Trans representation 2

From GLAAD ( ) and ( ).

Over a ten year period, GLAAD found the following in relation to trans representation in television episodes and movies in which trans characters are showcased.

102 episodes with trans characters, 54% categorized as containing negative representations, an additional 35% ranged from problematic to good while only 12% were seen as groundbreaking, fair and accurate.

Offensive representations and storylines were found on every major broadcast network and seven different cable networks, demonstrating that the problem remains widespread.

Additionally GLAAD found:

  • Transgender characters were cast in a “victim” role at least 40% of the time.
  • Transgender characters were cast as killers or villains in at least 21% of the catalogued episodes and storylines.
  • The most common profession transgender characters were depicted as having was that of sex workers, which a fifth of all characters were depicted as (20%).
  • Anti-transgender slurs, language and dialogue was present in at least 61% of the catalogued episodes and storylines.

  • Some of the exploitive and negative representatives included:
  • CSI (CBS), which not only featured a transgender serial killer who murdered his own mother, but scenes in which transgender murder victims were openly mocked by the show’s lead characters while examining their bodies and crime scenes.
  • The Cleveland Show (Fox), in which a man vomits onscreen for a lengthy period of time after discovering he had slept with a transgender character.  The episode also contained anti-trans language and defamatory characterizations.
  • Nip/Tuck (FX), which featured a storyline about a transgender woman who regretted her transition, a transgender sex worker being beaten, and an entire season about a psychopathic trans woman depicted as a baby-stealing sexual predator who sleeps with her own son.

  • There were some shows that did better work in representing trans characters but here I want to keep the focus on the sadly larger number of harmful depictions of trans characters in television and movies.

    I sometimes still look back on my own life and wonder how I may have been more empowered to come out much earlier had there been positive role models of women of trans origin in movies and television. All I ever viewed in those mediums were trans women as serial killers, prostitutes and violent men in dresses, never the heroine or soccer mom, certainly not as a character who embraces and is embraced for being who she is.

    There is a lack of diverse trans characters on the big screen, especially trans characters played by actual trans people. Trans people face incredible challenges in their lives, from family members not accepting of them, mis-gendering ten and suing dead-names, to the extreme difficulty of landing a job because of who they are. In Hollywood, trans characters are often the joke, a punch line. If based on most on screen representations of trans women, we would think that it was perfectly fine to bully, laugh at, invalidate not take them seriously, or they are perceived as mentally ill.

    Trans actors I think, should get to play more and more trans roles. Trans actors and actresses deserve more recognition. It is incredibly difficult for trans actors to land roles, to even be considered for a role due to who they are.

    I want to se more representation, not only for trans characters being played by trans actors but as important, representation of trans people behind the camera, producers, directors cinematographers, key grips and so on.

Daniela Vega in ” A Fantastic Woman “.

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