On July 15th I was visiting with a friend and she introduced me to the television show Major Crimes, the plot of the show that aired that day was one she thought I’d be interested in watching. The case of the week was the disappearance and death of a young trans woman. I’m usually reticent about watching these sorts of programs. All too often the treatment of the trans person is less than respectful and the issues the person and their family and friends face are not addressed. I was pleasantly surprised by the way it was handled in this program.
Trigger warning: The show does show attitudes of violence and anti-trans language. I will be mentioning some of it in this post.
Overall, I don’t like it when trans people are always portrayed as victims of crime. Yes, far too many trans people in Canada, the USA and around the world are victims of violence and crime just because of who they are. Far too many are people of colour. In this case the victim is a young white woman who is part of a ‘typical’ middle class family in Los Angeles. The family consists of a Mother, Father and a sibling.
Initially I questioned how progressive the police were who handled the case. I felt that it wasn’t all that accurate. Not having the background of being familiar with the program I didn’t know that the show is generally quite liberal / progressive in how it shows various issues. Through the course of the show the police officers who are dealing with the case do express their own reservations and not being able to understand why a person transitions, but they still treat the victim as a human being. The lead investigator corrects people who use male pronouns to refer to the victim.
What I found particularly interesting was the portrayal of the family. The mother and father represent the two common attitudes and approaches for dealing with young people who want / need to transition. One parent is quite explicit about wanting to follow the school of thought that says that when a young person is expressing a desire to be the other gender that it should be suppressed and they should not be allowed anything that would reflect society’s views of what a “boy” or “girl” should be. The other parent is fully supportive of the young woman’s transition and wants to do whatever is needed for their child to be able to transition and live a relatively normal life. The sibling actively insists on using the correct pronouns for their sister.
The bully in the case is a frighteningly realistic example of those who express their transphobia in harmful ways. Bullying the young woman in person and online, including outing her and harassing her in washrooms. Saying she is an ‘it’ etc.
Overall, this program is worth watching. For those who might be triggered, I recommend that you be in a good space before watching and you may want to watch it with a supportive friend.