“New Girls on the Block” tells the story of a trans woman and cis woman’s marriage

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Sharon and Macy are like most married couples. They take their wedding vows seriously and have fun together, shopping, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK

But on the new reality show, New Girls on the Block, the couple faces some unique challenges. For one, Sharon has been ignoring her family for more than a year, because she has been nervous about their discovering her partner has transitioned.

“The bible don’t say anything about my husband becoming a woman,” Sharon says in the premiere episode, “so what am I gonna do?”

Sharon and Macy have been happily married for nine years, but it’s only in the last four that Macy has been living as her true self in their home in Kansas City, Missouri. New Girls on the Block, premiering tomorrow on Discovery Life, follows the couple as well as another romantic pairing made up of two trans women (Jaimie and Aiyana) and three others (single Kassidy and Chloe, and Robyn who is  in a relationship with her long time male best friend, Andrew), all of whom live in Kansas City. (Kassidy has since relocated to Houston but travels back frequently for the show.)

Andrew, Robyn, Aiyana, Jaimie, Macy, Sharon, Kassidy and ChloeNEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK

“For me, I don’t have to do [define us] because we’ve always been so close, since the beginning,” Sharon said. “We’ve always been close and we’re as close as we’ve been since we’ve known each other. So I don’t explain to anyone—people who have always known us have seen us as that. They do kind of say, ‘Well what’s gonna happen now with you guys? Are you gonna stay married? Have kids?’ That question, they will ask. Because they always ask that.”

2015 Winter TCA Tour - Day 2

“If you watch New Girls on the Block, you’ll see we’re just ordinary people and we’re not scary,” Macy told me during TCA this winter. “I am happy to have the Janet Mocks and the Laverne Coxs—I love them they’re great—but also, I’d like to see people like CEOs, people like doctors, lawyers, dentists—just every day people in the limelight as well that say, ‘Hey we’re a champion for our rights.’ I’m hoping that people can watch our show and see every day people and as I reveal my life with a normal every day life like everyone else, I want people to see an every day person. We just need those kinds of examples. ”

Although it wasn’t easy for Sharon to hear that her husband has known she was a woman since before they met, the love Sharon and Macy have had for one another defies gender.

“Sharon is not a lesbian,” Macy said. “We are still married and defining our relationship. We are still evolving. We’re just taking it day by day.”

“I am heterosexual,” Sharon said. “We haven’t changed it to anything at this point We haven’t said ‘this is what this is,’ per se.”

Discovery Life

The other couple of Aiyana and Jaimie say they are “lesbians or whatever,” but see themselves as just “people with parts.” Sharon and Macy share a similar sentiment and hope that the show will help distinguish gender identity from sexuality.

“The thing about LGBT, the LGB is all sexuality and the T is gender identity,” Macy said. “Now of course, you have the T that intersects with the L and the G and the B, but I think we need to understand that sexuality and identity are two separate things. I think a great mind said that sexual identity or sexual orientation is who I sleep with and gender identity is who you want to sleep as.”

The Transgender Institute is located in Kansas City, and its Founder Caroline Gibbs was a large part of how the women all connected in the first place (they’ve been having Girls Nights Out since 2011), and also how the New Girls came to be. Macy said she first found out what transgender was from finding the institute on the internet, and how fateful it was meeting Caroline. Her hope is that the show will help shed light on the real lives of everyday trans people, who Sharon notes are not “weird or strange or perverted or something like that.”

We’re at a time when the lesbian and gay community has more understanding than ever, but trans people are still somewhat a mystery to those who may not have caught onto mainstream fictional portrayals on shows like Transparent or Orange is the New Black. The very real hardships facing trans people could change with a show like New Girls, which will highlight several different trans women with very different lives.

“Things are different being a person of color,” Macy said. “Job loss, violence—these things are amplified being a person of color.”

Macy also wants the people to know it’s not just trans women who are moving through the world.

“There’s an equal amount of trans men and trans women and trans men don’t get hardly any coverage—no coverage whatsoever,” Macy said, “and they deserve a voice just as much as we do.”

In this clip from tomorrow’s premiere, Sharon and Macy face the reality of what it’s like to come out to your family. Although Sharon and loved ones still refer to Macy as “Ken” and “he,” the truth is they have never met or understood trans people before, and this is a huge step for them to come to find acceptance of the relationship. They are being educated, just like so many others will be by watching this show.


“They’re just like your sisters, your mothers, our cousins, your daughters, your girlfriends—that’s exactly who they are,” Sharon said, hoping that’s what viewers will take away from the show. “They are great people. There’s nothing bad about them. There are people out there that are executives, doctors, lawyers and we want them to feel proud and say ‘This is who I am’ and not be afraid they’re going to lose their job or lose their clients or anything beyond that because they’re still the same person they are. They are who they are and they should be proud of who they are. Again, they shouldn’t even have to say who they are, but we need them for more people come out to be accepted. ‘I know that person—I really love them. I’ve always liked them,’ you know? Like Ellen. I’ve always loved Ellen. I want to dance with Ellen. [When she came out] it changed nothing for me! I really would love to see that [for trans people].”

New Girls on the Block premieres on Discovery Life on Saturday, April 11.

 

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