The Bold and the Beautiful: Maya/Myron is a Transgender Person

 

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

To commemorate The Bold and the Beautiful’s 28th anniversary last Wednesday, executive producer and headwriter Bradley P. Bell staged a daytime soap cliffhanger that is the shock of the soap century: revealing that Maya Avant (Karla Mosley) is really Myron, a transgender person.  She was born a man.

You go, Bradley!

Karla Mosley: Her Maya Avant revealed to be transgender

Maya is a model at Forrester Creations and the live-in love of Rick Forrester (Jacob Young). The couple currently hosts the Forrester Mansion.  It was in the living room at the end of last Wednesday’s episode that Maya’s sister Nicole (Reign Edwards) told Maya that she is not her sister but her brother.  Wowsa!  What a beginning to a storyline!  The episode  trended on Twitter immediately!  B&B had managed to keep this stunning reveal top secret. Miraculously, there had been absolutely no spoilers!

Maya/Myron is not daytime’s first transgender character, contrary to what The Daily Mail (England’s gossipy newspaper/website) reported this week.  That honor belongs to Azure C (Carlotta Chang) on The City.  And then there’s Zarf /Zoe on All My Children.  I loved Wendy Mercury (played by herself) the transgender bartender on One Life to Live.  The great and mighty headwriter Claire Labine (Ryan’s Hope, General Hospital) created Wendy in 1997 in collaboration with her sub-writer children Eleanor Mancusi and Matthew Labine.

In real life, Wendy was/is an opera singer who back then acted by day and performed by night at an infamous drag club and restaurant on the Lower East Side of Manhattan called Lucky Chang’s. She is just superb!

Maya/Myron is of course an homage to Myra Breckinridge, the 1968 novel by the late Gore Vidal that became a movie in 1970. Vidal was a noted author, playwright, satirist, raconteur and television personality with a taste for the flamboyantly shocking.  His sexually explicit, luridly campy tale of a man who becomes a woman amid the sleazy culture of behind-the-scenes Hollywood was considered high scandal in its day.

Myra/Myron was film’s first transgender person, played in the equally explicit and truly awful movie version (some say the worst film of all time) by Raquel Welch, then hottest thing on the screen. It also co-starred the iconic Mae West (“Come up and see me sometime”) as Letitia Van Allen, a sexually voracious Hollywood agent with a four-poster bed in her office. It was the first movie for a very young and hunky Tom Selleck, before  he made his breakthrough soap role on The Young and the Restless as Jed Andrews during that soap’s premiere year, 1973. In the movie, Selleck was billed simply as “Stud.”

Y&R was  the first soap to focus on young people. It was co-created by the late legendary  Bill  Bell and his wife Lee Phillip Bell.  They are the parents of Bill Jr, Bradley and Lauralee (Christine/Cricket Williams) and the co-creators of B&B as a spinoff  to Y&R in 1987.

Raquel Welch as Myra Breckinridge

Of course Vidal’s Myra/Myron was created to sell the novel and the movie.  She was a phenomenon of the late 60s just as the as mores of Hollywood were quickly changing. Old taboos were falling everywhere, and the book and movie were emblematic of a new era of sexual explicitness that would have seemed impossible just a few short years earlier. Myra/Myron, book and movie, brought in audiences by the zillions, just as Vidal planned.

And that’s exactly what Bradley P. Bell and CBS Daytime want Maya as a her/him to do for B&B, which already is the most popular soap opera worldwide. B&B doesn’t need to do this.  But they did it.  How high will the ratings spike for this week?  For B&B, CBS and Bradley Bell, the sky is the limit!

This is not to disparage the subject of transgender identity and the very real issues it poses for many people who want and deserve society’s respect. GLAAD, the leading advocate in the media for gays, lesbians and transgender people, has come forward in support of  this ostensibly ground-breaking storyline. Okay, but with all due respect to this worthy organization, this is not really such a groundbreaker for soaps. It will succeed or fail in proportion to how genuinely sensitive and realistic it is. Otherwise, it’s just another stunt.

 

Comments

  1. Dwight says:

    Given that Maya came to town to find her baby and we know the father was Ricky Paull Goldin I wonder how they will address this.

  2. antmunoz says:

    But…Maya had a child. We met the BabyDaddy. Is her past being retconned already?

  3. Marlene says:

    I applaud Bell’s courage to present this storyline, however in his effort to have the audience accept and find empathy for the character , I hope he does not sweep under the rug Maya’s( and Rick’s) abusive and bullying behavior towards other characters. She has been cruel and abusive. She certainly should be the first one to treat others with respect and acceptance. So I hope Bell allows her, and Rick, to own up to their behavior and accept the consequences whatever they may be. Just because she has this secret doesn’t mean the character gets a pass on her despicable behavior.

    As for Bell, I hope he writes this storyline with some depth, something I for one don’t think him capable. However, he has done a credible job with the Ridge and Caroline storyline and I eagerly await Linsey Godfrey’s return to see the continuation of it. It was just getting started.

  4. Eric Henwood-Greer says:

    Great piece! One small correction–Azure was on The City when it started, not Loving. The story however was pretty self contained and her character left (happily with an understanding boyfriend,) I think 3-4 months into the show’s run. And there was Zarf/Zoe on AMC which was a bit of a botch but had one classic old school Nixon-ish scene where Zoe, going through transgender therapy talked with a real-life transexual therapy group that was very well done, as well as a few scenes with the character’s mother–but once again, once the story was done, they sent her packing. This, as you stress, obviously will have greater ramifications to the canvas.

    As a huge Gore Vidal fan, I think it’s a bit unfair to say that Gore wrote Myra Breckinridge just for sales. The original novel is a brilliant satire but also is really progressive for its time in how it plays with gender stereotypes and society’s take on them. The movie was a mess–and one Vidal of course hated. Poor Welch felt like it would be the first time she’d be taken seriously. The director reportedly hated the very idea of the movie and called it disgusting–but did it for cash. And, unlike the book which was a bestseller, it was a flop. Interestingly, Gore Vidal’s book sequel, Myron (which partly mocks the hypocrisy of conservative politicans of the time, but also even more openly mocks how the film industry treats such issues–partly due to his experience with the film,) was not a hit. Only a fear years after the first novel was deemed pornographic by some (it’s not by any stretch of the word,) by the early 70s Myron seemed tame. Already–at least in the world of novels–things had changed.

    I agree with Marlene that my fear is that Bell isnot capable of writing this story with depth. But for now, I’m pleased, and willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  5. tess says:

    I think they should have introduced a new character that was trans and let us find that out about her a few months down the road. I think that Maya’s character has been pretty much dispensed with and regarding her baby, they’ll probably say that that was a lie she concocted to make herself look more real. And the father of her child could have been some ex con criminal she put up to lying for her. They should have had him reappear in town to blackmail instead of her own sister. He read that she was living with the CEO of Forrester Creations and he wanted mils or he was going to blab that she once lived her life as a dude named Myron.

    I don’t feel good about what they’ve done to this character. I wonder if they would have been so quick to compromise a white character that they had been developing for two years.

  6. Jenny jones says:

    What about her baby??!!

  7. KC says:

    In The UK the soap Hollyoaks had a storyline like this that was played by a trans-actress…I assume this actress was born female?

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