This January, ABC is set to debut it’s newest comedy, Work It, a show that finds two men struggling to find jobs in the economy as men and dress up as women to find employment. However, the people at GLAAD have something to say about it and the HRC is backing them up.
For starters, ABC has come leaps and bounds forward from where they used to be in representing the LGBT community. This year, they cast Chaz Bono, an active transgender advocate on Dancing With The Stars and even had a transgendered character on Ugly Betty. But now, have they gone too far when transgendered and transidentified issues are becoming more prevalent in the workplace across North America? Here is what GLAAD is saying.
“During a period in which the transgender community now routinely finds itself in the cultural crosshairs, the timing couldn’t be worse for a show based on the notion that men dressed as women is inherently funny. Transphobia is still all too prevalent in our society and this show will only contribute to it,” wrote GLAAD acting president Mike Thompson. “It will reinforce the mistaken belief that transgender women are simply ‘men pretending to be women,’ and that their efforts to live their lives authentically as women are a form of lying or deception.”
– Matt Kane, GLAAD: Associate Director of Entertainment Media
Interestingly enough, Patrick, Brian and myself attended a discussion panel on Thursday addressing the issues of transidentity in the workplace and how more companies need to be aware of the situation and put policies in place to protect these individuals. While I have always been supportive of the trans community, it was eye opening to sit in on this discussion to learn just how difficult it can be for these folks. That being said, I can understand where GLAAD is coming from and why the trans community may be a bit offended.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) have formed a write-in protest campaign urging supporters to write into ABC with the following message: “Hundreds of thousands of transgender Americans face very real challenges in the workplace … We have a shared responsibility to ensure the messages about gender identity we send to the public, and particularly youth, are positive ones. It is never appropriate to belittle or mock those who do not adhere to society’s gender norms or the struggles they face.”
“I’m a Brit, it is in my contract that I have to do one cross-dressing show a year,” said Paul Lee, ABC’s director of entertainment. GLAAD was happy to counter that statement saying, “Mr. Lee can recognize that there has been 40 years of progressive social change since Monty Python’s television heyday.” What is your stance on Work It? I’d love to hear your opinions and thoughts below.