I've always believed that one cannot survive transition without the ability to laugh at the situations one finds oneself in.
So when, as frequently has happened, someone tells me I just need to get a sense of humor, I am a bit taken aback. I have a well-endowed sense of humor. Perhaps the problem is that what was said or done just wasn't funny.
So anyway, I ran across something interesting recently.
The Switch was originally going to be a webseries. Due to a change in funding, it is now the pilot for a television series.
The Switch is a magical-realist transgender comedy, one that delights in pushing the envelope and in holding a queer & quirky mirror up to our own lives. And at the heart of it all is Sü, the weird experiences she has, and the people she shares them with.
Meet Sü. Last week she was an upwardly-mobile software manager, at a place where her coworkers all knew her as Erwin. Life was normal enough and good enough. When Sü came out as a transsexual, she promptly lost her job. Her apartment followed.
Sü called in whatever favors she could, and that’s where our first episode leaves her: an out transsexual, unemployed and sleeping on her ex's couch at the unfashionable bottom of the rabbit hole that is the East Vancouver Queer Underground. Thrown into a world of marginal living, social inequity and quasi-legal employment, will she claw her way back to her old status? Or, to her horror, will she adapt and thrive?
Here's a snip:
In the "featurette" Sü is played by Domaine Javier, who you may remember from her role in suing California Baptist University under California's Unruh Civil Rights Act after she was expelled for being transgender.
Original funding was to be through Kickstarter. The news of the effort made the rounds until a different funding source was uncovered.
From the Facebook page:
Firstly we would like to mention that we're no longer making a web series. Due to the support of our fans, the international publicity we've received and the interest we've had from a few notable TV networks, we will be shooting a pilot in the summer to shop around to find the best home for our beloved show.
On that note, we would like to introduce you to the newest member of The Switch family, the Director and Executive Producer - Monika Mitchell. We feel incredibly lucky to be working with Monika and we can't wait to have her bring The Switch to life. Monika is mostly known for directing episodes of certain series such as Da Vinci's City Hall, Exes and Oh's and Robson Arms. However you'll be able to catch her feature John Apple Jack later this year.
We would also like to add that we cancelled our Kickstarter campaign as we decided to take the show in a different direction. We want to thank everyone who supported and contributed to the campaign. We are truly grateful. We hope that you will continue to support us in our new endeavours.
Season One was to consist of six half-hour episodes, shot in Vancouver, Canada over the Summer of 2013. Instead, just the pilot episode was shot this summer. The rest of season one will hopefully be shot in the Spring of 2014.
With the new funding came some changes in the cast. Julie Vu is now playing Sü Phan.
Growing up in a traditional Vietnamese family, it was hard for Julie Vu to be who she really was. She found her voice on YouTube and made a name for herself as a beauty guru. She now shares her life as a transgendered woman in hopes of inspiring others. She is an advocate for the LGBT community, and is proud to play Su in her first acting role.
Julie doesn't just play Sü, she is the real life Sü.
The show is written and produced by Amy Fox, who also plays a role in the show, and the other folks at Trembling Void.
Whether it's working with molten metal, kicking ass in the Simon Fraser Student Society's hotly contested withdrawal from the CFS, running for City Council as a Supervillain, doing Queer improv with The Bobbers, or organizing feminist guerilla art-ivism, she seeks ways to cause trouble.
To her surprise, transition brought a strong interest in power tools, dashing suits and binding.
Here's Fox from her 2011 run for Vancouver council.
Being soft butch and MtF was bold at the time. Now there's like a half-dozen of us in the city, there's a Tumblr feed, and I don't feel so special. Still, it screws with people, which makes me happy.
The pilot episode will be accompanied by a short documentary called A Different Trans 101.
"Trans oppression” doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It almost always intersects with misogyny, race, poverty, ability, colonialism and sex-work, amongst many other oppressions. Let’s start learning here.
We could tell you about pronouns and etiquette as our intro. But instead, if we notice that trans people are heavily marginalized, the most important thing to understand is that people are getting beaten down from a variety of social forces.
I located this message from early July:
The pilot is slated to be Broadcast on OUTtv, both on TV and online.
--Amy E. G. Fox
Shooting of the pilot episode wrapped July 27.