About a year ago I was contacted about a new show set to premiere that was invested in writing an intersex plot line about one of it’s main characters. I was skeptical, to say the least, that this was just another sensationalist trivialization of intersex people’s experiences. Feeling a large responsibility to represent and defend my intersex community, I cautiously agreed.
Soon after, I found myself on the phone with the show’s Executive Producer, Carter Covington, and about a half dozen writers for MTV’s then brand new show Faking It.
It became readily apparent that Covington was the real deal. He spoke about the premise for the show and his commitment to conveying positive messages for LGBT youth. He and his writers wanted to make one of Faking It’s main high school characters come out as intersex in season two. They aimed to portray her experience accurately and respectfully with hopes of making a difference for some young MTV viewers born intersex who may be feeling isolated.
I knew this was a perfect project for Inter/Act, AIC’s intersex youth advocacy program. In fact, one of our members just described in a blog post their own experience about coming out as intersex. Six months later, two Inter/act members and myself were in L.A. having breakfast with Bailey Buntain DeYoung, the actress who plays “Lauren” on Faking it. Bailey seemed genuinely touched by our personal stories and honored to play a groundbreaking role as a young intersex woman with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS). We later met Faking It’s talented team of writers and shared personal stories, answered questions and made script suggestions.
This summer, Faking It began sending drafts of each season 2 episode to Inter/Act for review and feedback. Inter/Act member Emily Quinn lives in L.A. and has stepped up to lead Inter/Act’s committee tasked with this thrilling opportunity. Last month, Emily gave an Inter/Act presentation to Faking It’s cast. They were really engaged and supportive. In fact “Karma” thanked Emily afterwards with a big hug.
Tonight both Emily and Inter/Act member and AIC Board member Alice Alvarez attended the season premiere screening at the Paley Center in L.A. where they were live tweeting, raising awareness and reveling in the buzz of the event. This first episode will reveal Lauren’s big “secret” and includes her blogging on Inter/Act’s tumblr blog!
There will be much more to come. AIC and Inter/Act have been collaborating for months with MTV staff on efforts to help break down some of the remaining barriers of isolation and shame by bringing to light part of the intersex experience through Lauren’s character.
MTV and the Faking It staff are to be applauded for their groundbreaking efforts in supporting intersex youth in this award winning new “dramedy.” We will be watching all season and hope you will too!
~Kimberly Zieselman, E.D
Faking It season 2 premieres Tuesday, September 23 on MTV at 7:30 Pacific / 10:30 Eastern. Don’t miss it!
Want to Get Involved?!
1. Watch the show – Support MTV’s decision to create the first intersex character. Heck, invite a bunch of your friends over and have a viewing party during the premier. Share the #fakingit hashtag when you do!