In 2014, an influential Time magazine cover story declared the arrival of ‘the transgender tipping point’ (Steinmetz 2014), a moment in which the rights and representation of trans 1 people had seemingly taken up a permanent and highly visible presence in American cultural and political life. Featured on Time’s cover as symbolic of this moment in history was trans actor and activist Laverne Cox, who plays Sophia Burset in the Netflix drama Orange is the New Black (discussed in Chapter 1). In putting Cox on its cover, Time signalled the importance of television as both agent and evidence of the cultural shift it identified. As a call for papers by the journal Flow puts it:

The concept of a contemporary ‘transgender tipping point’ is founded in large part upon the rapid rise to celebrity that numerous trans actors, academics, activists and athletes have impelled and experienced over the past few years. American television has been a cornerstone of this process, with series including Orange is the New Black, Transparent, Sense8, I Am Cait and I Am Jazz celebrated (by some) for finally putting serialized trans characters, performers and creators at the centre of their narratives.

‘ Flow 2016 roundtable questions’ 2016