Tackling the transgender media divide

When is the last time you saw transgender person on your tv screen? Hopefully, with the rise in positive portrayal of transgender people, the answer is recently. If not, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Reality television shows like I Am Jazz  on TLC, I Am Cait on E!, and Becoming Us airing on ABC Family bring humanity and realism to trans struggles in the form of real people and families. There are new documentaries, like New Girls on the Block from Discovery Life and This is Me on Amazon, for the more factual side of things.

When it comes to fiction, Transparent (Amazon) and Orange is the New Black (Netflix) have you covered, chronicling vastly different transgender women and their journey. (Even if OITNB’s Sophia is just a background character.)

These new depictions can be eye opening for many people, and will lead to increased respect and awareness for what trans people go through. Awareness will bring equality, and lessen the danger that is automatic when being different.

Some (very rude) people might argue that recently we have become inundated with transgender media, and that it’s unnecessary, but trans people are real, they are your neighbors, friends, and family, so why wouldn’t they deserve screen time?

Unfortunately, just because there is representation doesn’t mean it’s being done correctly. In a perfect world, transgender actors would be playing trans characters, instead of cisgender (click for definition) men and women.

movie poster for The Danish Girl

Movies such as About Ray and The Danish Girl are hitting the big screen this year, and even though they aid in increasing trans visibility, it would be even better if transgender actors/actresses played those roles.

However, this isn’t a perfect world, and as the Rolling Stones sang, you can’t always get what you want. You can, however, get hours of trans characters to entertain you, so go forth, my fellow binge watchers, and educate yourselves.

Written by Amanda Leslie

Amanda is a senior and the opinions editor for the MCSun. (Obviously the best section.) Her hobbies are sleeping and listening to music. She likes to pretend that she could be an FBI agent when she grows up.

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