Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chile: Transgender character erased from Chilean version of Argentinian soap opera

You might remember something I wrote a while back about the Colombian television soap opera "Los Reyes" and how shocked I was to see a real transgender woman, Endry Cardeño, play the lead role of, well, a transgender woman - and steal the show.

Not that it was a first for a trans woman to have one of the leading roles in a television soap opera. Turns out that "Los Reyes" was the Colombian version of a soap opera from Argentina called "Los Roldan" in which Florencia de La V, a well-known cabaret performer, was the first to fill Laisa's shoes.

Taking a successful television soap from one country and re-making it to fit local customs and parlance is nothing new (the most obvious example in the United States is ABC's adaptation of "Ugly Betty" which was originally a Colombian television show).

So it's no surprise that Chile is set to launch their own version of "Los Roldan," renamed "Fortunato," which promises to follow the original story-arc - with one key difference.

Clarin reports that while the character of Laisa will survive under a different name (Judy), the part will no longer be that of a transgender woman or even be played by a woman.

Instead, actor Luciano Cruz Coke will interpret a straight man who dresses up as a woman in order to find work as a television host (think Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie"). Hilarity ensues.

GayMagazine editor Roberto Gaete calls it censorship.

I tried to get into the webpage of the leading LGBT rights organization in Chile - Movement for Integration and Liberation of Homosexuals (MOVILH) - for their comments but had no luck getting access.

In their article Clarin does point out that, even if Chile might have a more conservative society, Canal 13, the same channel that is running the series, has addressed issues related to homosexuality in the past in successful soaps such as "Machos."

Thanks to the great Lake y su bizzarre streaming - blogging from Buenos Aires - for bringing it to our attention.

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