He is the new guy, don’t be rude to him


Everybody in the Orphan Black fandom is talking about it, everybody is talking about Variable And Full of Perturbation, the latest episode of Orphan Black, and the new clone, the “trans clone” (or broclone) Tony Sawicki. This fact itself means something.

People are talking about LGBT representation on television as they’ve never done before. And I think that’s a huge Orphan Black writers’ victory. Even if there are a lot of negative reactions to the new character. And I’m writing this in particular for those who had bad reactions.

So, here we go.

I knew that a trans clone was a possibility. At least, I knew that they – cast and crew – had thought about it. But I also knew that it was a risky choice, in so many aspects. I mean, look at the reaction Jordan Gavaris (Felix) got when he dropped a hint at the Nerd HQ conversation last year. That’s not exactly enthusiastic, right? So I didn’t think they’d go there in the first place. And that’s why I started jumping around for joy when I saw the first two minutes of episode 2×08 – luckily enough there was nobody at home, so I didn’t have to explain that insane reaction.

But let’s start with a couple of thoughts on the entire 2×08 episode. I know that it wasn’t perfect as Orphan Black‘s usual. There were two things in particular that didn’t convince me, but none of them is Tony.

  1. Art, my dear, why aren’t you worrying about (our poor little) Helena? If you still don’t know she’s back with the Proletheans, you’re a bad cop. If you’re aware, then you should tell Sarah about it. And I know Sarah won’t probably leave Kira and Felix again to save Helena, but she needs to know. And should care a little bit more about her sestra. Helena’s a serial killer after all.
  2. Why the hell do you silly tits [Felix and Art] keep using Fee’s loft? On the contrary of Mrs S’ house, which is supervised and pretty safe, Felix’s loft is NOT safe. AT ALL. Jeez. The DYAD knows where it is; the Police (aka Angie) knows where it is; pretty much every gay man in the Toronto area knows where it is. Please consider to relocate.

And now we can talk about the new clone, Tony Sawicki – who’s obviously played by the wonderful Tatiana Maslany. But since the majority of us isn’t a trans person, we should only discuss these topics:

  1. Was it an appropriate choice to introduce a new clone so late in the season?

I don’t know, but also Rachel was introduced two episode from the end of season 1 and nobody questioned her.

  1. Was it necessary to give the new clone merely the task to inform Beth about Paul? Did the new clone needed to drive all the way from Cincinnati just to tell that?

I don’t know this either, but Fee saying that he’s going to keep Tony away from all of this and giving him the clone phone made me think that we’re going to see him again. And I really do hope so.

  1. But most of all, was it really necessary to give him a mullet?

Well, I don’t know, but I read they had problems with short hair wigs, that’s probably the best they could do.

Okay, it looks like I don’t know anything, but there’s actually a thing I’m sure about: it’s not okay to talk about Tony as a “Sarah/Beth with a fake beard” or worse, as a “chick with a dick”. That’s not okay because it’s hurtful and disrespectful. It’s hurtful because that’s what real FtM (Female to Male) men get to hear almost daily, and it implies that they’re not real men; and disrespectful because… – oh gosh, you don’t need me to teach you what respect is, do you?

It’s hurtful and disrespectful also to question whether it was necessary to have a FtM clone (see the quotes below). And it’s not even okay to keep asking what Tony has between his legs; if he had surgery or not, it’s none of your business, nor mine.

Also, transphobic cisgender people – and there are a lot of them on Facebook, check it out if you dare – are saying that Tony’s not a good representation for trans people. They say that  he is a bad trans representation because of his a criminal record.

Oh yeah? So, Laverne Cox‘s Sophia is bad representation, because she’s in prison, right? But guess what, nobody’s attacking her representation because we all know that Orange Is The New Black is a show about incarcerated people. Same thing on OB.

Well, OB isn’t a show about prison, but take a look at all the clones we’ve met so far; the only one who still has to commit a major crime, and who’s currently alive (?), is Cosima – because I bet Rachel’s an instigator in many crimes we don’t see on screen. If Tony were a saint, he wouldn’t have made it to this show. Period.

Another thing cis people are saying is that Tony isn’t convincing as a trans man. I don’t think we, non-trans people, have the right to judge him on that. As Jordan said referring to Felix and his gay representation, we cannot say: «Oh, if I were a trans man I’d be offended.» We aren’t trans people, we don’t understand. So why don’t we all listen to what real FtM guys have to say about this?

«I am an FtM transgender person, just like Tony on the show, and when he appeared on that screen, I knew instantly, and later on when Art confirmed that Tony was indeed a transgender clone, I was moved to tears. I was further moved by the way Felix persistently kept Art in check on Tony’s pronouns, consistently correcting him to use the correct “he” and “him”, and then when Felix didn’t out Tony as trans to Sarah over the phone, when he very well could have.

And further more, to show Tony injecting his weekly shot of testosterone was emotional for me. It was portrayed as something completely normal and Felix treated it as such.

I’ve never been so blown away and grateful and utterly moved by a television show in such a way, and I am finally being represented in a television show that I connect with.» (Oliver, rachelsmanning)

«If this were not a clone show, then I would be pissed beyond belief that they cast a cis woman as a trans guy character.

But it is a clone show. Tony has to look like Tatiana, or he wouldn’t be able to pass as a clone. There was no other way for them to do it. That’s why it doesn’t bother me. It was either Tatiana or no trans clone at all, and I don’t know about you but I’m happy about the representation.» (Devon, soccercopping)

«If you are one of the folks I’ve seen saying “Why did they hype up this episode so much? A trans clone sure, but it’s not like there was a big plot point or anything” you are speaking from a place of privilege. You are speaking from the place of someone who has never had to look too far to find their gender and their EXPERIENCE of gender represented somewhere.

Please, think before you post. This episode was hyped up because there is an entire community of people who’s day-to-day lives are rarely represented on TV and probably many of them (myself included) have NEVER seen it before.

It was a big deal. And if it wasn’t for you, that’s fine. You are not obligated to like Tony, you are not obligated to like this episode, but please take to heart that for some of us it was the most important thing we’ve seen in years and don’t discount it.» (Dawson, geekdawson)

See? They’re pretty satisfied to have Tony on the show. They like him, they feel represented and that’s enough for me.

So, as Dawson says, please think before you talk or post.

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