Monday, July 30, 2012

Follow up to Dennis Croft on Small Town Security

I haven't been writing much anything in depth lately because I've been on vacation. Tomorrow evening I fly back to my humble abode in Austin, so I should be back to the norm the latter part of this week. In the meantime, I wanted to do a quick follow up on a recent post. As I wrote last week, after my weekly dose of Breaking Bad I caught a quirky new reality show called Small Town Security. The "twist" of the first episode was that Lt. Dennis Croft is a transman, born Denise. I held out hope that the show would deal with his story fairly and with compassion.

Fast forward to now. I've got two more episodes under my belt and I'm growing more concerned. In the second episode, a major plot point was how the whole security crew reacts to Croft. Things were far from perfect, but overall people were making an effort to address him with male pronouns...everyone it seems except for the captain, Joan Koplan, who made repeated references to "it" "he, she, whatever" and etc. It was particularly heartbreaking because Croft is admittedly in love with Koplan and waits on her hand and foot. When the producers asked Croft what he thought of the way Koplan was responding, he said that he knew she was trying.

I'm not sure exactly how long ago Croft transitioned, but it is alluded to it being at least years ago. It got me wondering how much leeway Koplan is supposed to get. I had only watched her behavior for half an hour and I was already annoyed. I could see how clearly that it takes an immense amount of patience to deal with misgendering and having to constantly correct people on a regular basis. But I'm someone watching it all from a feminist perspective, with at least a basic level of awareness--what message is everyone else getting?

The third episode wasn't focused on Croft. Instead, it centered on Koplan's husband's hoarding problem. But regardless she made a joke that Croft would "grow a full penis and testicles" before her husband would clean his office.

We're still very early in the series so maybe things will turn around, but as of right now, it certainly feels like Croft is dealing with at least mild transphobia on a regular basis. Sadly, I would expect that is fairly reflective of many trans* people's experiences. However, without story lines which allow us to hear a bit more from Croft directly, it feels almost like an affirmation of Koplan's behavior, and an exploitation of Croft's life.

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