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    6 Times Trans Characters Were Absolutely Robbed On Screen And 7 Times They Were Done Right

    All trans characters matter!

    1. Done Right – Liz Taylor in American Horror Story: Hotel (2015)

    FX

    Liz may have her ups and downs, but she's primarily portrayed as a fierce and witty individual who is unapologetic in her gender expression. Her early experience with a couple of transphobic colleagues leads her to rescued by The Countess who helps her to embrace her true self. Later, she finds love with Tristan Duffy and is finally accepted by her estranged family. While her story has dark moments, she always finds a way to gain the upper hand and find happiness.

    2. Robbed – Alexis Meade in Ugly Betty (2006–2009)

    ABC

    Fierce, intelligent, and loving, Alexis Meade is an actual superstar who never got the resounding applause she deserved! At first she is manipulated by Wilhemina Slater whilst recovering from her gender affirmation surgery, and later she's shunned by her brother Daniel Meade, just like her father did many years before. She's often tricked and taken advantage of by those around her, but she does at least have a loving mother in Claire Meade.

    3. Done Right – Jules Vaughn in Euphoria (2019–)

    HBO

    Many trans people have heralded Jules as a positive portrayal of a transgender person. Her identity is not entirely focused on being trans, but her storyline still acknowledges the difficulties and the traumas that members of the trans community often go through, such as fetishisation and harassment.

    4. Robbed – Helena Handbasket in Friends (2001)

    NBC

    Because she often presents as female off-stage, Chandler's dad might actually be transgender, even though she is only ever referred to as a Drag Queen. "Helena", a loving and supportive parent – who, yes, has made mistakes – is rejected by Chandler because of her "embarrassing" penchant for dressing up in exaggerated female attire. It's a sad story arc that ends somewhat happily when she is invited to Chandler and Monica's wedding, but even there she is the subject of ridicule and she's never fully embraced for who she is.

    5. Done Right – Various cast members of POSE (2018–)

    FX

    Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Janet Mock et al did the damn thing when they took on the iconic '80s/'90s Harlem drag ballroom scene in POSE. Depicting a multitude of transgender and non-binary characters with courage, heart, and healthy dose of humour, the gender-variant team behind the show have brought to life many loveable and authentic transgender characters including Blanca, Angel, Elektra, and Candy to name a few.

    6. Robbed – Max Sweeney in The L Word (2006–2009)

    Showtime

    One of the earliest examples of a trans-masculine character in a scripted series, Max put up with a lot of shit – from his friends who weren't supportive of his transition, to being discriminated against at work and losing his job. But more than this, the character's journey towards transitioning was confusing and counter-productive – Max has hormone replacement therapy and then ends up pregnant?! Max could've been a pioneering character but the show turned him into a cissexist stereotype.

    7. Done Right – Theo Putnam in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018–2020)

    Netflix

    When Theo transitions in Sabrina it's kind of expected, but what's great about it is how supportive his friends are – a stark contrast to Max's transition in The L Word, for instance. Theo takes on the discrimination levelled against him with admirable patience and incredible courage. He's the fictional trans hero we all need!

    8. Robbed – Ida Quagmire in Family Guy (2010–2020)

    Fox

    Family Guy is not known for its sympathetic portrayals of minority characters and Ida is no exception. When Quagmire's dad transitions into Ida, she is met with disgust and ridicule; it's implied she is both not a "real" woman and is a sex offender. Brian later sleeps with her not knowing that she transgender and then hurls when he finds out the truth – a common movie trope. It's beyond offensive.

    9. Done Right – Nomi Marks in Sense8 (2015–2018)

    Netflix

    Ultra LGBTQ-focused series Sense8 was co-created by the Wachowski Sisters, so it's no surprise that the central character of Nomi feels like an authentic and positive portrayal of a transgender person. She's intelligent, attractive, successful, and she's able to form amazing relationships with those around her.

    10. Robbed – Bernadette Bassenger in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

    Gramercy Pictures

    Priscilla is a great film but the way Bernadette is portrayed is somewhat problematic. She travels around with her friends, two drag queens, and performs with them as a trio, but is not super differentiated from them as a transgender woman, even though she consistently presents as female.

    11. Done Right – Sin-Dee Rella and Alexandra in Tangerine (2015)

    Magnolia Pictures

    Both leads in this innovative indie flick are fiery, optimistic, and ultimately likeable. The story doesn't shy away from depicting the sometimes harsh reality of the life of a sex worker, but it also takes the time to understand the characters and portray them with nuance. Alexandra is ambitious yet reserved; Sin-Dee is passionate yet vulnerable. Neither are stock characters but authentic incarnations of a particular trans experience.

    12. Robbed – Coach Sheldon Beiste in Glee (2010–2015)

    Fox

    When Sheldon joined Glee in the show's second season, he was a cis-woman. While many enjoyed the fact that "Shannon" was a woman who had traditionally "male" interests and didn't conform to stereotypes, the character was radically changed when he transitioned into Sheldon. Glee has never strayed away from highlighting LGBTQ characters, but many fans felt that Sheldon's transition came off as forced. It seemed somehow inevitable that Sheldon would transition, and this predictable development perhaps didn't resonate the way it should have.

    13. Done Right – Nia Nal (Dreamer) in Supergirl (2015–)

    The CW

    As Dreamer, Nia is the first ever transgender superhero character on television! How could she not be in this list? Nia's transgender identity does form some of her background in Supergirl, but like many others on this list, it doesn't control her entire story. Aside from being a badass alien with the power to dream the future, she's also an ambitious journalist with major smarts and charm!

    Is there someone we've missed? Let us know in the comments!

    Correction: A previous version of this post included Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb from The Silence of the Lambs, which was a bad call and has now been removed.

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