Louis(e), a Failed Attempt at LGBTQ+ Representation on French TV

On March 6th, one of the most important – if not the most – TV Channels in France, TF1, have broadcasted the first episodes of its new series, which title is “Louis(e)”. It is about a trans woman who tries to reintegrate her family after seven years of absence, during which she transitioned. When I heard that such a series was going to be on T.V, I was curious and enthusiastic. After all, it is the first trans character on French T.V so I thought it was a great idea to finally represent the trans community.

And then, I saw the trailer – I’ve only seen bits of the two episodes, but it’s so awful I don’t even want to talk about it. There are enough problematic elements in the trailer to note, yet only lasts 2 minutes…

It is short, but if you understand French, you can already see what is wrong in this series.

First of all, let’s talk about the title. The “e” is in parenthesis as if we could still call the main character Louis instead of Louise. We can’t. This is her name, the name she chose, the name which represents her and no one can ignore it. Furthermore, it reduces her to her sexual identity. She should be more than just a trans character. Confining her to her genre reveals that the series is in fact meant to get popular and to show the channel as progressive, and not meant to be progressive. It’s like queerbaiting, to be honest. You know what I’m talking about, those series which have lgbtq+ characters so they attract lgtbq+ viewers and make some buzz but end up killing them for no (good) reason or giving them less screen-time than the others or suddenly inserting them in heterosexual relationships. This one probably won’t kill its character but it won’t reflect the trans community as it should either. I’ll now explain why.

Then, we can’t help but noticing the character is played by a cisgendered woman, a famous actress named Claire Nebout. Why hasn’t the TV channel chosen a trans actress for this role ? There are French trans actresses. They may not be as well-known as Claire Nebout, but isn’t it the moment to put them under the spotlight, to let them shine ? After some researchs, for example, I found that one of them, Stéphanie Michelini, has auditioned for the role and they have rejected her. Why ?

Now, the character herself. Thanks God, she is not a prostitute, she is a physician. But she is a cliché. However, it would have been great to see a trans woman who is not prisoned by gender roles. It seems that, to prove that Louise is a woman, she has to wear huge heels all the time, to be sexy and glamorous, to love pink and red and mini-skirts. Yes, some trans women are like this, such as Laverne Cox, who is always classy and beautiful, or Caitlyn Jenner. But not all of them. And they are much than stereotypes. It’s disheartening to see that people still can’t imagine trans people differently. Trans women can be androgynous, can wear clothers that are considered as masculine, can wear heels or can hate it. Because they are women. Women, cisgendered or not, can wear anything they want. A lot of trans people have complained about her hypersexualized aspect. She clearly suffers from internalized transphobia, for example when she says “I’m now a woman” to her ex. It means she doesn’t believe that she already was a woman before her transition. Yet, you don’t need to undergo a transition to be a woman. A gender has nothing to do with your genitals. She also declares “I couldn’t stay in between [the two genders]”. It invalidates the non-binary genders.

Subsequently, because of her behaviour and because of the purpose of the show (to condemn transphobia), the fact that her relatives are transphobic – it contents discrimination, transphobic slurs, rumors etc – is not surprising. The problem is that, even when the show tries to illustrate transphobia through the interactions between the characters, it’s done in the wrong way. Louise’s ex-wife is now married with a toxic epitome of masculinity, a “real” man who is machist and is supposed to be strong and virile. He spends his life calling Louise a transvestite and cutting wood. He is certainly the most annoying character in the show. Louise’s daughter is an unhappy teenager who is ashamed of her because Louise has accompanied her to a party. She is in high school and is perfectly able to think for herself, so it would have been interesting to see her as the most accepting person in the family, because she has read on the subject for school or something. But no, it was easier to have another stereotype. And as if it wasn’t terrible enough, Louise’ son doesn’t care about her genre because she can play with him. Indeed, he says things like “You have big hands for a woman” and when he learns the truth “I should have known you were a man before because you play basketball too well.” Do you find it clever to fight transphobia with sexist remarks ?

In addition to all I’ve just said, I now have to mention what Claire Nebout thinks of her role and of transidentity.

In this interview she doesn’t realize how offensive she is. She says she is fascinated by trans people, as if they were weird creatures she had to study. She only talks about transvestites and trans people in the clubs as prostitutes, as people who hide, which is strange given the fact that the character she plays isn’t like that. And she reminds to the interviewer that we probably often cross the path of women that “have been men”. Dear Mrs Nebout, these women have always been women. Again, trans people don’t need transition for their gender to be validated. A transition is not a proof. They shouldn’t have to prove it, in fact.

