“Transcendent” transcends Stereotypes and shines spotlight on Sisterhood by Kevin M. Thomas



When there’s a party at San Francisco’s AsiaSF, you know you’re in for a treat. They are known to make bridal and corporate parties unforgettable.

But Tuesday night, AsiaSF threw a more personal party – the premiere of “Transcendent,” a TV show debuting on the Fuse network Sept. 30 at 11:30pm EST.

“Transcendent” is a docu-series about five transgender women – a hallmark held very dear in the hearts of the founding members of AsiaSF. But this show also happens to take place at the club itself and follows the ladies of AsiaSF in their many true life adventures. Reason enough to make the team of AsiaSF proud and even more reason to celebrate.

The stars, producers and creators were on hand Tuesday at the famed nightclub that is in its 18th year of celebrating diversity and paying tribute to the transgender community – all in a fun cabaret and bar setting.

AsiaSF has always been ahead of the curve. Instead of just being a bar with performers, when the club first opened, it dedicated half of its bar to serve as a stage to showcase the dance and performances of what once were called “gender illusionists.” But they also pushed the envelope further and offered a full Asian-infusion menu that quickly put them on the list of top San Francisco restaurants.

In talking to one of the founding members of AsiaSF, Skip Young was jubilant about the premiere of the show. He said it’s taken seven years to get the project off the ground and excited to see it in the venue where it all began.

His sentiments were echoed by his business partner Larry Hashbarger, who too was excited about seeing the show with his AsiaSF family. Hashbarger was instrumental in getting the show off the ground, but he trusted his editors and the filmmakers to put together a show that best reflected the ladies of AsiaSF.

All of the ladies were present at the screening, but I was able to catch up with Nya, who had been with the show from the beginning seven years ago and has worked at AsiaSF for over 12 years.

Kevin and Nya

Kevin M. Thomas and Nya

Nya hopes the show will continue to educate people on life in the transgender community and promises that even if it becomes a big hit, she will remain grounded.

As far as the show goes, it is truly a well-crafted series that takes reality to the next level. It focuses on positive imagery and offers insight to the trials and struggles that transgender women go through – from insurance coverage, to getting used to identifying as a woman as well as some the challenges they face in telling their families.

The series also shows that they face a lot of the same experiences that the rest of us deal with, which includes trying to find love in an app-oriented world that is often filled with fakers and flakes.

But the true heart of the show is its embracing sisterhood. They admit they are dysfunctional – but they also are a family. One that loves and needs each others and offers acceptance.

Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox have shed a brighter light on life as transgender women. While none of them were the first transgender women in the spotlight, the ladies of AsiaSF were definite trailblazers and their plight can be seen Wednesdays on Fuse network.

Get more information at www.fuse.tv/shows/transcendent and www.asiassf.com. Follow: @TranscendentTV @OfficialAsiaSF #BecomeWhoYouAre