MTV: Gay and Trans People on Two Shows this Season Expand LGBT Visibility

MTV’s  "America’s Best Dance Crew" features nine dance crews  showing their best moves on a different set each week, with judges and the TV audience voting on who they like best. Now in its fourth season, the show is produced by Randy Jackson and this cycle features  Vogue Evolution, an out, proud queer dance crew with a trans woman, Leiomy Maldonado, who told the Examiner:

I’m basically here on ABDC (America’s Best Dance Crew) to showcase my talent and to give strength to all trans people out there and to show the world that any- and everyone is talented, whether they’re straight, gay, lesbian, bi, or trans, and they should never let anyone keep them from fulfilling their dreams.

Vogue Evolution who are part of New York’s "Vogue" house/ballroom scene, are active in HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns and stress the importance of getting tested. The crew got a good reaction from the judges, and you can vote for them here each week; voting ends at 5:30am Mondays.

ABDC airs Sundays at 9pm with repeats on Monday (8:30pm) Tuesday (1am and 6pm) and Wednesday (5pm on MTV2) with a results show Thursdays at 10pm on MTV, with repeats TBD.

P. Diddy’s Making His Band takes musical hopefuls and puts them in a reality competition to win a spot in the hip-hop superstar’s band, while they cope with living together. Jaila Simms, a 27-year-old trans woman hopes to become one of Diddy’s back up singers. Jalia attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and has appeared in many Off-Broadway productions as well as working as a full figure model. She explained to the Advocate about how her family accepted her coming out:

I feel like, with all the things I’ve gone through, my family has definitely been there for me and what’s really important in our family is love. People can judge you — society, even your friends on some occasions. But your family will always be bound by love. Growing up as a child and knowing that I might be more comfortable living my life another way, um, is definitely rough. But if you do have that kind of love in your life, you understand that they’re going to love you no matter what…I come from a black family that was born and raised in the church, so we’re deeply rooted in religion and in “doctrine,” but at the same time, there has to be a balance. My family, for instance, may not have always accepted me and may not have always liked my actions, even so far as my putting popcorn in the microwave instead of on the stove. But at the end of the day, we know that our love for each other supersedes that. If more people take that into consideration, you’ll have a lot less therapy patients.  

Simms also eloquently and beautifully explained:

I think people don’t understand that we’re just trying to have our outsides match our insides. It’s more than about sex. On a spiritual level, some people think their soul is caught in the wrong body. They’re just not able to be themselves. And I want society to know that it’s not based upon sex or image or wanting to be beautiful. It’s about wanting to be who you truly are. 

Making His Band airs Mondays at 10pm, with back-to-back repeats throughout the day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.