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FX’s ‘Pose’ Is Giving Trans People Of Color The Representation They Have Never Seen Before

poseonfx / Instagram

You’ve heard the hype and it’s all real. Director Ryan Murphy’s history-making LGBTQ+ drama Pose is changing television as we know it. With the touch of Janet Mock, the first trans woman of color to be hired as a TV writer, and a cast as diverse culturally as they are in gender and sexuality, we’re seeing true representation and in style.

The show is set in 1987-88 and is entrenched in the Afro and Latinx ball culture world, with social criticisms of the rise of yuppy Trump and the consequent gentrification of a world that no longer exists today. This is written by queer people of color, for all of us to absorb, let it marinate, and transform television. Here’s what you don’t know.

Director Ryan Murphy calls Pose “without question the highlight of my career.”

CREDIT: @poseonfx / Instagram

He told the Hollywood Reporter that, as a gay man, all he’s ever wanted to do is give back to the LGBT community. First, he gave us the gift of this work of art.

Murphy is donating all the profits from the show to LGBTQ charities.

CREDIT: @poseonfx / Instagram

He told the Hollywood Reporter, “I’m no showrunner here. I’m an advocate for this community and my job is to take care of them and provide for them and to give them access into a mainstream world that they have been denied for so long. That’s what I wanted to do, and I immediately decided to donate all my profits back to the community.”

Nobody gets stabbed in the show on purpose.

CREDIT: @mrrpmurphy / Instagram

Trans violence is on the rise, with dozens of trans people murdered simply for being transgender last year alone. The number of trans people who are injured, attacked, or assaulted is high in the streets, higher in prisons, and much higher in suicide rates.

Murphy wants to give the community something uplifting and light, rather than dark.

CREDIT: @awards_watch / Twitter

While Murphy has created some light shows like Glee, he’s also written American Horror Story, and Running with Scissors. He told Hollywood Reporter that:

“People right at the end of these episodes are breathing a sigh of relief because no one was killed. No one was beaten. No one was slashed. What I’ve been trying do is show this community in the way that I see them: beauty and glamour and lights and music. That’s how we as gay people and trans people have gotten through our pain.”

The year the show is set is personal to Murphy.

CREDIT: @mrrpmurphy / Instagram

It’s set the year that he moved to New York, and the feeling of that entire year haunts him. He tells Hollywood Reporter, “I would drive myself to the emergency room in college every 10 days, even when I was celibate, and get a blood test and I would wait for two weeks and lose 15 pounds and throw up in the middle of the night in fear because I thought I was going to die. I thought that loving someone meant death, and I think a large group of young people don’t have that experience. That was my experience, so I was able to, with the HIV/AIDS story, really lean into my pain.”

With this show, he’s checked his privilege and taken a back seat to let trans voices come through.

CREDIT: @janetmock / Instagram

“That has been a shift in my career because usually, I’m the showrunner,” he told Hollywood Reporter. “I come in with the idea; I do all the casting; I have a vision of it all; and in this one I was interested in saying, ‘What do you think? What do you need to do?'”

Janet Mock is the first black trans woman to direct an episode of television.

CREDIT: @janetmock / Instagram

Murphy had to beg her to leave the writer’s chair and give a stab at directing, something she’s never wanted to do. In a way, it was easier because the cast was more comfortable at that point, and trusted the woman who created all their characters.

She shot the most difficult scenes first.

CREDIT: @poseonfx / Instagram

Did we not mention that this is a *musical* show? The cast is constantly learning new choreography and routines and then having to perform flawlessly in costume on camera.

They had to remove Pose billboards from scenes post-production.

CREDIT: @poseonfx / Instagram

It’s hard (and expensive) to control traffic during production, and since the show is set in the ’80s, every time a modern car or taxi drove by, they had to reshoot or ensure it was editable. It was even worse when buses would drive by with Pose billboards on them. 😂

The show is heavily adapted from Paris is Burning and Saturday Church.

CREDIT: @caryllrunes / Twitter

The 1990 documentary film chronicles the actual lives of trans people and drag queens centered in the ball culture of NYC. It’s since been selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry as culturally significant enough to treasure as history. Saturday Church follows a group of ball performers and even stars MJ Rodriguez who plays Blanca in Pose.

