Waymon Hudson

Looking for Love on Logo

Filed By Waymon Hudson | March 15, 2008 11:25 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Barry Winchell, Calpernia Addams, Logo, Transamerican Love Story

So I've been watching the Logo reality show, A Transamerican Love Story, which is a bachelor-style dating show featuring Calpernia Addams, a transwoman looking for love. The show is super-queer, with every sexual orientation and gender identity under the sun. There are straight men, gay men, and transmen, all fighting for Calpernia's affections.300x250_Mon.gif

I have actually enjoyed the show. It is very light-hearted and doesn't seem to care who a person is, as long as they give good TV. There are the same silly challenges and fights that make other reality shows so addicting, but with a new, gender-queer bent. Sexuality and gender are literally thrown to the wind, something I always think is a great message.

I wanted to blog about it because I am curious as to what everyone else thinks. Some of my thoughts after the jump...

One of the things that does make me slightly uncomfortable is Calpernia's background. If the name sounds familiar, it is because she is the woman at the center of the "A Soldier's Girl" story. Her military boyfriend, Barry Winchell, was brutally gay-bashed and murdered by a fellow marine because he was dating a transwoman.

I'm having a hard time putting that out of my head and just enjoying the show for what it is. I can't help but think of that as I watch her suitors strip down in a gender-bending Goth bar and dance for her. It seems to be like two worlds colliding that don't mesh at all.

But maybe that's where the strength of the show is. It shows how Calpernia, and our community as a whole, can suffer horrible losses but still keep their heads high as we try to find a piece of happiness in a world that is against us and often tries to literally beat us down. It shows that not only are we able to survive, but thrive.

Could there be more to the program than just being a silly reality show? Could it be a testament to our community and who we are, just with pudding wrestling challenges and witty one-liners instead of picket signs and legislation?

I'm curious what everyone else thinks of the show. Is it good? Offensive? Moving? Ridiculous?


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Calpernia is a friend of mine. Since she is an actor, she enjoys being in front of the camera. Also, the camera loves her. I also know she has a very well-developed sense of humor. Case in point was her recent "Things not to say to a transsexual." The idea for this show probably made her laugh and figured she would have a good time with this. If I had Logo, I would see it as more of a comedy "reality" show, just because of her.

I'm just sad that she's straight and there are no women trying to get her attention.

i don't have logo, so i can't comment on the actual show. i am thrilled that a transsexual woman is portraying a transsexual woman, though. even if it is reality TV, it's a start.

I think she is great in the show. She is very engaging and funny.

I also love that there is a transman on the show completeing for her affections. I think transmane are so underrepresented in media that it is good to have him there! And he's good-looking! :)

It sounds like all the good stuff is on cable.

It is sad that she is famous for something so tragic, and I am glad to see that she has put it behind her and has been able to build her career. Perhaps this will show at least some that we are just people, like everyone else.

We don't get Logo either, so I can't comment on the actual show, but I have to say that I love Calpurnia, so I'd probably enjoy the show. I had no idea that she was Barry Winchell's girlfriend though...

I was surprised by how engaging the show is. Maybe it's just me but I'm sooooooooooooooooo sick of reality. So the fact that I liked it is really saying something!

With RICK & STEVE, logo now has two decent shows (and maybe THE BIG GAY SKETCH SHOW will continue to get better too).

I've been watching this show from the start, being trans and recognizing both Calpernia and Andrea from their other non-television work, I was interested in seeing a different side to them and how the trans incarnation of reality TV would fare.

To be honest, if I didn't know Cal (or Andrea) were trans, this would be just another regular reality lucky bachelor show. The fact that she is trans is a sidenote to the show. They really downplay that aspect of it. The contestants never bring it up, and neither do the stars. And Alec Mapa, the host who is a very good comedian (and gay), is notably subdued. His stand-up routine usually centers around his gayness, but it's almost like he (or the direction of the show) is holding him back. He seems so stiff in that suit they make him wear. If you go to LOGO's website and watch the backstage videos with him chasing around Calpernia, that is Alec Mapa. He's a talented funny man, let him be funny on the show already!

