By Madison Alworth
After four seasons (soon to be five) viewers are well-acquainted with the Pfefferman clan of "Transparent," but now, series creator Jill Soloway is inviting readers to meet her real-life family.
“I was writing this book about creating the TV show 'Transparent' and my parent coming out as trans and what it meant to find myself as a director at the same time that our family was finding ourselves," Soloway said Tuesday in an interview on Cheddar.
Soloway has written an autobiography of her own story, which closely mirrors that of her characters, who are forced to reevaluate their lives when the family's patriarch ー played by Jeffrey Tambor, who was fired after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced ー reveals himself to be transgender.
Not even Soloway, an Emmy award-winning director, could anticipate how timing and the larger political forces at work would shape her series and, eventually, her book.
"One of the things I’ve been thinking about for decades is this idea of gender and consent, to wondering why it's harder for women to be trusted around issues of consent. And then of course last year the reckoning happened, and our whole country became obsessed with these same questions, and I was able to synthesize some of what was happening in our lives on the set into the book.”
As the country changed, so did Soloway ー and that transformation is captured in her memoir.
“For me personally, I started off the book identifying as straight and maybe more feminine and heterosexual, and as I went through the process writing the book and working on the show, I then identified as non-binary and queer."
Much like the characters in the Amazon-produced ($AMZN) "Transparent," Soloway's self-discovery was part of a larger movement in the country.
“It was really more about my own family. When my own parent came out as trans, I think I realized I came from a legacy, a queer legacy where it was okay for me to explore different avenues for myself.”
Soloway, along with her cast, had a public-facing moment of reckoning when sexual harassment claims were leveled against Tambor last February.
“It took us a minute, it was such a shocking experience because we thought of ourselves as a feminist show," Soloway said. "We always felt like people were really aware of their environment and that people were really comfortable, and I think it really showed that it can happen anywhere."
But Soloway knew she wasn't alone, and in a way that made the experience less painful and more productive.
"I feel like I would have taken it really personally and freaked out a lot more if it had only happened on our show, but because it was happening in the whole country and even the whole world, where powerful men were having to look at their behavior to see whether or not it was being received the same way that it was happening in their mind."
Soloway's memoir, "She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy" is available in stores and online.
For full interview click here.