“Twiz and Tuck” Takes on Queer Self-Discovery and Friendship

Two best friends venture into the unknown for an adventure of a lifetime.

Tuck and Twiz, episode twoPhoto by VICELAND

Two best friends impart on a journey of a lifetime—one of them (Tuck) is getting married and Twiz has decided to plan the bachelor road trip they’ll never forget. Going from place to place, viewers of this new Viceland miniseries get an inside look at intimate moments of Tuck revisiting places from his childhood.

GO spoke with Twiz and Tuck about the making of this show after Episode 2 premiered last night. You can view the first two episodes here.

The amazing aspect to this show is that it doesn’t make the duo’s trans and queer identities the primary focus. It shows two best friends exploring and navigating Tuck’s past and future, they just happen to be trans and queer.

It could be said that what sets this show apart from other miniseries that tokenize LGBTQ identities, is that trans and queer people were involved in the process of building this show. From James Hardesty the story producer who id’s as trans to Cris Cardenas the post supervisor, Viceland ensured that LGBTQ employees were involved in every step of telling this story.

Twiz and Tuck, episode onePhoto by VICELAND

GO Magazine: What was it like bringing your best friend to all these nostalgic places from his childhood?

Twiz: I didn’t know what to expect at first. I mean, I knew that hanging out with Tuck anywhere would be amazing. We’ve always found a way to have a good time in any situation…  but it was really fun to take him to all these nostalgic places from his past, not only was it educational, but it was also hilarious to see his past chapters that have shaped him. I also gained insight on his childhood and realize how different ours were. It really was an amazing adventure and I felt very privileged to share this with him.

GO: What was the experience of visiting all these nostalgic places like for you? 

Tuck: I saw people and places I had been avoiding for over a decade, because I was afraid they wouldn’t understand me, or my transition would make them uncomfortable. I left Iowa and a rural life behind because I felt that I didn’t have a place there if I wanted to live the life that would make me happy. Going back and being welcomed so warmly. Seeing queer people in rural areas succeeding and feeling happy and safe, had a huge impact on me. I feel like I shut out my past and my dreams of living away from a city, and now I don’t have to. It kind of blew my mind. I also love that I reconnected with all of my loved ones after years apart, and I get to have them back in my life now.

GO: Do you think you’ll do a trip like this for yourself before you settle down?

Twiz: I think I would love to do a trip like this before settling down, I have lived in many different places. However, I have actually revisited them a few times over the years though I still have a few questions I’d like answered. I would definitely love to go on a travel trip as a bachelor party though I’d like to test myself and go to places I’ve never been to before, or places I’ve often thought about going to in the past but just never managed to make happen… I’d like new experiences!

GO: Do you think this will be your last trip together with just Twiz or will they continue after you get married? 

Tuck: When I began the trip with Twiz, I assumed that we wouldn’t ever get to travel just the two of us after I got married. Now I know that no matter what, traveling with just him will be a huge priority in my life. I feel like traveling around and exploring the world is part of our friendship, and I never want to change that. Marriage, kids, work. None of those will change this for me. I want to trek around with my best friend forever.

Twiz and Tuck, episode onePhoto by VICELAND

GO: What was your favorite part of filming this series?

Twiz: I can’t really decide one thing… I mean I felt pure joy in every activity, in every experience, every random weird gay cowboy bar, every random and not so random person we crossed paths with. I love interacting with new people and getting to know their stories as well as sharing my own with them! Connecting with different places and experiences and people is surely my favorite part. If you’re asking technically… I also liked hanging out with the crew and don’t mind being on camera! I mean… I am a Leo.

GO: How do you think this show will provide hope for trans kids growing up in rural America?

Tuck: I really fucking hope that rural and non rural kids will realize that they can be themselves, and have love and happiness and safety in their futures. Wherever they want to live. I know that when I was younger, the more trans people I knew about, the more hope I had. Trans visibility in any positive way helps the LGBT community, so while going on a trip with my best friend was just about us, and our lives, it would be really amazing if this being televised helped our community in some way. I remember when I first started transitioning, most of the information out there were on private yahoo groups and hard to find blogs. Then there was youtube, and I’d spend hours watching other people’s stories looking for people like me, and finding out how their lives would change and what their opportunities were. Nowadays theres a lot more out there, tv shows, social networking, tons of websites and art and magazines. Things are different and better for trans people now, and I hope to be a part of that.

Twiz: Well first off, I think an important aspect about the show is that it doesn’t focus directly on the fact that we are transgender/transmasculine. And with that said, I think simple visibility will provide hope for kids all over America. I think it’s important that kids can see that people like me exist. I keep hearing that I am a revolutionary unicorn. I hope if trans/queer youth can see this show, they will see two lovely people. Best friends supportive of each other and full of so much love and happiness and I hope that they will find the same.