The Switch Makes The Invisible Seen
May 25, 2020
Queers get it. We need to be seen on TV and in movies for who we are, what we are, where we are. How we fight and how we love. We search through a straight-washed media landscape to find a shining fragment that we can hold up and, in it, see a reflection of ourselves. TV’s straight relationships get the full treatment from rom-com to revenge thriller, but we’re expected to swoon to queer-baiting innuendo.
Vancouver is like that too. Our city is invisible : the place that stands in for other places. In Twilight : New Moon, Jacob goes werewolf at the former Ridge Theatre that stands in for Forks Washington. Deadpool follows his love through the American city that is Vancouver’s Chinatown, then causes chaos on the Viaduct. We watch TV playing ‘Spot The Landmark’ with a giggle but our souls absorb the hint that anything that’s not America doesn’t deserve real screen time. And it’s a shame because these places conjure up memories, sounds, smells, and associations that are invisible to another viewer – and no matter how much something gets wrapped up in sexy drama and exploding buildings, it’s real stories that form the crux of good cinema and television.
So it is with “transgender” stories in media. Usually, cis actors play out faux trans stories – a sort of weird reversal of Vancouver’s stand-in-status – and those roles are limited to a depressing set of tropes. Boys Don’t Cry, Transamerica, Dallas Buyers Club, 3 Generations, Transparent, all of these show world-worn trans folks as objects of generous pity. They lack trans people to write, act and make them. They lack the spark of truth. And so we all lose out.
So what did we do? We decided to make a show about what TV says is invisible, because it actually isn’t invisible. It’s lived by people every day.
Welcome to The Switch – Work. Love. Mortal Danger. – a TV show set in the bottom of the rabbit hole that is the East Vancouver Queer Underground. The Switch is solution to two problems: A show featuring Vancouver, a show featuring the queer community, and a show with real trans stories. We did it. It’s possible. And it’s hysterically funny.
In The Switch, Sü flees Trump’s America to come out and restart her tech career in Canada – only to wind up unemployed and couch-crashing with her ex, Chris, and adorable ecoterrorist. What follows is a journey of self-discovery, and empowerment, as well as dodgy employment, dumpster diving, nosy cops, murdered oil lobbyists, sci-fi hallucinations, and a problematic boyfriend. It’s unashamedly geeky, definitely hopeful, proudly political, and above all, it’s funny. The Switch is spearheaded by transgender showrunner Amy Fox, who co-stars along with five transgender and/or nonbinary actors in transgender/nonbinary starring roles.
And now that we’ve made groundbreaking television, we’re embarking on a new way of making a lot more of it : Season One of The Switch comes to Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play on August 15th. When we sell 100,000 copies, we will make Season Two. We’re not waiting for a network or studio to decide for us if we get a second season. By selling directly to fans, we’re making TV without interference from gay-adverse advertisers, the TV network old (“straight”) boys’ club, or their army of well-paid middlemen. We’re breaking rules, and we want you to join us.
Find us at Pride this year in our community viewing booth on Aug 2nd (Prance On The Pier, North Shore), Aug 5th (Dyke March, Commercial Drive) and Aug 6th (Sunset Beach), or join the creators of the series for a lively discussion about creating TV with better representation for LGBTQ+ people at our production studio in Olympic Village on August 4th for a binge-watching session with other Vancouver Fans.
Is there a LGBTQ or trans story you’re not seeing enough of in movies or TV? Hit us up on social media @welovetheswitch or leave a comment and we’ll be in touch.
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