Art sometimes catapults societal norms and culture
In a world that does not value the life of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people, there comes a time where art catapults what societal norms and culture does not: visibility, allyship, explicit joy. That is exactly what THEM, the docuseries released on Trans Day of Remembrance (November 20), on the world’s first LGBTQ+ network Revry, aims to accomplish. Flavia (she/her) shot the docuseries on the set of her music video for the song also titled, “Them.”
“I think when I wrote the song [“Them”] I really felt like there was something special; there was a story I wanted to tell not just for myself, but for a community that felt to me so mis—and underrepresented in popular culture,” Flavia said in a Zoom interview from Berlin.
Flavia smiles much of the time answering each question as thoroughly as she listens. She’s as passionate about activism as she is about her art. Quarantining with her father and sister in the Irish countryside in early 2020, the artist shares her gratitude for time. Having written numerous songs during that period, the artist shares of her vibrancy in change, passion for music, and navigating space for transness and queerness.
“Them” as a single comes as a realization. Written about a transgender masculine, non-binary ex-partner, Flavia knew that creating a song wouldn’t be enough of an embrace to a community the cisgender, queer, pansexual ally has learned so much from.
“When I started dating this person, I realized how little I knew and I started thinking: If me, a queer, cis, activist knows so little and is afraid to say the wrong thing then how does someone that is not involved in the queer community, who doesn’t have any queer friends, and is a cisgender person (even as another generation), how are they supposed to navigate this space?” she said.
Basil Mironer, the director of THEM, also Flavia’s visual partner, brought Kai Wes (he/them) onto the production side of the series. Wes, an actor and visual artist, is interviewed in the docuseries and helped navigate questions for the interviews.
“I’m not trying to speak for the trans community,” Flavia said. It is a statement that speaks to the artist’s intention on giving space for this docuseries to grow an expanding representation versus an expanded exploitation of the community, something that often happens to BIPOC, trans, queer, and gender non-conforming people in pop culture.
Broken into three parts, the series begins with an episode titled, “Identity & Pronouns,” followed by “Coming Out & Transitioning,” and finishing with “Trans Media & Personal Journey.” These dense chapters delve into six members of the transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming community. They highlight important details about what it means to live in the realm of gender queerness, transitioning in gender that often segments into different reality of experience even within the community itself.
Each chapter, approximately six minutes, gives the viewer a chance to catch on. The people that will learn most from the series are folks that need to feel a sense of community, representation, and those that want to get the basics of what it might mean to live off, on, and around the spectrum of gender, perhaps without unpacking intersectionality.
In being trans, sometimes what you really need is to see and hear people that are just like you.
“I think music has the power to change the world,” Flavia said. Grateful to have music as an outlet, the artist wants to use that strength to heal others around her, she said in an email to Out in Jersey.
“The THEM docuseries discusses how to be a better cis ally, how to navigate your own gender fluidity, and highlighting how beautifully diverse gender identity can be,” Flavia wrote in the same email.
What Flavia wants to remind other cis allies of is that allyship is an ongoing learning process, journey, and dedication to the vast community of gender.
Find the three part docuseries, THEM, on revry.tv. Flavia’s debut EP Out Loud is coming soon and you can find and stream “Them” on Spotify.