Transgender Awareness Week: Portrayal of the transgender community in the media

For many years trans visibility in films, TV and books has often been misrepresented. They are not accurate; they don’t represent reality and most often are not empowering.

A lot of films and TV shows often have very stereotypical characters with a focus on trans women rather than trans men. Trans people are often shown as victims, villains, fetishes, or simply placed to be the butt of a joke. There is a lack of depth, truth, or reality.

It also falls on cis men and women to play the roles of trans people suggesting a trans actor is not good enough. Think Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl or Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry.

The recent TV series Pose, which depicts the gender-nonconforming ballroom culture of the 1980s, has the largest transgender cast of any commercial show both in-front and behind the camera; however, it is often hard for trans actors to get cast or for transmedia to be given mainstream distribution.

Whilst we are seeing some progression, there is still a very polarising conversation played out in the media. JK Rowling’s transphobic essay has stoked two very different responses, one of support condemning her views but also giving a platform to those who harvest similar views.
Media plays such an important part in how society perceives, understands, and accepts people as well as how we accept ourselves. Whilst there is progression there is still much further to go.


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