We fell in love with trans pop sensation Jordan Gray when she sang on TV’s The Voice in the UK – but now she has a new career, as a comic.
She quickly became an important role model for young trans people.
Now she’s starring in a new short-form comedy series Comedy Central UK, breaking down tired trans stereotypes.
We found out more about the show and how she thinks we can move forward as a community.
Many people will know you as a pop artist. Why did you make the change to comedy?
Comedy is a much faster way to somebody’s heart. Make somebody laugh and it tears down every barrier they have.
I adored my time making music but for the last 12 months of doing it, I realized I had lost the love for the ‘storytelling’ side of it.
I love how music affects people and comedy just feels like a faster, more efficient way to do that.
Transaction on Comedy Central
Tell us about your new show.
Transaction is a new short-form series for Comedy Central UK.
It’s about Liv, a manipulative but charismatic asshole, and her long suffering best friend and night-shift supervisor Tom.
My ethos writing it was ‘trans people are just people, some people are just dickheads – ergo: some trans people are just dickheads too’.
Liv is my attempt to represent a regular tit-for-brains, not some tragic hero. I was getting bored of seeing us represented as either poor suffering saints or hypersexualised villains.
So Transaction is crude and irreverent and I bloody love it. Honestly, I’m sick of people telling me how to be transgender.
As you might guess, ‘short-form’ means shorter episodes. It’s six five-minute shows, one a week, every Wednesday, uploaded to Facebook, IGTV and YouTube by @comedycentraluk.
You can see a trailer here.
For lots of people, it feels like there’s been a lot of bad news recently. Does comedy help you get through it?
Yeah. We’re deliberately fed so much conflicting info so everything feels like a joke.
That way, when a president or a prime minister does something utterly fucking mental, we all go ‘naaahh, that can’t be true, it’s just another joke’. Problem is, it’s not. Comedy is a way for us to get a few good slaps in.
Do you think your differences from cisgender people help you see the world in a fresh way? Does that help your comedy?
Being trans – or anything other than straight white cis – means that the audience is already primed with a certain amount of social tension. And tension is literally the fuel of comedy.
We manipulate which direction that tension travels in (ie in or out of the body) to get the reaction we want. I couldn’t be a comedian and never mention being trans. It’s just part of the social contract.
Trans and staying positive in 2020
A lot of trans people are struggling right now, for example with the anti-trans Trump regime in the US or with transphobic TERFs in the UK. How has that made you feel and what can we do as a community to help each other?
Please, please, please try to remember that world you see when you log into your phone is just a needle-point of reality that’s been thrust in your direction to make you scared, angry, upset or annoyed.
Yes, this stuff is really happening, but so is a huge amount of wonderful change, beauty, truth and unity.
TERFs are just as angry as we are. They’re not monsters, they’re just uncomfortable. And they choose to assert themselves and their beliefs to feel better. That’s the same as me and literally anyone I’ve ever met.
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you in 2020 so far?
I hugged a fan in McDonalds and literally dropped four peoples meals and drinks onto the floor at rush hour. It was horrifying – so I assume it was probably funny for someone.
Finally, do you have a message for LGBT+ people around the world you want to share?
See? See how easy that was? Nothing blew up. Nobody died.
People make mistakes, pronouns are confusing and most people are really trying – even if it doesn’t feel that way.
Yes, you are a magnificent, gorgeous, revolutionary superhero. I mean that.
But it’s not all about us. Please give people the chance to make mistakes before running them into the ground.
We are all angry with Trump, TERFs, the rise of the fascism and the fact that most of our comedy heroes are emerging as bigots, nonces and rapists.
But please stop taking it out 67 year old Doris for scoffing at the word ‘ze’. Why the fuck would she know what ‘ze’ means?
You can follow Jordan @talldarkfriend on Facebook, Twitter, Insta for the latest Transaction show news.