I Want My Gay TV

In the event you've had better things to do than watch MTV deteriorate into a steaming sewer of reality programming, you might have missed South Florida's double-time queer cast previewed on The Real World: Brooklyn. The show's 21st season premieres January 7 and will follow its first transgender character — a male-to-female brunette from Broward named Katelynn — and a gay Miami Beach dolphin trainer (the mammal, not the team) named JD as they "stop being polite and start getting real" in front of a tilted-for-effect camera.

Katelynn Cusanelli, age 24, is a former Palm Beach Community College student who moved in with the cast three weeks after her gender reassignment surgery. Judging by her Facebook profile, she is now doing a decent job "passing" in Missoula, Montana, after all of that "getting real." (Riptide suspects that will change after the show airs.) The teaser previews a male character thoughtfully reflecting, "Dude, she was born a man!" along with dolphin trainer JD Ordonez smashing a glass table. The show also promises a hipster Mormon and a macho military guy.

Without spoiling all the juicy parts, let's just say Katelynn "confides" in Ordonez, an orphan who auditioned because he "was looking for a family." Says Ordonez: "I met a lot of drag queens, working as a bartender in Miami, and I knew right off the bat: She and I were different."

Television and film seem to be slowly warming up to the idea of trans and cross-dressing characters in noncomedy roles, at least when it comes to fellas becoming ladies (Transamerica, A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story, and even All My Children). For some reason, though, middle America still doesn't seem able to digest chick-to-dude trannies. But, hey, there's always season 22.

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Natalie O'Neill
Contact: Natalie O'Neill