Trans Media: The Fixity and Fluidity of Gender in Contemporary Media (NeMLA 2018, Pittsburgh, PA, 4/12-4/15/2018)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Lisa Perdigao, Florida Institute of Technology
contact email: 

Trans Media: The Fixity and Fluidity of Gender in Contemporary Media

Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Conference 2018

Pittsburgh, PA

April 12-15, 2018

Jamie Clayton, who plays Nomi Marks in Netflix’s series Sense8, said, “I’m excited that shows are moving towards the idea that trans people can just exist in the fictional worlds, because we exist in the real world. . . . It’s great that more people of trans experience are writing. That’s where it comes in that we exist, because they have the experience of just existing.” The Netflix series has received significant attention for its representation of Sensates, individuals who are part of a psychic “cluster,” connected by mind and body in the series’ cinematography and narratives, as well as its creators, Lana and Lilly Wachowski. Sense8 is part of a landscape of progressive television that explores the fixity and fluidity of gender constructs in popular culture, coexisting with Netflix’s Orange is the New Black (2013-present) and Amazon’s Transparent (2014-present) on streaming platforms free of the conventions of network television. On the big screen, Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl (2015) and Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Lili Elbe garnered critical acclaim while Gaby Dellal’s 3 Generations “sat in limbo” since 2015 before it was released in the US on May 5, 2017.

This panel will explore how trans identities are represented in contemporary television and film, examining the possibilities and limitations of reconceiving gender identity in both new and well-established mediums.

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