Janet Mock strikes a historic POSE as the first trans director of color on a television series

1980's ball culture, the AIDS epidemic and the rise of Trumps America are all explored in the hit FX series

Renewed for its second season, FX’s hit show POSE has seen its fair share television firsts. Written and produced by Janet Mock and Ryan Murphy, the series looks at life set in 1980s New York City. The rising AIDS epidemic, ball culture and Trump’s white-collar appeal to white suburban America are all examined in the groundbreaking series. Episode six gave way to Mock’s directorial debut, making her the first transgender woman of color to direct, write and produce for a television series.

Never seeing directing in her future, Mock’s episode “Love Is The Message” explore the struggle between partners dealing with AIDS and their last moments together. Pray Tell (Billy Porter) gives an award-winning performance as we see him struggle with accepting his diagnosis of AIDs and coming to terms with the limited time with his dying partner of the same virus. Trying to make the most of a seemingly impossible situation, Pray Tell enlists the help of friend Blanca (MJ Rodriguez), who also is HIV positive to sing for patients in the hospital AIDs wing. Singing a duet to “Home” by Diana Ross, both Blanca and Pray Tell’s performance is indicative of their unsettling future’s as well as those of the patients sitting before them.

Mock also explores the dynamic between Patty and Angel, the woman who are both involved with the same man. Suburban wife Patty (Kate Mara) learns that Angel (Indya Moore) is not just a woman sleeping with her husband Stan (Evan Peters) but indeed a transwoman. Rather than feeling disgust, we see Patty experience disbelief over her husband’s infidelity and secrets. The structure of family and community is continuously tested in this episode as well as transparency and love.

Seemingly all about the glamour and drama of the drag ball culture and life in 1980s New York, an in-depth look into the life of not only trans women of color but the LGBT community and their extension into the rest of the world is examined. The first mainstream show to do so, POSE has been received well enough to be renewed for a second season. “I’m glad that FX is keeping it and they believe in the show,” says Mock. Excited about having the opportunity to delve deeper into the lives of more characters, both the creators and producers have much more story to tell.

With a positive response from the trans community, the show can be a vehicle of truth, conversation, and foundation. POSE has successfully tapped into a community that has been grossly underserved and represented at large. Both Mock and Murphy belong to the LGBT community, and the show has hired hundreds of trans talent in front of and behind the camera. POSE is just another example of what can happen when the call for positive and authentic representation are answered.

With two more episodes left in the first season, POSE airs Sundays at 10 pm Eastern on FX.

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