On Thursday, Lemonada Media launched the first-ever audio reality podcast studio, BEING Studios. Their first unscripted show, BEING Trans, follows the lives of 4 trans folks living in Los Angeles over several months.
From the producers of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and MTV’s The Real World, BEING Trans documents cast members navigating everyday issues like dating, career goals, mental health, and family dynamics.
When they began this project, Lemonada co-founders Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs hoped to combine the intimacy of podcasts with the rawness of reality television.
“We love reality T.V., and we thought it was one of the best ways to tell stories, to really get to know these people and fall in love with characters, so we thought, ‘let’s try to bring that genre into the audio space,’” Cordova Kramer said.
Many people attending the launch had personal connections to the trans experience and the queer community in L.A. Rupaul’s Drag Race Star, Kade Gottlieb (Gottmik in drag) hosted the after-party and felt touched to be included.
“As a trans man, it feels so amazing to even just witness something like this,” Gottlieb said. “Having an audio reality moment like this, the first of its kind, being focused on trans individuals and trans stories and their real lives is so important for our time right now.”
Throughout the series, the cast grew very close and came to rely on one another for support. During a Q&A panel, cast members shared some of their memories from the experience.
“For me [the hardest part] was being vulnerable. I don’t like that. That’s not my jam,” said principal cast member Chloe Corcoran. However, “everybody that I came in contact with was very respectful about our stories while also knowing that this little bit, this could be the bit that saves somebody else who’s going through the same exact thing.”
Comedian Jeffrey Jay, another one of the leading voices in BEING Trans, recalled how much trust he had in his fellow castmates and the producers’ vision by the time the show wrapped.
“In all the years I’ve done comedy, it was the first time that I ever trusted, really trusted, a group of people,” Jay said.
Mariana Marroquin, one of the four main characters, echoed Jay’s sentiments when she talked about how grateful she was for Lemonada’s work in providing them a safe space to share their experiences.
We have beautiful stories to tell, and there is a fight out there. We got to keep fighting. We need support and our producers were that support for us, so we’re going to keep fighting because we have people like [our producers] working [their] magic,” Marroquin said.
Although the process could be emotionally taxing and exhausting at times, all four of the BEING Trans cast agreed it was well worth it. Sy Clarke-Chan, another primary voice in the podcast, said it best.
“It’s been vulnerable. It’s been intimate. It’s been complicated. It’s been messy. But, in a way that ultimately, I think, brought about joy.”
To listen to upcoming episodes, subscribe to BEING Trans on podcast streaming apps.
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