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It is with great joy that I report on the new Netflix series of Tales of the (premiere June 7, 2019). Bringing the denizens of Barbary Lane into the 21st century with all the heart, humor, and heartbreak with which Armistead Maupin has imbued his story of life in San Francisco, it adds some new characters to the mix of Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney), Mrs. Madrigal (Olympia Dukakis), and the rest. One of these new people is Jake, a trans man facing the unexpected changes that living his true self had engendered. One is
dealing with what happens when his girlfriend, Margot (May Hong), who has been with him through the transition, isn’t sure she wants to be with a man. Another is discovering his new-found attraction to men. In many way, for me Jake is the heart of the new series.
He’s played by Garcia, themselves a trans man, and when spoke with them on April 10, 2019, I asked them what it was like to be able to play a character like this, and over the course of 10 episodes. In their answer, they reference writer Thomas Page McBee.
I went on to ask about the choice to use they/them, and about the culture’s imposition of binary thinking about gender when others, such as Native Americans and Pacific Islanders, acknowledge a third one.