Murphy actually hired the surviving actors from Paris to be judges in every episode.

CREDIT: @poseonfx / Instagram

Murphy explained to the Hollywood Reporter,

“The first thing that I did is met with three of the survivors of Paris Is Burning, who are judges in every episode of Pose. They’re always there. I just wanted to meet them and let them know that I wanted to not take their story but make them a part of the show and pay them for their time and their energies, and they were very moved by that.”

The museum heist is a true story.

CREDIT: @NylonMag / Twitter

The pilot episode showcases how a house stole preserved costumes from British royalty and got away with it because the museums wanted to keep their brand away from LGBTQ+ news. This storyline made it into the script from the survivors of Paris is Burning.

The show hired the existing mother of renowned ball house, La Beija as a consultant.

CREDIT: @poseonfx / Instagram

A rising dancer at La Beija tells The Guardian, “People like to take. There are a lot of culture vultures and my thing is, if you’re going to take from our community and be inspired, include us. Include the people you’re taking from. I was happy with Pose because I have a lot of friends that actually did the show and I felt like they took their time to really get to know the community and include the community.”

A megastar of the show has been MJ Rodriguez.

CREDIT: @PoseOnFX / Twitter

The casting director spent six months searching for someone to play her role. She plays Blanca, who leaves her house after discovering she’s tested positive for HIV and begins a new one, the House of Evangelista.

Rodriguez has made history before as a trans actress.

CREDIT: @poseonfx / Instagram

She appeared in Marvel’s Luke Cage, making her the first transgender character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wepa!

Trump’s presence is felt on the show but intentionally written out.

CREDIT: @poseonfx / Instagram

When asked why Murphy wrote Trump out in favor of a coked out Trump Organization executive, he told The New Yorker, “Nobody wants to see that f***head.” Amen.

The crew had a drinking game for every time Rodriguez said “mutha.”

CREDIT: @poseonfx / Instagram

In the same vein, Janet Mock responded to the LGBTQ+ community beginning to call her mother. She tells The Daily Beast, “Number one, and on the record, I am too young to be anyone’s mother. So children, please stop. I love you dearly, though. Also, do not call me Auntie. Because that, too, does not work. Let’s stick with Big Sis. Big Sis is very respectful.” Noted, Sis.

The first season has the largest cast of transgender actors ever.

CREDIT: @poseonfx / Instagram

No cis actors play any of the over 50 transgender characters. FX has officially employed the most transgender people on a scripted TV series in history.

The show has been renewed for Season 2.

CREDIT: @JhonEdw73756588 / Twitter

We know that we can expect that it will jump a year ahead, and end in March 1990, the month that Madonna’s “Vogue” debuted, which brought ball culture a bit more mainstream. We don’t know how MJ Rodriguez’ character will grow with an HIV diagnosis, but we hope we get to see that Boricua for many more seasons to come.

You can watch Pose on Amazon Prime, iTunes and FXNOW.

CREDIT: @poseonfx / Instagram

Consider your $4.99 purchase of Season 1 a donation to the LGBTQ+ charity of Ryan Murphy’s choice. You won’t be sorry.


READ: Proof That Carmen Carrera Is The Trans Latina Warrior We All Need In This Crazy World

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These Telenovelas Critically Shaped Our Lives And Continue To Impact Our Views On Reality

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These Telenovelas Critically Shaped Our Lives And Continue To Impact Our Views On Reality

@rbd_loveponny / @circo.eletronico / Instagram

In Latino households, telenovelas are, for better or worse, congruent with our culture. The TV is always on and if it’s not on Primer Impact or Walter Mercardo, you can certainly bet that some telenovela is playing.

It’s not that we’re obsessed with dramatic storytelling, but we totally are. However, this kind of programming is sort of like an escape from our own personal drama, and the actors end up becoming a part of the family. So why wouldn’t you watch the new telenovela featuring Ludwika Paleta or Angélica Vale, especially if we have grown up watching them?

That’s what it comes down to really. These actors and these stories somehow became part of our lives during crucial formative years. So while we know they’re fantasy, we’re still hooked on them simply because of the nostalgic factor of where we were when we first watched them, and how they were intertwined with our family.

Here are 19 telenovelas that shaped our way of thinking, our way of dressing, and sometimes our way of loving.

