I have watched Glee since its beginnings. A show with musical performances each episode and Lea Michele from Spring Awakening, the soundtrack which gets played the most on my iTunes, sounded amazing. I got pulled in by the characters, the storylines, and the music. The show has had its ups and downs, but Ryan Murphy, the show’s creator, has created an outlet for all kinds of different people. Most shows do not have average looking people, gays or lesbians, or individuals with disabilities. And now a trans* character has also been introduced to the mix.
In "Saturday Night Glee-ver," a competitor from rival Carmel High School’s Vocal Adrenaline approaches Kurt and Mercedes asking for advice. Originally introduced as Wade, the character then reveals an alter ego, Unique, a girl who is much more confident than Wade. The question becomes: should Wade perform as Unique at Regionals? Kurt and Mercedes listen to Wade’s struggle up to the point where it is revealed Unique is a girl, and although they originally pushed for Wade to be confident enough to be Unique, the gender identity change retracts that support. They do not know how to handle the situation. Sue Sylvester then brings Kurt and Mercedes into her office where they talk about Wade’s decision, and Sue decides they should sabotage Vocal Adrenaline by pushing Wade to go on stage as Unique (a sad comment on how being trans* is perceived). Kurt and Mercedes later feel bad about this decision and approach Wade backstage at Regionals to convince Wade to go on stage instead of Unique. Unique performs and wows the audience despite her lack of support and those pushing her to make a different decision.
But how did Glee handle the character and the storyline?
I like the character. She is interesting, and I would like to see more of her. I do not like that she lacked any kind of support, but that is really how life is, making the situation more realistic. Kurt and Mercedes do not know anything about being trans*, and really, there are not many outlets there which would allow them to absorb that information. Kurt’s lack of knowledge about the trans* community was a nice touch because he is a gay character. Being within the LGBTQ* community does not give you automatic knowledge of all those within the community, despite that being the common assumption, and it was nice for this to be recognized.
The language used was pretty spot-on. I liked the line, “You identify as a man,” which was the only point within the episode where it got closest to identifying the character directly as trans*. The situation displayed well the fear many people have at the unknown. And that is the general reaction: play it safe and be normal even if you don’t feel that is who you are. But the great thing about the storyline was Unique got to be herself in a really powerful and amazing way. She nailed it. She put it all out there on stage and was amazing despite the criticisms.
Two things were disappointing about the storyline.
What are your thoughts on the episode and the portrayal of the character and the story? Anything you would like to add?