And rightfully so. With an average income under $12,000 and the highest percentage of unemployment of any social group, Transgender persons should not be portrayed as just trying to pretend to be a different gender in order to obtain employment. This portrayal will have rela life consequences for those of us crossing gender boundaries. In most places it is perfectly legal to discriminate against us. And even where it is illegal to discriminate against us at $12,000 a year affording a lawyer to protect our rights is purely fantasy.
'Transphobia is still all too prevalent in our society and this show will only contribute to it,' says acting GLAAD 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.'
'The Work It promos blatantly exploit common issues that transgender people face daily, in the workplace and beyond,' says Drian Juarez, program manager of the center's Transgender Economic Empowerment Program. 'While the characters on the show are not actually transgender, they are put in similar situations as those who are, dealing with workplace discrimination and offensive comments.'
Juarez points to a scene where the two lead characters, dressed as women, are standing at a urinal.
'Sadly, it’s very common for people to promote fear of sharing the bathroom with transgender people as a means to further their prejudice,' Juarez said. 'We’re frequently portrayed as sexual predators using the bathroom to make sexual advances.'
Mocking us and the challenges we go through is not the way to introduce our existence to middle America.
GLAAD has seen the pilot and while the show’s pilot does not explicitly address transgender people, many home viewers unfamiliar with the realities of being transgender will still make the connection. Work It invites the audience to laugh at images of men trying to adopt a feminine appearance, thereby also making it easier to mock people whose gender identity and expression are different than the one they were assigned at birth. Said GLAAD’s Acting President Mike Thompson, “Transphobia is still all too prevalent in our society and this show will only contribute to it. 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.”
HRC is asking to meet with ABC executives to discuss its midseason comedy “Work It,” featuring two men who dress as women to secure employment. According to ABC, the show centers on two unemployed men who have “learned the hard way that the current recession is more of a "man-cession" and their skills aren't in high demand. Then the almost-broke Lee finds out that Coreco Pharmaceuticals is looking to hire sales reps -- female sales reps. He takes a chance and goes into the interview dressed in heels, a skirt and make-up. The transformed Lee gets hired -- as a woman.”
Still no comment from ABC.