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Time to Meet the ‘New Girls on the Block’

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Discovery Life’s peek into the lives of trans women in Missouri
by Bradley Donalson

Discovery Life, formerly Discovery Fit & Health, premieres a new docu-series, New Girls on the Block, on Saturday, April 11. The show will follow the lives of a group of transgender women, some single and some coupled, who live in Kansas City, Missouri.

In the first episode, you’ll be introduced to three couples. Robyn and Andrew have known each other for years and were best friends before Robyn’s transition. After she started transitioning, they remained friends until Andrew started to move their relationship into a more romantic sphere. They have to deal with things like Andrew’s family not accepting them as a couple, as well as more standard couple concerns such as possibly moving in together or getting engaged. They bicker over the speed of the relationship, Andrew concerned that they might be moving too fast, and Robyn worried that they might be stagnating or moving backward. Their relationship is almost stereotypical of what might be expected in any straight relationship: the man is dragging his feet while the woman is dragging her man.

Macy and Sharon were married before Macy’s transition. They have to deal with the struggle of what Macy’s transition means for their marriage, even though they still love each other. Macy is a strong, black woman, but there are times when it is obvious that she still has some insecurities. As they prepare for Macy’s “stepping out” party, Sharon and Macy go dress shopping at the store where Sharon purchased her wedding dress. Sharon may appear reticent, but she supports Macy through the entire process, at one point telling her that this is her party and she’s got to go out there on her own. The couple also has to deal with Macy coming out to Sharon’s family. Sharon hasn’t seen her family in some time because she didn’t know how to explain Macy’s transition. In a powerful scene, Sharon invites her big sister and some other family members to her home, and with Macy, they explain the changes that Macy has gone through.

Trans lesbians Jaimie and AiYanna transitioned together. Jaimie is a natural athlete who is training for a triathlon, while AiYanna goes to the gym with her for “emotional support.” Together, they have to face ignorance and discrimination when Jamie is informed that some of the other women in the triathlon complain that she shouldn’t be allowed to compete as a woman. Distraught, Jaimie turns to AiYanna and her mother, an incredible woman who has nothing but support for her daughter. Together, they decide to educate the triathlon organizers and the women who complained, and her mother even cracks the joke that the only “unfair advantage” Jamie has is being her daughter. In upcoming episodes, AiYanna will have to confront her estranged, Latter-day Saints mother who looks to be the opposite of Jaimie’s mother.

Chloe Hudson (l) and Kassidy Graham
Chloe Hudson (l) and Kassidy Graham

There are two single ladies on the show, Chloe and her Houston-based best friend Kassidy. They are currently transitioning and going through a number of firsts, including online dating. While they didn’t get much screen time in the first episode, it is clear that they are still major players for the show who will bring a new perspective on the lives of these extraordinary women.

New Girls on the Block seems to be an honest and compelling look into the world of trans women in the heartland. It shows the struggles and joys that they must face, from the everyday problems that everyone has to go through to the hardships specific to trans women. A heartwarming show, this group of girls comes together to support each other during the lows and to celebrate each other’s highs. This original look into the everyday lives of transgender women seems to be both moving and educational, and it is definitely something to keep an eye out for.

New Girls on the Block premieres Saturday, April 11, at 9pm on Discovery Life (http://www.discoverylife.com/).

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Bradley Donalson

Bradley Donalson is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.
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