THE BLOG

How I Found Myself on an Upcoming Episode of Glee!

02/12/2015 09:56 pm ET | Updated Apr 14, 2015

"Transition" is the title of the episode on the television show Glee that will be airing Friday, Feb. 13. From its first episode Glee has been extraordinary in every sense of the word. Every teenage issue from bullying to teen pregnancy to same-sex relationships to leaving high school to go out into the world has been addressed.

This episode deals with the football coach, whom we've known for several seasons as a woman but who revealed in a recent episode that he is a transgender man and would be transitioning.

I understand transitioning, because I transitioned in the late '70s and early '80s, culminating in my gender-affirming surgery in 1982. Just like all personal journeys that people experience, everyone's transition is different. What is consistent in everyone's transition journey, though, is that it is the biggest challenge that they will face in their life. Support from one's friends and family is probably the single most important factor in how easy or difficult a person's transition will be.

In November of last year, I drove from my home in Missouri to San Francisco for a sold-out screening of the documentary short Trucker Patti, of which I am the subject, at the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival. (See Rachel Pepper's review for Curve magazine here.) While on this trip, I was made aware that casting director Kristan Berona was looking for transgender people for an episode in the final season of Glee. Being the "Gleek" that I am, I immediately got in touch with Kristan and was invited to participate.

I had planned only to go to San Francisco and then drive back to Missouri. However, after learning the particulars of this episode, I decided to make a several-hundred-mile detour to Los Angeles to participate. Because the screening of Trucker Patti had been so well received, I was feeling very good on my drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

I can only say that being part of this episode of Glee was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. As an advocate for transgender and intersex understanding and awareness, I am very grateful to Ryan Murphy, the creator and driving force behind Glee, and everyone involved with the show. The work that they have done is truly groundbreaking and one of the most courageous things I have ever seen on network television.

Even if you are not a fan of the show, I would urge you to watch this episode, because what takes place is truly life-affirming. I am hoping to talk more about this episode and what the experience meant to me personally after it has aired. I really hope you will watch.

Love and hugs from Trucker Patti!