So Glee wins a GLAAD award for
fair, accurate and inclusive representation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives in the media.
Just this past week, Glee featured one of the main characters calling a student “shemale”:
The thoroughly despicable, cartoonish Coach Sue is seen cutting a nerdy male student’s ponytail and utters “there, you no longer confuse me with your shemale looks”.
“She-males” is a term for male-to-female transgender people that often is used in the porn industry, and, when used to refer to someone who has transitioned from one gender to another, it suggests a negation of their gender identity. Many transgender people consider it pejorative. It is not normally used in polite company. It’s also often used by those who oppose non-discrimination laws, like ENDA, in raising the ghastly specter of trans people using the bathroom.
Good to know I can expect trans issues to be respected without having to grab someone and start yelling. Oh, and did GLAAD ever do anything about Keith Olbermann’s transphobic Ann Coulter joke a few months ago? Have they ever said a word to Stephen Colbert? I know GLAAD acts on some things, as I’ve received quick response on several lower profile matters, but it seems like some things are just not worth mentioning, at least when aimed at trans people.
What I also want to know are why slurs like “tranny” and “shemale” allowed on the air at all? Does anyone outside the trans community even acknowledge them as slurs?
I’m not talking about trans people who reclaim and identify with those words. There’s a difference between a member of a minority using a word with a painful history and members of the majority reifying that painful history.
Also, I realize Coach Sue is a villain. The quote above says she’s a terrible person. I’m talking about how they present her villainy. It’s not necessary for her to whip out slurs often associated with violence against a minority to prove her awfulness. Hell, nonconsensually cutting anyone’s hair is pretty traumatic in my opinion and doesn’t need a slur to emphasize it. Also, it’s a matter of standards – other slurs are, I believe, frowned upon if not outright forbidden, but anti-trans slurs are still used routinely on prime time television.