“Carrusel de las Américas” ( 1992)

CREDIT: Instagram/@circo.eletronico

As a kid, this was probably the one telenovela that was okay to watch, and that didn’t show any inappropriate make-out session. These kids were just like us, and they looked like us too. They weren’t all cute blonde skinny kids (although it did feature one) like the ones that were on American television, so it was exciting to be a part of their world.

“Marimar” (1994)

CREDIT: Pinterest

Oh, Thalia! If we could count the ways we loved her, we’d never stop. By the time “Marimar” came on the air, we were very familiar with the singer and actress, but we couldn’t get enough, which is why she had telenovela after telenovela.

“Marimar,” however, was our “Pretty Woman” fantasy without the prostitution part. Here was a poor young innocent girl who was raised by her grandparents, and by happenstance, falls in love with a rich hot guy. Like in all love tales, these two worlds cannot easily blend. The rich don’t just fall in love with the poor, but in this case loved conquered all, giving hope to many of us that grew up dreaming of the perfect life. 

“Yo soy Betty, la fea” (1999)

CREDIT: Instagram/@yosoybetty.lafea

One of the most important elements that every telenovela must have is relatability, because without that, how can we see ourselves in those stories. “Yo soy Betty, la fea” was one of those stories, with many incarnations from various countries, that made us feel like we didn’t have to be the pretty girl to get the guy. Not only that, we didn’t have to be the most attractive person to get far in life. With the right attitude and passion, anything is possible and Betty was proof of that.

“Corazón salvaje” (1993)

CREDIT: Instagram/@telenovelasrd

“Corazón salvaje” is a period pieces that continues to be timeless to this day. The story of a love child born out of wedlock has been one of those very popular telenovela themes. Who doesn’t love a good love triangle between two young countesses? One of the reasons why this telenovelas was such a hit and crucial in our lives because it showed the intense passion and incredible chemistry between actors Edith González and Eduardo Palomo. It was palpable!

“Los ricos también lloran” (1979)

CREDIT: Instagram//@telenovelasrd

Another Edith González classic is “Los ricos también lloran.” In this drama, we, the regular working class Latinos, see how the other side lives. Yes, rich people have problems too. Like “Marimar,” we once again see a young impoverished girl who wins the heart of a wealthy man. Here we see the man as a mean and unloving person. Thankfully, his love for her changes him, which made us hopeful romantics think: our love can certainly change a man.

“Rubí” (2004 )

CREDIT: Instagram/@tvshowsnmusic

“Rubí” is one of those telenovelas that speaks to the devil in all of us. Internally, whether we’d like to admit or not, we are always secretly wanting more, envying those with a better life. That’s what Rubí represented, a devious and stunning woman (played by the amazing Barbara Mori) who would go to any length to get what we she wanted. While it’s great to have that kind of determination, what will cost you? Your dignity? Perhaps, yes. Y que?!

“La usurpadora” (1998)

CREDIT: Instagram/@lausurpadora1998

This novela is all about actors Gabriela Spanic Fernando Colunga, who we basically grew up thinking were part of our every day lives, simply for the fact that they starred in every telenovela. The storyline centers around twin sisters that are separated at birth and who reconnect later in life, but not in a good way. The poor sister has to act as a stand in for her rich sister who wants to leave her husband. Now, if the rest of us could have a double to do our dirty work, maybe we’d all be a little bit happier.

“Quinceañera” (1998)

CREDIT: Pinterest

This is the one telenovela that needs to be redone again and again in order for the new generation to fully understand what it’s like being a teenage girl. Now that quinceañera’s are pretty much a term known around the world, this 1998 show, starring a young Thalia, needs a reboot asap.

The problematic experiences that a teenage girl endures stays with her forever, and for best friends Maricruz and Beatriz it is no different. They experience date rape, drugs, gangs, the whole enchilada, and while it was hard to watch some scenes, it’s crucial to remember that this things are a part of real life.

“Cuna de lobos” (1986)

CREDIT: Instagram/noveleandopodcast

This novela, we should say, would have been nothing without the role of Catalina Creel (played by María Rubio) and that freakin’ eye patch that matched every single thing she ever wore. Catalina’s role as the evil mother could be seen as the original Donald Trump: a person who will do anything (even murder) to protect the wealth of her son. This story taught us the true definition of a mama’s boy. 

