The beautiful thing about web series is that they’re short and easy to watch in one sitting. They’re also increasingly marking themselves as spaces where underrepresented stories are told. Such is the case with Her Story, which you can watch in about an hour.
Her Story is about trans women with actual trans actresses playing the parts. Violet and Paige navigate the complications of relationships old and new. Violet struggles with viewing herself as a real woman, especially since she also likes women. Paige struggles with finally meeting a man who seems to like her for everything that she is, something she hasn’t experienced in years.
In its short six episodes, Her Story explicitly addresses the problem of transphobia within queer communities. Lisa, a friend of Violet’s love interest Ali, is the straw TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) who deliberately misgenders trans people and encourages outdated notions of queer womanhood among her group of friends with her comments (e.g. the idea of “gold star lesbian”). Ali comes to both Violet’s and Paige’s defense multiple times throughout the series, but her ignorance about trans issues is rooted in lack of exposure rather than hostility. And it’s perhaps that lack of exposure that’s easier for audiences to relate to. Lisa is rude and brash and clearly doesn’t care about fundamental respect and protection of other queer people (like not outing someone). She’s obviously the person you don’t want to be.
But Ali’s lack of exposure–or her unawareness of trans people’s existence at other points in her life–is a quieter issue, but an issue nonetheless. She assumes that she hasn’t known any trans people and therefore she didn’t need to know much about them. Meeting Violet, and then falling in love with her, teaches her (and the audience) a lot.
Race, though not at the forefront of the series, does come up toward the end of the season when Paige confronts Lisa. There are also hints of her struggles in dating life as both a black woman and a trans woman, which would explain why she’s been so closed off and is worried about revealing too much of herself to James. Thankfully for her, James doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
Her Story has a lot of potential as it both addresses some trans 101 questions while showing how to taper transphobia. It’s certainly worth checking out.