Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A Transsexual Summer - My Review

The People In "A Trannsexual Summer"

Donna - 'Being trans... It's more about a journey to find yourself than a journey to find a good surgeon.'

Karen - 'People say I'm brave, but it's not courage. It's a belief in yourself that you're doing something you know you have to do.'

Lewis - 'No one has ever mistaken me for female, or been able to tell I'm transgender. I feel just like a regular guy.'

Max - 'I love being a man. I mean, what's not to like?'

Sarah - 'There are so many things that I would change about my appearance. I'd like to get my nose fixed, my teeth fixed... I feel different on the inside to how I look on the outside, you know?'

Fox - 'It's a really awkward time for me, and yet I wouldn't have it any other way, because I know that I've got to go through this to get to a place where my outside reflects my inside.'

Drew - 'I've never spoken to anyone who's transgender in real life. There's personal things that you can't really talk about to an ordinary person, because they wouldn't understand.'

The First Episode
In this first episode, we are introduced the group, who would be staying in a posh retreat. We learn their progress, Sarah has only been full-time a few weeks, and Karen is having her surgery in a few days, the others are in between this spectrum. To me they concentrated on body image the group had of themselves, Drew will not be seen until a two & half hour make-up and hair routine every morning. The guys talked about binding, and the different methods. Sarah talked about how her decision to have the "op", and how this will make her feel complete, I found it interesting that 6 out of the remaining 7 didn't feel they needed the "op" to be complete. Although top surgery was important to them all, either removal or enlarging of breasts. I felt it was all very predictable in content, showing lots of make-up and deciding what to wear stuff, but it was an introduction and done very well.

The Second Episode
Half of this episode showed Drew trying to get a job in her own town, and the problems TS can create, in the real world. It was done very well, and truthfully. Also Sarah came to visit Drew and her mum for advice on coming out. Later Sarah came out to her mum, in my opinion this was done terrible. They met in a car, which was in a field, her mum didn't want to be filmed, but audio was recorded. Sarah explained being TS, her mum replied "That's fine, it's your life", end of scene. I know in my coming out there was tears, questions and loads of emotions, to me this was badly handled.
In the second part, the group all meet up at the retreat again, minus Karen. They have a skype call with Karen in hospital as she is still recovering, it was lovely to the happiness she had. A mtf visits who has had all the surgery, this guy shows the group what a penis he has. This is the best part of the series, as the whole group are stunned into silence, when this huge real penis is shown. Then the group decide to have a night out at the local village pub, this was total real life and great. Donna really comes across as strong and proud of her TS status, and talks to, laughs with, and educates everyone in the pub. There are a couple of interviews with the customers, and their views are all positive. Great episode!

The Third Episode
This starts at the retreat, Drew is still looking for a job, and Karen is back after her op. Lewis has an plan to fund raise for his top surgery. Passing is very important to the whole group, as it makes some very scared in the real world. They all take a self-defence class in the group on how to deal with hostilities. One of the evening they all go bowling to test out the skills they have learnt. It's very true how people look at TS people, the stares and looks, but the confidence they have grown helps them.
The guys look at the different kind of false penis, somehow they all like the large ones. Fox believes having the right one affects his walk into a how manly one. Some you can even pee through one??!!! Lewis decides he wants the real thing. The girls also talk about their tricks, like gaff tape chest to create a cleavage.
The group visit the pub again, and it's all very friendly as they are known. Customers start to treat them as their gender.
Drew gets a job in a coffee shop, it's all very positive, and she gets on well. With Drew, I just don't understand why she hasn't changed her name, to help her blend in? I have never met a female Drew, so my alarm bells would be ringing straight away.

The Fourth Episode
The last episode, first they are back at the retreat, the girls decide a night out at a Trans Club in London, it looked like The Way Out Club. Donna loves it and gets chatted up, Karen & Sarah didn't like it as it tells everyone they are TS, and why shouldn't they go to a "normal" club. This I totally agreed with, I feel LGBT create problems by not integrating. Drew joined the group the following day. Then it was to Sarah looking for a room in Brighton to live. This again was done very well, as the landlords where asked their views, one is concerned about safety and bigotry that might happen if she allows Sarah to move in. Fox has a guys night out in Brighton, I felt he was trying too much to be one of the lager louts, but there wasn't a problem with his friends. Lewis, meets his dad for their first beer together, he has organised a fundraiser to help fund Lewis's top surgery, it was really nice. Then it was back to the retreat for the fifth time, this time family and friends are invited. Although Karen and Sarah nobody turns up, this really showed the loses that many go through in transitioning. To me there was far too much in this episode, and another episode would have given better coverage to the deep, real points raised.

Overall I think the series is great, for the general public as it highlights problems, feelings and the normality that TS people are. However I felt not enough time was spent to get deep into the issues, which is hard with 8 people in 4 episodes. Well done Ch4.

You can view the complete series on 4On Demand for visitors outside the UK you can download tunnelbear to get a UK VPN.

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