-American trans women have had amazing possibility models in Janet Mock and Laverne Cox capture the country's and the world's attention, and are an immense source of pride in our ranks, we now have a fictional character gracing the nation's television screens and the TV screens of the 100 nations where this soap is broadcast.

So when Bold and the Beautiful returns following the weekend's March Madness games, we'll see what happens with this unfolding storyline that suddenly has a lot of people inside and outside the trans community talking and  paying attention to the exploits of Maya Avant..

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