It’s because the transwomen on there seem real, albeit in concentrated form. Unlike the L word and other shows intending to showcase LGBTQ and other minority communities, transwomen in Transparent aren’t super hot, gorgeous, waifs superfeminized and successful. They are trying to make their lives work for them against many odds while doing the best with what they have as far as their bodies and brains take them.
Even the cis-characters are tapestries of the human condition. Sometimes extremely so. In fact, Transparent is a kind of amplified version of reality – like all fantasy that is TV. It concentrates problems characters face to concentrate drama thereby enhancing viewership. It’s engaging if you don’t take it too seriously.
As a transamorous male, I enjoy seeing a more accurate portrayals of transwomen to the degree Transparent can portray them. It is fantasy though. It will never accurately portray what every single transperson’s experience is no more than the Huxtables on The Cosby Show could for all blacks. The trans spectrum, like the human one, is broad. Which means there are many successful transwomen working in the everyday work world, doing things ordinary people do, living relatively invisible lives. To watch this show then believe you know something about a transperson may be a fair assumption, but a dangerous one. Still, it’s a good start if you’re just getting your feet wet.
I don’t love transparent because of it’s accurate portrayal of transpeople. I love it because it’s good entertainment about a subject I care deeply about.