For the last few months I have been developing a six part comedy-drama series (Title to be decided) based around the lives and families of two transwomen living in Nottingham. The premise is as follows:
Nicky Mulligan is a nineteen year old pre-transition transwoman who lives with her parents, to whom she is still their son, Jimmy. When the series starts, it is the day before her first GIC appointment and she has yet to tell her family about her gender dysphoria and desire to transition.
Her best friend, Brianna (Bree) Devlin is a thirty-one year old transwoman who has taken Nicky under her wing and helped her gain her confidence with presenting as female. Bree is post-transition, and runs a small but successful PR firm in Nottingham. She is lively, confident and outgoing, a shopaholic and the life and soul of the party but has no contact with her family who reacted badly to her transition. She is Nicky’s rock, and in return embraces the fact that she once more has a little sister in her life. She has an almost suicidal sense of protection for Nicky.
Nicky’s Father, Michael, is a forty-something English teacher who is struggling with a sense of getting old and bordering on mid-life crisis. He would rather spend his weekend hanging around in the pub singing bad karaoke with Policeman friend Gary than spend time at home with his wife and children, but he still loves his family.
Her mother, Janet, is feeling disconnected from her husband and family, and desperately seeking solace in a socially elitist church group as well as comfort eating. She is from a working class background, and has to work part time to help pay the mortgage on their nice house whilst the other wives in the street are married to men with more affluent jobs and so don’t have to work. Janet is the main reason the family attends church on Sundays.
Nicky’s older brother Jack is a Uni student, with his head constantly in a video game or internet device of some sort, with little to no interest in the world at large. He never misses a chance to mock his little brother over anything (really sister). He has very little concept of his parents as actual people, instead seeing them as servants who cook, clean and give him money.
Throughout the series, characters will face issues both Trans, and non-trans related.
Nicky faces her fears of rejection by her family, learns how understanding and tolerant most people are, but also how dangerous life as a transwoman can be, and how sexually manipulative some men are.
Bree is disillusioned with relationships but finds a friendship growing with Michael’s friend, Gary, who is largely ambivalent about her Trans status. She has to deal with her attachment and rejection issues in order to make things work, which involves confronting her estranged father.
Michael tries to take Nicky’s revelation in his stride, but butts head with Janet who struggles with both the concept of being Transgender, as well as the stress it places on her faith. Janet has to decide what is more important; her reputation in the church community, or her family… a situation not helped by a meddling, biscuit-addicted vicar and a gossiping, sexually frustrated neighbour. As for Jack, and his lack of effective communication skills, his conflict manifests itself in some rather destructive ways.
Throughout the series we meet a whole host of characters, such as a Trans support group, a foul mouthed old lady that becomes a surprising ally, and a manipulative ‘Tranny Chaser’ who learns the hard way not to mess with someone that Bree Devlin loves.
While this series focusses largely on Nicky’s ‘coming out’ and the effect it has on the family, any subsequent series would show how quickly being Trans becomes normal within a family unit and will serve mainly as a backdrop to other issues that the characters face. I plan to reflect how the drama of being Trans is quickly replaced with the drama of everything else. I hope that this series, if picked up, would give the viewing public positive, human examples of Trans characters whose lives are written by a Transwoman writer, and reflect the experiences of the writer and other trans people in modern society.
I also feel that it is vital to the integrity of the series that the casting search for the characters of Nicky, Bree and every other Trans character MUST begin within the Trans community itself, and only if no suitable performer can be found, would it be extended to non-trans performers.
All episodes are written by myself, except for episode 5, the story for which was conceived with another LGBT writer. I have had the first drafts of the series read by a selection of people, many of whom are Trans, and who feel the characters engaging and the situations familiar, if not to them, but to other people that they know. It has also had positive feedback from Cis people who have also reacted positively to the drama and humour. There will be people in the Trans community who greatly dislike this series, the same as there will be people in the Trans community who love it, but I feel that it is Trans people who are most qualified to write their own stories, and Trans performers to portray us.
I have not decided how to proceed yet with the production. I am debating whether to crowd fund and film a pilot episode (I have a professional video production background), or to take the scripts to production companies or broadcasters. What I do hope is that my efforts will lead to a series that a lot of people will enjoy and will show a fairer, more balanced approach to these issues that modern media struggles to portray.
I shall keep you all posted on any updates.