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Pose has been a culture-changing TV show

  • "Pose has never been pristine prestige television; co-creator Ryan Murphy is too fond of spectacle and of melodrama and of using characters to painstakingly articulate big ideas for that," says Judy Berman. "Rushed, overstuffed and plagued by plot holes, this year’s third and final season was easily its weakest. Yet for all its cringey lines, this series about queer men and trans women of color forming chosen families within New York’s ’80s and ’90s ball culture never stopped hitting me hard in the heart. Besides, Pose’s legacy reaches far beyond the revolutionary story it’s been telling, to the very center of pop culture. It certainly wasn’t the first show to feature realistic, humane depictions of trans characters. Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black launched the career of Laverne Cox and exposed the plight of incarcerated trans people; Amazon’s Transparent took a broader approach to gender and sexuality, but one that was undermined by the choice to cast a cisgender man, who was later accused of abuse, as the trans heroine. The Wachowskis’ cult sci-fi hit Sense8 introduced a major trans character (Nomi Marks) played by a trans performer (Jamie Clayton) and created by a pair of trans writer-directors. And reality TV churned out flattering profiles like I Am Jazz and Caitlyn Jenner’s I Am Cait. In the second half of its 12-year run, RuPaul’s Drag Race has increasingly—and often infuriatingly—addressed the complex relationship between drag and gender identity. The big screen was a mixed bag of groundbreaking indies (Tangerine, Laurence Anyways) and bland studio efforts, like Dallas Buyers Club and The Danish Girl, that enlisted famous cis men to play trans women in what appeared to be shameless awards bait. Pose expanded the palette immensely, placing several very different Black and Latinx trans characters—all played by trans actors—at the center of its story, and thereby obliterating the binary of 'positive' vs. 'negative' representation." ALSO: Angelica Ross has "mixed-feelings" about her Pose character's tragic fate.

    TOPICS: Pose, FX, Angelica Ross, LGBTQ