I agree with Waymon that it is a light-hearted show and I enjoy it as well. As far as there being a gender-queer bent, I think it's implied at best. The subplot of Jim being a transman is about it. And it almost seems like he is sticking around this long because the show has some sort of diversity policy. I haven't gotten the impression Calpernia is interested in him romantically, certainly not apparent in her weekly tete a tete with Andrea and Alec.

But I will be watching till the end to see what happens. Maybe one of the bachelor's will admit to being Spitzer's secret call girl.

Angie

Maybe one of the bachelors will admit to being Spitzer's secret call girl.

That really made me smile, Angie. :)

I saw the second half of an episode last night, and I really enjoy Calpernia's sense of humor. I had heard some not so good comments about the series, and had not watched it. I do plan to watch it now to see which person she chooses. If your cable company doesn't include LOGO, get some folks to call them to put it on their lineup. We did that where I live, and it worked.

I'm really glad people are watching the show, because it lets them get past the easy-to-dismiss "reality show" label and see that we put a lot of effort into letting the fun shine through by keeping the low-brow stuff out. Sure, we have some silly contests and such, but I think we respect everyone's humanity on a basic level and we're all very much "in on the joke" of being on a dating show.

My boyfriend Barry died almost a decade ago now, and though it will always be one of the darkest periods of my life, I definitely can't just retire to live in a cave all dressed in black for the rest of my life. Barry first saw me on a stage, sparkling and dancing and singing, and I like to think that's what he would prefer to see me doing now.

Thank y'all for watching!

Calpernia

You're right about one thing, Waymon, the show is super-queer.

Many of us would like to see post ops presented simply as female...nothing more or less. In that vein, there is nothing redeeming whatsoever about the series. From the contestants to the fact that it's on Logo prove the show is just one more in a long line of media presentations that portray post op transsexuals as nothing more than gay men who have gone to an extreme. It delegitimizes post op MtoF transsexuals world wide as something less than simply female and further links us to a GLBT movement we do not want to belong to.


You are really loved, Calpernia.

Calpernia-

You are indeed loved. Thank you for putting yourself out there and in such a fun, entertaining way.

Your comments about your past are moving and truly show your strength and character. You are gorgeous on the inside and out!

Bil,
Did Sue come in on a different E-mail address?

It's been guilty-pleasure fun. As Angie said, if you didn't know that Calpernia is trans it would come across as just another "lucky bachelor" dating show -- albeit one that doesn't take itself too seriously and doesn't mind having fun with the reality show cliches.

FWW, after father died when I was in college, I got a good bit of advice: while you want to remember the dead, you can't let the dead bury the living. I'm glad to see Calpernia has been able to take a similar approach to life.

Many of us would like to see post ops presented simply as female...nothing more or less. In that vein, there is nothing redeeming whatsoever about the series. From the contestants to the fact that it's on Logo prove the show is just one more in a long line of media presentations that portray post op transsexuals as nothing more than gay men who have gone to an extreme.

Have you watched the show? Have you seen the folks commenting about how downplayed the trans thing is and she's portrayed simply as female? Are you unaware of the role Calpernia and Andrea had in producing the show? It does nothing to indicate that transsexuals are gay men -- except for the trans guy who says he's been involved with men and with women.

And to everyone who said they don't get logo and can't watch, I was in the same boat. The first episode is available on the LOGO website, and the subsequent episodes can be downloaded on itunes.

I'm aware of everything you ask, Tobi, but for a variety of reasons, disagree with your take on the show. All but one of the contestants identified as gay/bisexual, Tobi. Transamerica has gay written all over it...as Waymon said, it's super-queer. There is nothing wrong with that, but for once, just once, it would be nice to see post op transsexuals presented as neither gay nor associated with anything that is gay. Straight females are not romantically interested in gay/bisexual men. The overall concept that comes across is that transsexual and gay are related...and they are not. I didn't care for the show, Tobi, because it furthers a stereotype that is not representative of a huge number of post ops.

All but one of the contestants identified as gay/bisexual, Tobi.

Hm? I'd swear on the Transamerican Love Story I'm watching only two of the suitors identify as bisexual or trans. Peter identifies as bi and Jim is trans but, aside from Blaine, who seemed to identify as straight but declared pre-op transwomen "the best of both worlds", who else identified on the show as gay or bi?