FOX Assembles 200-Member Transgender Choir for 'Glee' Episode
In a recent episode that aired Friday, February 13, FOX's Glee featured a performance by a 200-person choir comprised entirely of people from the transgender community. FOX worked closely with the LGBT advocacy group GLAAD to assemble the choir.
"This really is the face of America and you hope that when people see this episode they'll recognize, 'Hey, they look just like me,'" said Glee executive producer Dante DiLoreto. "This isn't about tolerance, it's about coming home, and coming home to who you really are -- and who you're meant to be and who you're meant to be with."
In the episode, entitled "Transitioning," football coach Shannon Beiste (Dot Marie Jones) returns to McKinley High as Coach Sheldon Beiste, and he struggles to adjust to his new life as a man. He finds support from student Wade "Unique" Adams (Alex Newell), a transgender student who has been a recurring character on the show since the third season. Unique leads the transgender choir in a performance of "I Know Where I've Been" from the musical Hairspray.
"We know [this storyline] will make a difference," Jones told The Hollywood Reporter. "Look at all the things that all the kids on our show have gone through, everything that Chris Colfer and Kurt have gone through. Of any show on broadcast, it should be a Fox show because they are the risk takers. I don't think even taking a risk is the right word. It's just real."
Together, FOX and GLAAD recruited transgender singers from all over the country. According to GLAAD, many of them said they had never been in a room with so many other transgender people before.