Media Portrayal of Transgender Characters

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The depiction of transgender women characters in mainstream television has been offensive, insulting and derogatory. An article from GLADD called “Victims or Villains: Examining Ten Years of Transgender Images on Television”, examines 102 episodes and storylines on mainstream television that contained transgender characters since 2002. Of these, more than half were characterized as containing negative representations of transgender. In 2007 only 1% of television series had a recurring transgender character, which has slowly increased to 4% in 2013. Negative portrayal of transgender tv characters Many television shows have transgender characters portrayed offensively, which clearly demonstrates a widespread problem. Transgender characters are being portrayed as “victims”, cast as killers, and working as sex workers. The first thing that writers in the media think of when using a transgender character is prostitution. This is the immediate preconception because in reality sometimes the only job a trans person can get is in sex work. As we saw in Screaming Queens, the transgender community was forced into prostitution among many other degrading consequences of being trans. This idea has stuck and is more likely to be portrayed in media when it comes to assigning roles for transgender characters. There are many shows that contain anti-transgender lingo and negative categorizations. A few examples of some of the cruel portrayals include: Rebecca Romijn played the first recurring trans character on Ugly Betty in 2007 on ABC. She was a scheming, lying and conniving woman. She went from “behind-the-scenes villain to a more complicated role as a ruthless magazine publisher” (Kane, 2013). Although this role was a first primetime ... ... middle of paper ... ...pectful) way“ (Valenti, 176). I hope that the portrayal of transgender people and characters on television can evolve even more so, and depict the transgender community in an inspiring and positive light. Works Cited Kane, Matt. “Transgender characters that changed film and television”. Entertainment Media at GLAAD. 12 November 2013. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. Kane, Matt. “Victims or Villans: Examining Ten Years of Transgender Images on Television.” GLAAD. N.p., 21 Nov. 2012. Web. 08 Mar. 2014. Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria. Dir. Susan Stryker. 2005. Documentary. Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Emeryville, CA: Seal, 2007. Print. Valenti, Jessica. He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know. Berkeley, CA: Seal, 2008. Print.

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