In the aftermost few months, we’ve had a few opportunities to bless Sara Ramirez’s new role as Kat Sandoval, Policy Advisor to Tea Leoni’s Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord on CBS’ Madam Secretary. We’ve swooned over b butch swagger. We’ve swooned over it a lot. In a recent Madam Secretary episode, “Refuge,” the actualization gave Ramirez amplitude to absolutely flash as Kat guides us through a fictionalized, but nonetheless agonizing LGBTQIA animal rights abuse case. She additionally explores her personal, orted intersections, advancing out to the examination admirers as a , biual woman.
When we aboriginal see Kat Sandoval in “Refuge” she’s visibly distraught. She interrupts a board affair with the Secretary of State; her articulation is clashing with an bend that about amid anguish and rage. She keeps bribery her tie with her hands, as if she aloof doesn’t apperceive area to abode them. She’s aloof been told of a club arrest in Abkhazia, area the government arrested anybody on up ace of corruption and afraid arrest. There accept been bristles such raids in Abkhazia this ages alone, and tse are aloof the ones the State Department knows about. The newest intelligence suggests that these bodies are actuality angled up, beaten, tortured, sometimes to death. Kat’s been actomed chat that cover seekers at the US admiral are adage that they are adverse genocide. While Secretary McCord works adept channels with Abkhazia, Jay Whitman, the Secretary’s Chief of S, and Kat ignment calm with The Animal Crisis Foundation, a fictionalized adaptation of OutRight Action International, w provided appointment on the episode.
The President of Abkhazia ures Secretary McCord that innocent citizens accept not been afflicted in Abkhazia. Aback she reminds him that he active a accord autritative uality acknowledged in his country, he responds that there are no uals in Abkhazia. It’s chilling. Kat stands abaft Secretary McCord througut the video call. It’s a attestation to Sara Ramirez’s apude that, after affairs fo, she is absolutely invested in the scene. Alike in background, Kat’s acerbity seethed. You could feel every close beef in her body.
The arch of The Animal Crisis Foundation, played by out amateur B.D. Wong, presents the State Department with affidavit videos. A man with a face hidden in caliginosity describes actuality physically baffled by badge w yelled that he suld be dead for actuality . He talked about the affairs that were affiliated to his , actuality electrocuted until he actomed and gave up the names of his friends. Kat looks up at the ceiling, tears bordering out the edges of her eyes. The man giving the testimony, forth with 90 others, accept begin their way to an underground Abkhazian LGBT coalition, and now they allegation advice out of the country.
Kat’s had enough. She’s accomplishing the best she can to breach professional, but you can feel the ripples aloof beneath her skin. She wants to help, and she doesn’t accept time for agreement and continued appellation bread-and-er sanctions. She needs to acquisition a way to advice NOW.
The advancing case in Abkhazia is acutely affecting Kat personally, abrogation her added accessible and accommodating to accessible up than we’ve apparent appropriately far. While accepting a banquet of Chinese booty out and whiskey in the appointment with Jay, Kat talks about her three year old child, Desi, abbreviate for Desear (Desire, in Spanish, and a name I accept anon collapsed in adulation with!). Aback Kat mentions her ex, Desi’s father, Jay’s taken aback. Actomed her appearance, and her affection about the Abkhazia case, he had fabricated ertive umptions. Namely, he affected she was a and didn’t beddy-bye with men.
What follows was a arena clashing any “coming out” arena I can remember. Kat takes a beat. Then she tells Jay that the Abkhazia case is claimed for her, she’s biual. Any time a woman says the absolute chat biual on television, it’s already a mive big deal. In 2017, in all of English accent television programming (combining the United States, the UK, Australia, and Canada) there were aloof 99 biual women characters. Of tse 99, not all of them said the word. Biual abandoning charcoal rampant. Using that aforementioned measure, in 2017 there were abandoned 62 women of blush , biual, or contrarily articular women characters. Kat Sandoval is defying expectations. She’s already in rarified air. This moment with Kat burns alike brighter because she is a biual actualization actuality played by an out biual actress, Sara Ramirez, w has already portrayed the longest active anomalous actualization on arrangement television, biual Dr. Callie Torres on Grey’s Anatomy.
Kat’s abandoned accepting sed. She goes on to say that she’s additionally adequate with “panual, or fluid, or non-monoual” — but about you breach it down, “Yeah, I’m .” That’s the aback all the animation vacuumed out of my lungs.
I shivered. I accept never heard a television actualization — male, female, or non bifold — use “” in the way I use it in my circadian life. Talking about character is blowzy and tricky. I professionally address about and biual television, but I don’t character as or biual. Aback affected to cose, I can put myself in a box for other’s comfort, but if asked I consistently say “I’m ” first. I accept why the word’s affirmation is controversial, and would never use it to call addition adjoin their will. For me, actuality anomalous is purposeful. It aligns my gender presentation, my uality, my political worldview. It speaks to my broader communities of color, to our elders and ancestors, and gives me a me. In actomed life, I apperceive abounding women of blush w accidentally yze as “ women of color” (Sara Ramirez has articular herself as a “, biual, multiracial woman of color” in the past). About on television, writers ability for the added socially actomed terms. From her aboriginal appearance, I actomed Kat Sandoval as my sister in the tribe. To apprehend her affirmation us out loud, it was artlessly breathtaking.
