Photography by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.
"Transgender people have been with us forever," says Whoopi Goldberg. "Not just recently. Not just on television. But in real life."
Goldberg is one of the executive producers of the new Oxygen show Strut, which follows five models from the world's first exclusively transgender modeling agency, Slay Model Management.
"Oxygen was the one network that had the same idea as Whoopi," adds her production partner Tom Leonardis, "that this community needs to be protected and that this show needed to be done in the right light." That light strives to show trans people as just that: people.
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"It's not about superficiality," says Goldberg. "This is about how to deal with your mom or your dad, who may not get it. People say, 'Honey, God doesn't make mistakes.' No, God doesn't make mistakes, but Mother Nature will fuck with you. So if someone says, 'I don't think I'm in the right body,' you have to listen."
She adds, "No matter where you live, you know someone or you've met someone who is transgender. So relax. They're just trying to find their place in the world."
Strut premieres September 20 at 9 p.m. ET on Oxygen.
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