Some of the details I’ve written about in this article, among other things, have been denounced by trans people on social media a few days following the launch of the series ; for example, Clémence Zamora-Cruz, trans woman and spokesperson for the group Inter-LGBT in this article or quite popular Twitter users in the French LGBTQ+ community like @Elle_sa_ and @frizzy-charly – follow them if you can speak French, they are really interesting and dedicated activits.

Nevertheless, I can admit that, even if the show is a mess, they really tried to be realistic and committed to the cause, by narrating the life of a trans woman who isn’t a prostitute and the issues she faces every day, such as how complicated getting your identity recognised is.

Sadly, it is not enough.

Try again, TF1.

Comments

comments

  1. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long
    as I provide credit and sources back to your site? My blog is in the very same area of
    interest as yours and my visitors would definitely benefit from a
    lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you.
    Many thanks!

  2. Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I
    guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.

    I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing.

    Do you have any points for newbie blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  3. Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post
    reminds me of my old room mate! He always
    kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him.

    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Greate article. Keep posting such kind of information on your
    page. Im really impressed by your site.
    Hey there, You have performed a fantastic job. I’ll certainly digg it and individually recommend to my friends.
    I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  5. Somebody essentially assist to make severely articles I might state.

    That is the very first time I frequented your web page and thus far?
    I surprised with the analysis you made to create this particular submit extraordinary.
    Wonderful process!

  6. Thank you for another fantastic article. Where else could anyone get that type of information in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such info.

  7. Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it
    was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote
    and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any helpful hints for rookie blog writers? I’d
    definitely appreciate it.

  8. What’s up to every body, it’s my first pay a visit of
    this website; this weblog consists of amazing and actually good data in favor of readers.

  9. The next time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I know it was my choice to learn, however I really thought youd have one thing attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you might repair in the event you werent too busy searching for attention.

  10. Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading through
    this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this.

    I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Thanks for sharing!

  11. I’m curious to find out what blog system you happen to be working with?
    I’m experiencing some small security problems with my latest website
    and I would like to find something more safeguarded.
    Do you have any recommendations?

  12. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this
    put up used to be great. I do not know who you’re however definitely you’re going to a famous blogger for those who are not already.
    Cheers!

  13. Good site! I really love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I might be notified whenever a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick! Have a great day!

  14. whoah this weblog is magnificent i love reading your articles.
    Keep up the great work! You recognize, many people are searching round for this info, you could help
    them greatly.

  15. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?

  16. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you
    may be a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and will eventually come back
    from now on. I want to encourage that you continue your great
    job, have a nice weekend!

  17. Hi there! I realize this is somewhat off-topic however I had to ask.
    Does managing a well-established blog such as yours take a lot of work?
    I am completely new to running a blog however I do write in my
    journal on a daily basis. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my experience
    and thoughts online. Please let me know if
    you have any suggestions or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners.

    Thankyou!

  18. Excellent web site you have here.. It’s difficult to find high quality writing
    like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you!
    Take care!!

  19. Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several
    weeks of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any methods
    to stop hackers?

  20. I’m gone to inform my little brother, that he should also visit this website
    on regular basis to obtain updated from newest news update.

  21. I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high quality articles or blog
    posts on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website.
    Reading this info So i am satisfied to convey that I’ve an incredibly excellent uncanny feeling I found out just what I needed.

    I most no doubt will make certain to do not disregard this website and provides it
    a glance on a continuing basis.

  22. I do consider all of the ideas you have presented to your post.

    They are really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the
    posts are very quick for beginners. May just you please lengthen them a bit from next time?
    Thank you for the post.

  23. I feel this is one of the most vital information for me.

    And i am glad reading your article. However wanna observation on some basic issues, The
    web site taste is perfect, the articles is in point of fact excellent : D.

    Excellent activity, cheers

  24. Hi, I do believe this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may
    revisit yet again since I book marked it.

    Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to
    help other people.

  25. I just couldn’t leave your web site prior to suggesting that I actually loved the usual info an individual supply in your guests?
    Is going to be back frequently in order to inspect new posts

  26. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website.

    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me
    to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Excellent work!

  27. Do you have a spam problem on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about
    your situation; many of us have developed some nice practices and we are looking to trade solutions with other folks,
    please shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  28. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew
    of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like
    this. Please let me know if you run into anything.
    I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  29. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog so i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to enhance my site!I
    suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

  30. Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo
    News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
    Appreciate it

  31. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and
    I am impressed! Extremely useful info specifically the last part :
    ) I care for such information a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a long
    time. Thank you and best of luck.

  32. Howdy! This post could not be written much better!

    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will send
    this information to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a great read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  33. I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both
    educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is an issue that too few men and women are speaking
    intelligently about. I am very happy that I came across this during my hunt for something concerning
    this.

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published.

Click on the background to close