‘Transparent': Our Lady J on How She Became the Show’s First Trans Writer (Exclusive Video)

The classical pianist and singer-songwriter opens up to TheWrap about her Amish upbringing

“Transparent” is unlike anything else on TV, so it’s fitting that Our Lady J came on as the series’ first trans writer in an unconventional way.

Previously known as a singer-songwriter and classical pianist who’s worked with Lady Gaga, Debbie Harry and Cyndi Lauper, she applied for the gig when creator and show runner Jill Soloway made a concerted effort to hire trans writers for the show’s second season.

“I submitted a short story,” Our Lady J told TheWrap. “After that she selected six people to join a workshop on how to write for television because she’s a badass punk and wanted to train six trans people to write for TV, because she realized there was really a lack of opportunity in the community. After the workshop she asked if I would join the staff of ‘Transparent,’ to which I peed my pants, jumped up and down, screamed and threw a party and said, ‘Yes!'”

The winning story was about her childhood as a “little trans girl in an Amish community who meets an Amish boy who sees her for who she is,” Our Lady J shared. “That’s based on something that happened to me when I was young.”

She explored similar terrain in the Season 3 episode “If I Were a Bell,” which flashes back to Maura’s childhood in Boyle Hights, where her burgeoning trans identity clashes with her strict upbringing.

Our Lady J said she’s revisiting her past once again for a pilot she’s working on about a “trans girl in an Amish village.” “It’s an unusual project,” she says. “And there’s a lot of comedy there too.”

Watch her talk more about it in the video above, as well discuss her love for musicals and losing out on a role in “Transparent” on Season 1.

“Transparent” Season 4 premieres this fall on Amazon.