Our very own Caroline Gibbs of The Transgender Institute is Executive Co-Producer and cast member of New Girls!
(Silver Spring, Md.)—NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK follows a group of highly inspirational and entertaining women from Kansas City, MO – all friends, some couples – who just happen to be transgender. After years struggling with their gender identities, they are finally finding themselves and learning what it means to be the women they always knew that they were. Confronting issues with their relationships, their femininity, their families and friendships, NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK is an authentic look at lives in transition. As the first series to embed with a real group of female friends within the transgender community, NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK offers a transformative look at these women’s lives as they navigate their daily struggles and successes. The five-part series will premiere on Discovery Life Channel on Saturday, April 11 at 10/9c.
Robyn and Andrew
Robyn, 27, and Andrew, 25, have gone from best friends to lovers. After eight years of friendship and two years of dating, the couple continues to grow in their relationship despite the lack of acceptance they receive from Andrew’s family who has difficulty accepting Robyn’s transition. Both working as IT consultants, Robyn and Andrew also face another challenge; this will be the first time Robyn will reveal her former life to her co-workers and friends in the Kansas City area. Having lived her life “in stealth” for as long as she has, Robyn is putting herself in danger for outing herself to the workforce, as over 30 states – including Missouri – have the right to fire someone simply because they’re transgender.* Even with these obstacles, Robyn and Andrew constantly support each other and find new ways to strengthen their bond.
Macy and Sharon
Macy, 50, and Sharon, 56, share a unique and inseparable bond. After five years of marriage, Macy decided to reveal to Sharon who she really is and decided to transition. Although Sharon can have a difficult time coping with Macy’s transition, she remains loyal and continues to support her spouse. Sharon has helped Macy blossom into the beautiful woman that she is today even though it requires tremendous courage on her part at times, including helping Macy to dress shop at the same location Sharon bought her wedding gown.
Ever since she was a teenager Macy knew that she was a woman, but tried her best to keep the masculine persona expected of her up and push her feelings of her true self down. Macy compares this feeling to trying to keep an inflated beach ball under water – at some point, it’s going to come rushing to the surface. Macy was unfortunately forced to leave her position that she held for over 20 years with a major employer in the Kansas City area when she decided to transition. Macy now finds herself part of a staggering statistic: while trans people experience unemployment at twice the rate of the national average, trans people of color suffer unemployment at around four times the national average.*
Jaimie and AiYana
Jaimie, 35, and AiYana, 27, are an on-again/off-again couple building their lives together. Suppressing her feelings of being a woman, Jaimie enlisted in the Army Reserves at 17, hoping that the military structure and discipline would help her become more masculine. After her honorable discharge, Jaimie was finally able to live as a woman full time, with the support of her mother to hold onto. Jaimie leads a very active lifestyle. Prior to her transition she was a very accomplished triathlete and now she continues to compete despite the backlash she has received from competitors for being transgender.
Raised in the Mormon faith, AiYana constantly fought the battle between recognizing her inner female self and facing negative reactions from the religious community. When she was just 16 years old, AiYana scrounged up the courage to leave the church to embrace who she really is, and it wasn’t until recently that she and her mother began speaking again. Before transitioning, AiYana had three children. She is still legally married to her wife and has a wonderful relationship with the two children she has with her. But AiYana faces a fight to remain a present parental figure in her youngest daughter’s life that she has with her ex-girlfriend, who uses the fact that AiYana is transgender as a courtroom weapon.
Kassidy and Chloe
Best friends Kassidy, 30, and Chloe, 27, are flourishing as the women they always knew they were. Chloe, a Kansas City native with an energetic personality, is thriving in her hometown after her transition. Prior to transitioning, Chloe suffered through depression but has now overcome a series of emotional challenges and she continues to remain positive as she learns more about herself each day. From exploring the dating scene to nights out with her friends and the support she receives from her mother and little brother, there is never a dull moment in Chloe’s life. Chloe hopes being a part of NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK will give the general population a better understanding of the transgender community, and help anyone else who may be struggling with their own gender identity realize they should remain hopeful for a brighter future.
As a child, Kassidy grew up picturing herself as female. She dreamed of a romantic fantasy where she would fall in love, get married and eventually start a family. However as a transgender woman, Kassidy has experienced many challenges in the dating world. From online dating to long-term relationships, Kassidy is still searching for the love of her life who will complete her fairytale ending. Kassidy successfully transitioned at work in August of 2012 and has had the support of her family and friends through her transition. Three years later, Kassidy is continuing to explore and learn more about herself, and is fully aware of the potential dangers of dating as a trans woman and does everything she can to protect herself. During the filming of the series, Kassidy was relocated to Houston for her job but she’s since moved back to Kansas City where she and Chloe are roommates once again.
Caroline Gibbs is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor. She is internationally known as an educator, trainer, advocate and provider for the transgender population. Caroline brings a deep respect for, and sensitivity to, the needs of all her patients ranging from young children to the elderly. She also attends to the needs of her patients’ families and partners. She possesses a familiarity with the diversity of gender expression, and the transgender liberation movement, and an in-depth knowledge of mental health issues and psychotherapeutic techniques.
For the cast of NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK, Caroline played a pivotal role in providing emotional support, guidance, encouragement, and her unique holistic approach, throughout their transition process at The Transgender Institute and beyond. Caroline’s accepting and understanding nature continues in the context of the docu-series to create a comfortable and trusting environment in which the six women can flourish. She serves as a motivating mentor for the tight-knit group of friends, as they face all of life’s experiences from hardships to joys.
NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK is produced by Conveyor Media in association with Reality Road. Jay James, Colin Whelan, Teri Rogers, Matt Antrim, and Eric Steit are executive producers. Caroline Gibbs, director of the Transgender Institute in Kansas City, serves as co-executive producer. For Discovery Life Channel, Julie Meisner Eagle is vice president of production, Jane Latman is general manager, and Henry Schleiff is Group President, Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family Channel, and Discovery Life Channel.
ABOUT DISCOVERY LIFE CHANNEL
On January 15, 2015, Discovery Fit & Health became Discovery Life Channel – a network that embraces all of life’s unplanned moments. Discovery Life brings viewers a kaleidoscope of human emotions and experiences through the true stories of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. From critical turning points to unexpected moments, Discovery Life tackles life’s surprising twists and turns. The network is under the purview of Henry Schleiff, Group President of Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family Channel, and Discovery Life Channel, with Jane Latman as General Manager. Discovery Life Channel is part of Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s #1 pay-TV provider reaching nearly 3 billion cumulative subscribers in 220 countries and territories.
To find Discovery Life Channel on your TV, please visit here: http://www.discoverylife.com/channel-finder/
*Statistics courtesy of http://www.thetaskforce.org
Debbie Sullivan, 240-672-1179, Debbie_Sullivan@discovery.com
Donna Nasserghodsi, 240-662-3124, Donna_Nasserghodsi@discovery.com