Y: How did Sam, the transgender character of the last man, break the LBGTQ story mode

One of the biggest problems surrounding FX TV series adapted from Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra Y: The last person How to update a 20-year-old story about gender in an era where gender is not so focused. The first issue of the comic introduced a disaster that suddenly killed all men and male animals on the planet, only two: New York escape artist Yorick and his capuchin monkey Ampersand. This story has never discussed too much about how this incident affects people outside the simplest gender binary—for example, the comic only mentions transgender incidentally, and it is retrogressive and derogatory.

For the show producer Eliza Clark, addressing the simple view of gender in comics is the main goal of the TV version. “I want to make it clear as soon as possible that Yorick is not the last man on the planet. What makes him unique is his Y chromosome, not his male characteristics,” she told Polygon.

With this in mind, the first season of the series introduced other trans men, mainly small characters that Yorick met on the road. In the comics, Yorick must remain masked or hidden, because the slightest glance at him will cause women to fall into anger, desire, or desire to exploit him, and people in the show usually just shrug their shoulders and think that he is a transgender person.

“I think this is an interesting reversal of the types of stories we usually see,” Clark said. “Yorrick was questioned in an unprecedented way.”

This conscious subversion of familiar, rote-remembered media stories about transgender characters also appears in other ways. Y: The last person With a transgender character as the protagonist: Sam, a New York City performance artist in his 20s, begins the story as a roommate and support system for Yorick’s sister hero. As the first season unfolded, Sam became one of the most complicated characters in the play, a contradictory and sensitive person struggling between his loyalty to the hero and his own survival.

Sam’s storyline this season involves a series of challenges that are frustrating standards in LGBTQ-focused stories, such as identity issues, bigotry, and romantic conflict. But all these story elements broke the usual pattern, because his transcendence was never the main problem with any of them. In addition to making a brief nod to the difficulty of obtaining testosterone and maintaining transitional therapy in the end of the world, Y: The last person To a large extent, Sam’s individualistic personal problems are solved, instead of positioning him as a general representative of transgender people, or assuming that transgender is his entire personality, rather than a relatively small part of the picture.

identity

Photo: Rafi Winterfield/FX

With so many transgender stories focusing on the process of self-discovery and coming out, Sam’s storyline pays more attention to his identity as an artist in a survival-centric world. The element of his character comes from the collaboration between the show’s development team and actor Elliot Fletcher.shameless with Fake Veteran), play Sam.

“Because Sam is not in a graphic novel, we have a lot of creative freedom to develop him,” Fletcher said. “There are a lot of conversations about Sam as an artist, about his relationship with heroes, how they became friends, and what their true motivation is. These conversations are always amazing and continue to be amazing and very collaborative.”

“He might have to find out his own voice as an artist, and then this happened,” Clark said. “Suddenly, he had to struggle to survive. He asked himself,’Is there art in this new world? If I don’t do art, if I’m not an artist, who am I? As a writer, all this is for me It’s all very interesting.”

Fletcher said that he and the creators of the series are particularly committed to defining Sam’s performance art process, which keeps him away from other artists because he doesn’t believe they will help shape his work. At the same time, his creative aspect strengthened his relationship with the hero. “I think she is one of the only people who can make him really happy to seek advice because she is very straightforward and doesn’t whitewash anything,” Fletcher said. “Her views are also different from him.”

Fletcher said that Sam’s sense of alienation as an artist was one of the keys to shaping his character. “His inner monologue is just, “‘God, I’m so lonely,'” Fletcher said. “In terms of art, he was really isolated very quickly, but his art has no room in the world. Now This isolation is not needed. “

Paranoid

Elliot Fletcher as Sam and Olivia Thirlby as Hero While preparing for a possible attack in a large store in Y: The Last Man, he clung to the baseball bat

Photo: Rafi Winterfield/FX

Many transgender stories in movies and TV either focus on coming out stories and self-discovery, or on facing prejudice and abuse. But when Sam deals with prejudice, it’s not because he is transgender — but because he is a man. In the middle of season 1, Sam and the hero came to a large store, and the residents of the local women’s shelter transformed it into a fort. They looked at Sam with suspicion and hostility. In episode 6, when one of their group tried to get along with Sam alone, the others defeated her.

