Transtrash – Love and Pride


By Susan Howard

Trash magazines and responsibility

One of the tricks, I learned as a parent is you can gain an extra 10 minutes of alone time by agreeing to pick up something at the grocery: milk, wipes, straws and stall as you space out on rag magazines in the checkout line.  I realized the power of this at the Ralph’s supermarket midnight picking up diapers.  At the time my first child was 8 months old, sleep was all but lost on me and I ran into a blurry eyed dad from my birthing class, Lou.  We spoke in a daze for a long while, he told me that he thought his daughter had seen Jesus, in a story so involved and detailed I believed him.  His eight month old, crawling to the window, pointing at a white light and cross and blurbing “Yesusah”.  Sounds about right. When you are under the spell of new parent-dom there is a need to connect with something when you are in this state of confusion.  I tell this story to let you know how I got hooked on trash magazines at the supermarket.  I am not sure if this telling makes me more or less of a housewife.  Either way, I relate.

There is something amazing about looking at photos of a stick skinny ice faced Angelina Jolie smack next to a pic of Jennifer Aniston looking mad at an airport terminal smack next to Brad on set holding hands with a hot new leading lady the title, “Will history repeat itself?”  Why is it I can read that story over and over again?  I don’t know, but it turns out I can.  Pretty, rich people in struggle is just the best.

Several years ago friends tried to get me hooked on The New Yorker, but I will say a few things about that.  As a parent, I am too tired to think any more than I have to.  Also there are hardly any pictures in that magazine.  Really guys give us one picture of someone cute doing something, or even better someone cute with no make up or with a potbelly on the beach, or two cute people wearing the same outfit.  Gasp!  Who’s cuter?  I need to know.

I am partial to none and love all the different magazines Us, In Touch, Star, People, whichever has the best cover and most compelling headlines.  Who’s starving herself for attention?  Who is dumping who?  Who has a gambling, drinking, cheating problem?  My wife says if it’s not in People magazine it didn’t happen.  So I guess People is the hard news for celebrity trash.  They are the ones we can trust, the Anderson Cooper of gossip.

When I write about my irritation with Star, I realize I am not referring to a hard news source, but they do represent on some level a group consciousness.  So, I was in line, my favorite parental escape, bread, eggs and diapers in my basket, as I pick up the Star and look at photos of Bruce Jenner’s supposed transformation.  Meaning he is perhaps becoming a she.  Bruce Jenner, a gold medal decathlete, Wheaties box star is now transgender.  He also had a resurgence of interest because of the crazy Kardashian fest as he is married (now divorced) to Chris the mom of the famous daughters on the reality show.  Since the family has basically put itself up for sale to Bravo or any other endorsement, or public appearance offered they are up to higher scrutiny. 

This still does not excuse the way Star covered this story.  The remarks on the cover photo point out Bruce’s nail polish and ponytail.  It even speculates on newly sprouting boobs.  The article continues on to say that Chris, his ex is so embarrassed and humiliated.  (If true, a bit hard to believe as I think the only reason she is even a little famous was after her daughter posted a sex tape of herself on line, but somehow your ex husband puts on some mascara and that is below your moral compass?)

One of the writers of Transparent, the now Golden Globe nominated show on Amazon, seen in an amazing behind the scenes interview with The Next Family talks about the responsibility the team felt to create a genuine portrayal of someone transitioning.  Since that show has hit the air waves, the “Look it’s a guy in a skirt and heels!  A tranny!”,  days of name calling and judgement are OVER.  Similar to what Will and Grace did for the gay community, gays are funny, gays are lawyers, gays are cops, we like the gays, Transparent I hope will do the same for the trans community.  Now that same sex marriage is legal-ish, the scandal magazines have less to trash talk about.  Since it is no longer really acceptable to make fun of a gay let’s go next down the rung to transgender.  Well, sorry Star magazine, maybe 6 months ago you could try and humiliate someone for being who they are, but those days are numbered.

The trans community has a show and a voice and, let it be heard.  You can’t report with that point of view, because it makes you seem  OUT.  I know you’ll do better in 2015.  Don’t be sad, there is always Scientology.

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