Jay goes on to ask Kat about her appearance. Aback she formed at the United Nations a few years ago, she allegedly presented as coquette — which Jay adorably stumbles into as “You, ugh, looked different.” Yes, she did. She had the continued hair, the dresses, the accomplish up. Kat shares her truth, tse accouterment “sometimes acquainted like me. And sometimes it acquainted like a apparel I had to abrasion in adjustment to survive and accretion access.” She did what she had to do.
It’s somber. A gut punch. We apperceive that far too abounding people’s gender character are ded or pushed or policed everyday. Sara Ramirez allows for that moment. She lets the blackout to allege for what cannot be said. Now that she’s acquired access, Kat no best plays by anyone’s rules but her own. She chuckles abysmal from her belly, balmy and satisfied. Her smile — it ripped appropriate into my heart.
In columnist surrounding the episode, writers aggregate that Ramirez had a duke in abstraction the script, decidedly in commendations to Kat’s accent surrounding her idenies. Watching and re-watching this episode, I’ve anion a lot about that. I don’t apperceive any specifics of what Ramirez afflicted in the calligraphy or her affidavit for accomplishing so, but I don’t ane it’s a abstruse that Ramirez acclimated to present her gender abnormally in the past. As addition w has followed her career for over a decade, I accept never apparent Sara Ramirez added adequate in her anatomy than I accept in the aftermost two years. She looks like she’s at me in herself. Publicly abyssal the amnion of advancing out can’t be easy. Watching Kat bear the line, “I accomplish my own rules, and cardinal one is actuality my accurate self. Living my accuracy became non-negotiable,” I couldn’t advice but breach up.
What’s additionally arresting about the chat amid Kat and Jay, and suldn’t be overlooked, is w acutely awkward it all is. They’re actomed to accept mumbles, and stumbles, and casual alongside glances. It isn’t bland or practiced. Jay is consistently afraid that he is activity to say the amiss thing. Kat is a little protective. They both booty affliction with anniversary other. Tse tough, claimed conversations, they don’t consistently go the way we appee them to. But, if your affection is in the appropriate abode and you are gentle, they can be forged. Jay and Kat accommodate a absolutely abundant model.
The State Department develops a plan of calling in favors and award an LGBT affable country to booty in the cover seekers while the United States expedites their case review. The Secretary leaves for an accent conference, putting Kat and Jay in charge. The duo convinces Bulgaria to accommodate support, but the President of Abkhazia closes the country’s borders — accoutrement all of the cover seekers inside, aggressive to accelerate them off to a abandoned bastille and activity camp. With time active adjoin them, Jay and Kat accomplish a desperate accommodation after the Secretary’s approval. They covertly appoint a aculation of smugglers to secretly carriage the s to Bulgaria. It’s complicated and the new plan additionally goes awry, which leaves them in aation with the Secretary of State.
The cover seekers almost accomplish it to Bulgaria. They ultimately are safe, but Kat and Jay risked a agglomeration of aerial all-embracing relationships accepting them there. For that, they are both put on probation. It’s a apricot ending; on one duke I was animated Kat stood up for what was right, on the added I hated seeing her get punished for continuing with her all-around community.
There’s a longstanding, generally damaging, television adumbration of “very appropriate episodes.” One-off kisses that are never announced of again, aunts and uncles w appointment from out of boondocks afore actuality aerated aback off screen, auto women w actualization up abandoned to be baffled and admonish the admirers of cruelties of the world. CBS never accurately marketed “Refuge” as a one of these episodes, but there’s little agnosticism that it pulls from that beyond legacy. Sara Ramirez, forth with Madam Secretary controlling ambador Lori McCreary, and a adumbrative from OutRight Action International were beatific out on a columnist bout above-mentioned to the episode’s airing. They were actomed talking credibility about the absolute activity anti-LGBTQIA animal rights violations that serve as a accomplishments for this episode. Researching accomplished Madam Secretary adventure descriptions, none of the sw’s antecedent ignment seems to accept taken on anomalous issues so directly. It was bright that they were autritative a committed effort, but I accept to be nest that the business larboard me a bit uneasy. I couldn’t get the accretion of “very appropriate episode” to stop campanology in my head.
Certainly, affective advanced I appee to see Kat’s female weaved organically througut the sw. Now that the aperture has been opened to Kat’s claimed life, I achievement we get to accommodated her daughter, Desi, or a advenious to absorb time with her adventurous partners. At the aforementioned time, on a actualization like Madam Secretary, a arrangement ball with two biual approved characters (Kat and Blake Moran, Secretary McCord’s istant), but primarily foed on the abode environment, episodes like “Refuge” action an befalling to e added into anomalous concerns. CBS does not rank in the top eight networks with biual or approved or abiding characters. It’s a arrangement best accepted for it’s earlier askew admirers demographic and amusing conservatism. Would the boilerplate CBS eyewitness contrarily get to see a masculine-of-center biual woman of blush say “I’m ” on civic television? You can’t alike acquisition these moments on allegedly added accelerating or adolescent askew networks, let abandoned on some alive sws.
I am not ertive that this one adventure of Madam Secretary absolutely afflicted my apperception about the ills of the “very appropriate episode.” Still, it presents a able and acute argument. Added than anything, I appee to blanket myself in what the adventure got appropriate — it gave us amplitude to see Kat Sandoval, and Sara Ramirez, in all of her truths. What a afterimage to beld.
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