“He already feels a lot of guilt,’How can I be worthy of being alive at this moment when the one I love is gone before the incident?'” Fletcher said. “So it just piles up like a mountain, like’I’m still alive, but my life is hurting others.’ Being in PriceMax with all these women is just a constant reminder to him how guilty he feels, he is How unpopular.”

“I think it’s really interesting how Sam and Yorick’s stories echo each other,” Clark said. “In a world with a majority of women, being a tangible man is scary, and it can be a fetish. It can be dangerous, or it can be great! It depends on where you are and who you are with.”

Episode 6 director Destiny Ekaragha also used her own experience to shape Sam’s scene in the storyline. “Be with a group of people who hate you because of your identity-as a marginalized person, I know what that is,” she told Polygon. “Therefore, it is very important to put this in the first place. He is a person who deals with other people and their behavior is not elegant.”

“For me, it’s really important to make sure we don’t ignore his vulnerability,” she said. “As a man, he is not welcome here. So when Hero starts to be enthusiastic about this group of people, you want the audience to think,’But what about Sam? He can’t stay here.'”

At the same time, Clark said that Sam’s transgender identity will not affect the team’s dynamics at all. She wanted to make it clear that the women in the group did not think he was any different from the men who hurt and abused them.

“I don’t want to humanize anyone who doesn’t treat him as a man,” she said. “I’m just not interested in those people. I’m not interested in helping people understand where they come from because I’m not interested.”

romantic

Eliot Fletcher plays Sam in

Photo: Rafi Winterfield/FX

Also in the middle of the season, Sam and Hero had a moment when they lay together on a temporary shelter bed, and they kissed passionately-but Sam backed away without a word, turned and left, looking lonely and resigned. The characters didn’t discuss this at the time, which raised a lot of questions about what they were thinking about. Fletcher said that the scene also has nothing to do with Sam as a transgender man-he backed down because he feared that he and the hero (played by Olivia Thielby) might not want the same relationship.

“Olivia and I spent a lot of time figuring out who Sam and the hero are together,” Fletcher said. “Before that scene, Sam and Shiro had met a few times-they were the kind of friends who did something for shit and giggles. Both of them were very impulsive and just spent here before the event. Had a great time. […] Because of the afterlife, they had to face feelings that could be ignored before, and there was nothing at that time. And now, anything you do will have a butterfly effect. “

He felt that Sam and Hero loved each other too much, and if it turned out that they did not take each other’s desires as seriously, they could not risk their relationship. “Before the moment he left, it was a bit out of the body,” he said. “He came back and realized where they were and how they were. It was not just another random makeup session when they were drunk. It was a very serious moment, and it was much more meaningful than in the past. For him There was a lot of weight in that kiss, and he wasn’t sure if she felt the same at that moment.”

future

Olivia Thirlby as Hero and Elliot Fletcher as Sam enter the looted store Y: The Last Man

Photo: Rafi Winterfield/FX

Fletcher admits that even these elements of the character have a new flavor Y: The last personFor those who are used to seeing LGBTQ roles only in terms of pain and trauma, the focus on isolation and pain can be exhausting. “However, specific to this show, I think everyone Suffering,” he said.

“Although I agree that the main queer content we get is focused on pain or discovery, or just unpleasant-in this show, everyone Alone, everyone Fucked scared,” he said. “For everyone involved, there will be bright moments. In this season, Sam must have. I hope to continue to do so in the future. We can indeed see more of who he is later in the season, and I think it does bring some light or happiness to him, happiness or inspiration. “

Clark also said that Sam’s story is very similar to the experiences of other characters in the series. He was in pain and felt lonely, but everything he experienced was echoed in other characters, which gave the basic structure of the first season. “I think a lot of people in this show are dealing with being the only person in the room,” Clark said. “‘Am I the last of my kind? Am I the only scientist who can solve this problem? Am I the only remaining member of the spy organization? Am I the only one with a Y chromosome? Sam’s first season Most of the stories are about being the only man in the room and that feeling.”

New episode Y: The last person It is broadcast on Hulu’s FX every Monday.