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Why ‘Yellowjackets’ & ‘Evil Dead Rise’s Trans Inclusion Is The Future We Want

Why ‘Yellowjackets’ & ‘Evil Dead Rise’s Trans Inclusion Is The Future We Want

Nicole Maines in Yellowjackets and Morgan Davies in Evil Dead Rise
Courtesy of Showtime and New Line Cinema

Casual trans inclusion is actually what equality looks like.

rachiepants

This weekend, two trans characters graced our screens, both big and small. Whether you were heading to the cinema, pulse recing, to catch the premiere of Evil Dead Rise, or cozying up at home with your favorite queer cannibals on the latest episode of Yellowjackets, you weren't just being entertained, you were also being treated to trans representation.

Chances are you didn't hear anything in the lead-up. No big marketing pushes, no big reveal on screen. No hand wringing, no raised eyebrows, or even a well-intentioned primer about trans identity. That they arrived with little fanfare is exactly what made it so notable. That quiet, casual approach to transgender inclusion in mainstream entertainment, specifically marketed to a mainstream audience, is what is radical and sets a blueprint for the future of non-cis representation in media.

Yellowjackets has made its innate queerness no secret; there are out characters with compelling queer love stories — and frankly, everything about it is unapologetically LGBTQ-coded — so it should come as no surprise that its inclusion and treatment of a trans actor would be forward-thinking and nonchalant.

Trans actor Nicole Maines made her appearance in recent episodes as Lisa, a follower of Lottie’s Camp Green Pine, (not a) cult as (not a) jailer to Natalie (Juliette Lewis). In subsequent episodes, we’ve learned more about her struggles including in her home life. She's compelling and complex, and her gender identity beyond knowing that she is portrayed by a trans actor is not the totality of what defines her as a full human being. You know, like real trans people.

Maines is aware of the importance of her role and what it means for trans representation. “My existence, my visibility on screen, the representation will always be advocacy because existing in spaces where people don’t want you is radical and rebellious in nature,” Maines told Salon.

Nicole Maines in Yellowjackets

Courtesy of Showtime

“We will march, we will vote, we will be out there and protest and continue to radically and rebelliously exist,” she added.And it seems, they will also appear in hit TV series and be treated like any other character. What a breath of fresh air.

It was with similar delight that audiences greeted Danny in Evil Dead Rise, played by Australian, trans actor Morgan Davies. When we meet him, he’s an aspiring DJ and the eldest sibling to Bridget (Gabrielle Echols) and Kassie (Nell Fisher). He also accidentally fumbles into to summoning a Kandarian demon who possesses his mother (This is an Evil Dead movie, after all) and kicks off the gruesome and terrifying action that follows.

Again, what makes Danny so exciting and so radical is that never once is his gender identity explicitly addressed textually or subtextually. He just is.

Queer and trans folks on Twitter are taking a ton of joy in the unexpectedly delightful representation of what they are dubbing a “trans moron.” This admittedly does not sound flattering, but stay with me. When the vast majority of trans representation skews to tragic figures or paragons of virtue, this flawed-in-the-most-mundane-way teenager feels like a cinematic revelation to behold.

Granted, it’s a read, but a loving one and speaks to a larger cry for greater, more complex, and yes even sometimes moronic representation of a community that is not a monolith.

Trans representation is the future, and horror entertainment like Yellowjackets, Evil Dead Rise, and the upcoming Talk To Me are leading the way.

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.