Glee and Social Issues Part 3.5: Why Unique Needs a Boyfriend

Or how Glee is wasting a potential interesting plot point due to reasons unclear to me.

Now let me make myself clear, I want the majority of the Glee cast who has been on for several seasons to stay single for like a season or even half a season. No more of these sudden appearances of love interest just before/after a break-up. No more of hooking up of two random characters episodes after one or both get dumped. No more focusing on romance just for a little bit, guys. I’m really tired of seeing characters build their entire identity around a relationship. We’ve seen these characters in relationships time after time after time. We haven’t seen them explore being single in any meaningful way though.

Seriously, I’m twenty-one. I do not remember my teenage hormones being THAT BAD.

However, my rant about why graduated/current New Directions should be single is another rant for another day.

No. This is about why someone in New Directions NEEDS to be in a relationship. You all talking about how tired you are of the Ryder-Marley-Jake love triangle? Or how about Tina’s creepy crush on Blaine? People kissing girls/boys they aren’t dating? We’ve seen a lot of these played out by different people over the years on Glee. I’m assuming you all are tired of it.

You want something new? A fresh perspective? You want to see a new relationship blossom that is sweet and meaningful right?

My answer is simple.

Give Unique a boyfriend.

Seriously. Give her a boyfriend.

I am not joking.

I think Glee should have Unique have a boyfriend/fall in love/something romantic.

Now for those of you who are uneducated in Glee, I’ll give the brief run down.

Unique was the lead singer for Vocal Adrenaline in season three. She was hoisted up as a symbol for the outcasts by a show choir magazine. She won MVP at Nationals. She’s best friends with Marley Rose. She idolizes Kurt Hummel and Mercedes Jones. Her real name is Wade Adams. Unique is transgender, male to female.

I think it’s great that Glee added a transgender character. Transgender people in media are not represented often. I mean the only three shows I can name that had a trans character/trans person on are Ugly Betty, America’s Next Top Model, and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Now I’m sure there were others that I’m not thinking of. But in my recent pop culture memory these are the shows I can name that have had a transgender character or transgender contestant on the show.

Isis King from America’s Next Top Model

It’s a good thing guys.

Now this really isn’t the forum to explain a lot of the finer details of transgender rights and their portrayal in the media. However, I will say a few sentences.

Transgender rights are further behind gay rights. It is getting a lot more attention as more and more cases of trans kids at school (any school level) are suing for discrimination. Glee has handled Unique’s portrayal of being transgender rather well. Okay, I haven’t heard anyone outside of the conservative camp complain about it.

At the most basic level of her character, Unique feels like she was born in the wrong body. She feels wrong for being a boy and feels like a girl on the inside. You should not call her “him” or “Wade” because that is not who Unique is.

Capiche? Okay.

So why give Unique a boyfriend?

Well like I said more power to Glee for having an openly transgender character on their show. However, they don’t do anything with her. I mean we know she’s Marley’s sassy best friend. We know that she was going to play Rizzo before Sue interfered. We know that her parents don’t fully understand that Wade is the façade and Unique is the real person underneath. We know that she’s a really good singer. I talked more about this in Glee and Social Issues Part 3: Blaine, Brittany and Unique.

Other than that, we don’t see much done with Unique.

And, in my opinion, that’s a real shame.

A message that Glee tries to push is that no matter the gender, sexuality, color or creed that we want the same things. We want to have a good future. We want to have someone who will love us. We want to be happy.

They’ve shown this by developing romantic relationships with straight and gay characters. The intimacy is what draws us in as we watch characters fall in love with each other. It’s a very good way to get us invested in characters and relationships quickly.

However, Unique has been left out in the cold in the romance department.

Now I do understand several mitigating factors to WHY glee is not so eager to jump in relationship building with Unique. I don’t like them but I understand.

1) It’s aired on FOX.  Fox does to air on the side of conservatism when presenting its shows. I think anytime Klaine kissed in the 8 p.m. slot we got a warning before it aired.

2) Transgender rights and acceptance are less accepted than gay rights. It’s changing as people slowly start to learn more about transgender community but still to have it displayed openly on television is risky.

3) Glee has a lot of plots this season and they have a hit or miss reputation with social issues in plots.

4) The show is set in Ohio. The Midwest has their issues with trans people and it won’t be true to life if she immediately gets a boyfriend.

There. Three reasons that I have come up with on my own. I don’t really agree with any of them.

1) The show is airing at 9 p.m. If we can have Brody grab Rachel’s crotch, then I think people can watch a plotline with a transgender character wanting to date.

2) True. However, this is glee. They showed an attempted suicide last season. This show talks about stuff that makes people “uncomfortable” because it needs to be talked about. Transgender rights and acceptance aren’t talked about that much in the media. So why not glee?

3) The producers of glee made a choice to bring a transgender character onto the show. They didn’t HAVE to extend Alex Newell’s contract. He did his two episodes he won in The Glee Project. They wanted to bring Unique onto the show. If you wanted Unique on the show, then do something with her character. The writers brought up some wonderful points in “The Role You Were Born to Play”(season four episode five)  and “Glease” (season four episode six) about how Unique feels trapped and wrong in a boy’s body. How she isn’t Wade.

4) Legitimate point. I would like to raise my own. How many openly out kids are at McKinley? Because in “Goodbye” (season three episode twenty-two) there seems to be a fair few. Is that true to life?

Now why would a relationship with Unique be a great thing?

Besides the fact that it shows that transgender people want the same things anyone else does? They want love and companionship. They want someone to see them and accept them and who they are no matter what.

Unique in her heart of hearts is a teenage girl who wants to be with a cute boy.

And whoever she falls in love with is going to self identify as being a straight, heterosexual male because Unique self identifies as a straight, heterosexual female.

So whoever she is with is going to have go through several things.

1) He is going to have reconcile that Wade is the facade that Unique puts on.

2) He is going to have to realize that Unique IS a girl despite her biology.

3) He is going to have to reach the conclusion on whether or not being with a transgender person says something about his own sexuality and if he is okay with that.

4) He is going to have accept that it will be a process.

5) He is going to have make the realization that as hard as this may be for him, it’s a million times harder for Unique.

There are probably more but these are what I can think of right now.

Now wouldn’t that make for a more compelling story versus whatever relationship bullshit is going on with the rest of New Directions.

And this was season ONE.

Glee is about looking past the surface and looking at the person underneath what they put out to the world day after day. Now I could complicate this by talking about all the different interpersonal communication theories and how they apply here. But I won’t bore you here because a lot of it is very dry and I’ll start quoting Shrek and you won’t take this seriously.

It’s simple here at the heart of it if we ignore politics of it all.

Unique is a girl. Unique deserves to have a relationship. Not only that but it would provide a good example for all of the kids out there who felt like they were born in the wrong body. You can find someone who will love you for who you are inside. It’s a positive message and one that I think glee does embrace at its core. Unique will just be a great character to explore what that message truly means though.

NEXT ON THE GLEE REWATCH PROJECT: Well I keep wanting to do a Regionals retrospective but glee keeps on cockblocking us. Character retrospectives won’t start until I’m on spring break because I need a lot of free time to do Rachel.  I may do a Bad Glee Theatre but don’t quote me on that. It’ll be a surprise.

Follow Me: @GleeRewatch for the latest updates. If you want there is always my personal account if you want to hear my daily dose of random babbling! Also I am a contributor for PopWrapped and write glee-caps for the site! Check out my glee-cap HERE!

Notes: SO what do you guys think?

Credits: Glee Wiki (glee.wikia.com)
Glee on Hulu Season 4
Google Images

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