Her Story is a show about dating and relationships and how one navigates those while being transgender. But what’s happening behind the camera is just as important as what’s happening in front of it. Diversity has become (quite rightly) an important buzzword for film and television in recent years but Her Story is remarkably understated as the director, Sydney Freeland, is a Navajo trans woman. The series creator and one of the lead actors Jen Richards, along with her other co-star Angelica Ross are also transgender. Despite this, and while the story deftly deals with the issues of queer culture such as the debate of womanhood and lesbian identity, it’s never treated as exceptional or tokenistic as it often is in other shows; it’s simply a well-told story.
My favourite scene in the whole series is when Allie, who is beginning to develop feelings for Richards’s character Violet, talks about how Violet being trans would make her less of a lesbian. This is followed by blatant misgendering and transphobia from her friend, Lisa. The show goes out of its way to show how wrong Lisa’s viewpoint is, and I love how honest and raw it is in a way that only having queer creators could give it that depth. Having those discussions represented by other queer women validates the struggles we all have and giving them a voice opens it up the world.
I also think it is important symbolically that the show is a web series rather than a conventional television series. For so many trans people, myself included, the internet is how many of us first discover that we are transgender; we find meaning and community from it, with YouTube and other social media platforms being a way of expressing of our identities. In this sense Her Story stands out as a truly revolutionary and pioneering piece of art.
Emma Jones is a queer artist based in Bristol. She is an avid media consumer and critic; last year she wrote a highly-praised article about transgender parallels in Doctor Who for a female-led and oriented Time Ladies blog where she is a regular contributor.