The Glee Project’s Alex Newell Happy to Play Trans Character

THR: What would you think if Ryan and company scripted a cross-dressing or transgendered character for you?

Newell: I would be perfectly fine with that because there are so many different angles to that. I go to different schools to visit friends and I see transgendered kids and it’s hard. Not too many television shows shed light on that, it’s that hidden thing that not everybody wants to talk about. But it is there and there are people that want to be able to turn the television on and see somebody else who is just like them. I feel like if I were able to that, I’d be beside myself and happy.

via ‘The Glee Project’ Runners-Up: Two Episodes Isn’t a ‘Consolation Prize’ – Hollywood Reporter.

Alex really came into himself when he started performing in drag. Several times, Ryan Murphy has made comments that made it seem like he’d be interested in writing a trans character (one time was when Damian got the words to “Jesse’s Girl” wrong and sang “I want to be Jesse’s girl”). He, of course, has written several trans characters before, both in his old show Nip/Tuck and in the pilot for Pretty Handsome, a show that didn’t get picked up.

My only reservation about Alex playing that character is that he only has two episodes.

Also, with all the other avoidance of trans that Glee has done (and the suspicion that it is FOX at fault), is it even within their power to introduce a trans character?

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5 thoughts on “The Glee Project’s Alex Newell Happy to Play Trans Character

  1. I wrote an essay of a response but I’ll boil it down to bullet points: 1) Ryan Murphy often Doesn’t Get It and could potentially mess it up. 2) Would it confuse camp men with transgender identities? Especially if not done right.Actually on that point it would be cool if his character were FTM. Like it’s so typical ‘you’re quite a feminine man – you can play a trans woman’. Obviously, trans women aren’t always feminine or camp or fabulous. 3) Like you said would it be a fleeting character for two episodes. 4) He hasn’t near won it.

  2. I’d have loved to have read your essay :)

    I don’t think Alex would have any issue playing it either way. I think the reason MTF comes to mind is how he really came alive performing as a woman (and I think it has to be said, I felt he was less OTT as a woman than he is as a man). It would be really interesting, actually, to see him play FTM, especially because his voice — which will invite immediate comparisons to Kurt’s — has that high-but-still-masculine quality about it.

    You’re right that Ryan Murphy often Doesn’t Get It (that’s pretty much been the theme of my blog), but keep in mind, they actually hired a writing staff for Season 3, so we might start to see more thought and research going into storylines. Yes, I’m an optimist sometimes. :)

    He could, of course, end up playing a character with a less definite gender identity than all of this. I, for one, would be delighted to see some more explicit gender ambiguity on the show as well.

    Chances are, of course, he’s just going to end up playing yet another gay guy. (That would make 5 explicitly gay male characters on the show, not counting Rachel’s dads, who are apparently going to appear in S3).

  3. Oh finally her Dads will appear. Great. Been wondering about that. I was initially thinking it would be great to have a Genderqueer character or even a person with a more androgenous feeling to their gender too. What I meant is I don’t think everyone can see the difference between a GQ and or Trans person and someone with a firm male identity and who expresses themselves through feminine traits. I think that’s where things will get muddled unless really dealt with properly. I really like Alex though (even though I was firmly on Team Hannah) so we’ll see how it goes.

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