“Dos mujeres, un camino” (1993)

CREDIT: Instagram/@infonovelas

Do not call this another love triangle. Erik Estrada in “Dos mujeres un camino” is anything but. We were finally confronted with what happens when a Puerto Rican is perfectly placed in a Mexican setting. It’s insane and hilarious. That’s why we loved this telenovela. Where else would you see a cougar and a young muse fight over a truck driver that doesn’t speak Spanish very well? We need to rewatch this one again.

“Amor en silencio” (1987)

CREDIT: Instagram/@telenovelasrd

This story could be one of the most complicated telenovelas of all time, which is why it’s one of the most beloved. The storyline revolves around Marisela and Fernando who, naturally, should not be together for a variety of reasons but it technically comes down to his mother. Either way, these two get together and shit goes down at the wedding, and that’s only the beginning.

Parents should be informed that you should never ever tell a child what they should or shouldn’t do because they’ll end up doing the opposite, especially if they end up being your secret relative. So ew but also, been there. It made sinful loving no so bad (but still eww).

“María Mercedes” (1992)

CREDIT: Instagram/@tvynovelas_usa

Once again we see poor little Thalia, we mean Maria Mercedes, get swept of her feet by a rich older man, which in her case is a very good thing because she had to take care of her siblings. Of course, the wealthy man can always save the day, right?! Like we said before, for better or worse, these archaic storylines somehow seeped into our mentality that all you need is a rich man and all your problems go away.

“Muchachitas” (1991)

CREDIT: Instagram/@revistaeresfans

Whatever your social status was in life, “Muchachitas,” starring a young Kate del Castillo, fit the bill for you and all your friends, which is why we loved it. Whether you were the rich popular girl, the super poor and pathetic girl, or somewhere in between, you could see yourself in one of those girls, the only thing we lacked was their knack for drama.

“La dueña” (1995)

CREDIT: YouTube

Before being a badass boss bitch was a thing, Regina Villarreal, played by Angélica Rivera, made that attitude famous in “La dueña.” Sure, Regina was pure evil who thought her money could buy anyone, even her lover, but Regina taught us that with a commanding and persistent spirit you could pretty much whatever you wanted in life.

“De pura sangre” (1985)

CREDIT: Instagram/@telenovelasrd

In life you have to ask yourself: do you marry for love or money? For Florencia, played by Christian Bach, the question isn’t an easy one to answer. What do you do when your cheating husband can’t procreate and your marriage and inheritance depend on it? Well, the only thing left is to fall in love with the mysterious dark stranger. Yup, that’ll fix everything. Always follow your gut and your heart.

“Rebelde” (2004–2006)

CREDIT: Instagram/@rbdrencuentro

High school can be one of the most hardest years of anyone’s life, but for the students of Elite Way School, it’s so extra. While the students at this prestigious boarding school spoke to us on so many levels, what really made “Rebelde” legendary was their talent and artistry.

How many other high school students go off to make millions as a pop group around the world? Just one, so the crew of “Rebelde” will be with us for life.

“El Premio Mayor” (1995)

CREDIT: Instagram/@telenovelasrd

Way before Diego Luna was head of the cartel in Netflix’s “Narcos Mexico,” he was just a chubby little guy looking to stand out, which was basically all of us in real life. In “El Premio Mayor” there were a lot of flashy characters after they main protagonist Huicho, played Carlos Bonavides, wins the lottery and is perplexed on how to handle his new found fortune, especially when there’s gold diggers around every corner. There’s one lady that is completely different from the rest, and that’s the great Laura Leon who plays Rebecca, his true love.

One key thing that made this telenovela a hit, the title song sang, of course, by Leon.

“Topasio” (1984)

CREDIT: YouTube

This 1984 telenovela from Venezuela told the story of young Topacio. She is blind, poor, and very beautiful. She meets Jorge Luis who comes from a wealthy family. Here’s the catch, they were born on the same night and switched at birth. So, in reality, she is born into wealth and he’s just slim pickings, but the hearts wants what the hearts. Just goes to show, you never know who you’re going to fall in love with so always do a background check before you walk down the aisle.


READ: 21 Things That Would Happen If Stranger Things Was A Telenovela

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