Generala, the new Portuguese fictional series by Opto created by Patrícia Müller and Vera Sacramento, is based on the life story of Tito Aníbal Paixão Gomes, a trans man he pretended to be a general in the for 18 years from the 60s to the 90s Portuguese Army.
In the series is Tito Octávio Paiva Monteiro, née Maria Luísa Paiva Monteiro, a man who had always struggled with his identity since his youth and one day decided to flee Funchal for Lisbon and fake his own death.
Octávio’s life, his personal struggle for freedom, for his self-determination and for the right to equal rights, which were originally reserved for men, are the events that are told in the series. The Generala is the portrait of one of many trans lives who were victims of patriarchal society and the Portuguese state in the 20th century. As it is an issue that is still considered taboo in Portuguese society, this series plays an important role in developing the approach to these very topical issues.
The LGBTI + community, especially transgender people, face daily problems. Transphobia and homophobia are an immense violence against members of the LGBTI + community who are victims of the prejudices they struggle against every day. Episodes of this type of violence appear several times in the series, not only against Octávio but also against those closest to him, everyone and all members of the LGBTI + community.
According to a survey by the ILGA LGBTI + Discrimination Against People Observatory, to which 166 people responded in Portugal in 2019, around 13% of cases of violence were directed against transsexuals and 3% against intersex people. Although Portugal is considered to be one of the safest countries in Europe for the LGBTI + community, the recurrence of violence against members of the community shows that this reality is not that linear.
Representativeness has never been more important in the world of theater and cinema. It is the first time in Portugal that a series has highlighted a trans person and received such a positive response from the audience. Although there has been more transrepresentativity in television and film in recent years, it is still very common for cis people to play roles of trans characters.
The existence of series like A Generala is important for members of the LGBTI + community, as stories like Tito’s must be told. In addition, the importance of representativeness begins when transgender people are in rooms that so far have often only been occupied by cis people and see a more open future for participating in projects that would initially pose several obstacles due to their identity.