Her Story is a new show depicting not only trans women`s experiences, but also cisgender people`s attitude to them. Avoiding stereotypical characters, it is a story from inside, told and filmed by trans women.


Victory for queer and trans people

This year a groundbreaking new series“Her Story” earned an honor: an Emmy nominatin in the Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series category. The six-part fictional web series about queer and trans women navigating love and life in Los Angeles stars two transgender actresses, and its co-creator is transgender too. This is an actual victory for queer and trans people within the media. “It’s really a win for everyone when an authentic story that’s from us and by us gets recognition,” says Laura Zak, an actress and co-writer.

The series is the kind of deeply complicated insight to the authentic and diverse experiences of trans people. It shows lives of three women in Los Angeles, Violet (Jen Richards), Paige (Angelica Ross) and Allie (Laura Zak). Allie is writing an interview with Violet for a local LGBT publication about the experiences of trans women. In course of time they find themselves attracted to each other. Violet is perplexed with the situation – her attraction to women might make her less trans. Another character, Paige, is also concerned: she starts dating a man and worries about disclosing the fact that she’s trans.

“Her Story”. Trans And Queer Web Series

A unique story

At a time when most trans characters are pigeonholed into portrayals of transition and the ways in which their existence affects those around them, the story of a pair of trans friends who have lives outside their trans identity, who have and a life full of experience beyond transition is downright revolutionary. When asked about how the project originated, Jen Richards explained, “it was born of … my desire to show trans people in the way that I saw them, in all their trauma, humor, and complexity.”

The story is unique in a way that it goes far beyond stereotyped portrayals of transition instigating curiosities for mainstream audiences. Rather that the outside observation, It is a deeply inside story. Richards and Zak not only starring, but also co-wroting the script add to this. While usually those stories are being told by cisgender creators, with cisgender actors, “Her Story” is a pioneering exception. It completely refutes the assumption that there aren’t enough qualified trans directors, writers, and actors to go around. “Her Story” is a successfull high-quality series, having almost exclusively the trans crew: Sydney Freeland, directed the series, and Zak’s friend Katherine Fisher serves as head producer.

“Her Story”. Trans And Queer Web Series

Trans and queer team

Zak and Richards had met on the set of another queer web series, #Hashtag , where Richards had a cameo as a trans waitress who has a flirtatious moment with Zak’s character. Both having backgrounds in activism and social justice work, they soon  brought up the idea of exploring the relationship between their trans and cis women’s characters in #Hashtag. “We pretty quickly decided to craft an entirely new story and new world separate from the previous web series,” Zak said. “It felt like this story, and this type of love story, really deserved its own show and its own platform.”

Richards explained, the project originated from her” desire to show trans people in the way that I saw them, in all their trauma, humor, and complexity.” But when she continued writing with the help of Zak scenario became even more complex and multifaceted: “I’ve had conversations with literally thousands of trans people across the globe and I thought about them, and tried to understand their lived reality. And I think those comparisons of stories and all that thought manifested when I write whether conscious or not.”

“Her Story”. Trans And Queer Web Series

“Her Story”. Trans And Queer Web Series

Breaking barriers

Beyond just telling more authentic stories, Richards also wanted to challenge the representation of transgender people in the media. “Her Story” doesn’t only depict trans women’s experiences of themselves, but also how cisgender people deal with them. Unlike embellished and imaginary scenarios, usually written by cis people, it shows everything as it is in real life, including  misogynic and homophobic stigmas.

The creators hope that breaking barriers along a number of fronts by centering trans and queer women’s perspectives, “Her Story” will attract media companies who will be interested in expanding the show into a full series. Both Richards and Zak would be excited to point out underrepresented voices, of trans, people of color or women. “One of my dreams for the future would be to create a … group of queer and trans creators,” says Zak. Richards feels similarly: “I hope it’s inspiring to people who feel like they don’t have a place in Hollywood. I hope they can see this small, very genuine project, and it inspires them to take their place at the table as well.”

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