“It’s definitely the gayest season ever,” declared Lena Waithe, creator of Showtime’s The Chi, which is in its third season, when she appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Last week’s season premiere opened up with a wedding between two women, which Waithe lauded. The most recent episode, airing on June 28, “Brewfurd,” introduced the plotline of a transgender character, Imani (Jasmine Davis), who is dating a straight man, Trig (Luke James).
The scene seemingly comes out of nowhere, after a fight breaks out at a gay bar between Trig and a gay man:
Trig: Can I get another?
Gay man: I got you.
Trig: No, I got it.
Gay man: Suit yourself [Walks over] You looking?
Trig: For what?
Gay man: Me.
Trig: Look, nigga, I ain't like that.
Gay man: Ain't like what?
Trig: I ain't like you, okay?
Gay man: Do you know where you are?
Trig: A bar.
Gay man: No, you're in a gay bar.
Trig: Nigga, just 'cause I'm in a gay bar don't mean I'm gay.
Gay man: Oh, are you curious?
Trig: No, nigga. And you need to get the fuck away from me, talking all that shit.
Gay man: Oh, I'm so sick of trade.
Trig: Wait, what you call me?
Gay man: I'm tired of you straight-acting niggas walking in here acting like your presence is a present when it ain't. You think you're all of that with your muscle shirts and your snapbacks but be the first to bend over grabbing your ankles and screaming my name at the top of your lungs.
Trig: You trying to die tonight, nigga?
Gay man: Get off of me!
Imani: What the fuck are you doing? Stop!
Trig: My bad, my bad, my bad, my bad. I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
Imani: Don't apologize to me. Apologize to-- I'm sorry,I don't know your pronouns.
Gay man: He and him.
Imani: Apologize to him.
Trig: I apologize.
Imani: It's okay, everything is all right. It was just a misunderstanding. We're cool. Are you okay?
Gay man: It's all right. I'll live. I always do.
Trig: I'm so sorry.
Imani: What the fuck are you doing?
Trig: Why the fuck would you bring me to a fucking gay club? I don't like that shit.
Imani: Do I say anything when you take me to those wack-ass straight clubs? Dress code, really?
Trig: Look, we don't even have to go anywhere. All right, we got drinks at home.
Imani: I need to be around my people.
Trig: I'm your people.
Imani: No, you're my person, you're not my people. These are my people,and I told you a thousand times I don't wanna be in the house just because you're scared people are gonna think you're gay.
Trig: I'm not gay.
Imani: And you don't have to be.
Trig: Look, you're a woman, all right? That's all I see when I look at you.
Imani: You can't love me and hate him. It doesn't work like that.
Trig: Come on. [Sighs] Imani.
The concern of men dating transgender women and being perceived as gay is a legitimate one, except Trig is portrayed as a defensive and quick to fight, aggressive straight man. Even while being characterized in such a light, he still recites the liberal talking point of “you’re a woman, all right?” Such a sentiment is one which is expressed in other television shows when straight men are confronted with the reality of dating someone who was once a man, such as with FBI: Most Wanted.
If it seems random that Imani is a transgender woman, that was supposedly done purposefully. Waithe continues, as reported by UPI:
"I'm so excited that we finally get to introduce our first trans character this season," she added. "Her name is Jasmine, she's a Chicago native, she's fantastic."
Waithe said the show won't linger on or emphasize the fact that Jasmine is transgender.
"We make sure to not point a finger or shed too much light on her being trans," she said. "She's an amazing woman, she's an interesting character, and I'm excited that we finally get to do that this season."
Waithe continued by mentioning that the show’s creators purposefully decided not to include police officers, who had been in previous seasons, in this season. The decision was made before the death of George Floyd.
"Even before all of this happened, when I pitched Season 3 to the network and studio I said, 'I don't want any cops this season. Why do police have to be in the black community narrative at all?'" Waithe said.
"My amazing showrunner, Justin Hillian, basically said, 'Well, you know how to make cops go away? Make a black girl disappear.' So that's what we did," she added. "We focus on how the community comes together, leans on each other, and doesn't necessarily need police to be in their community."
Sounds like this show’s season is just chock-full of not-so-great ideas.