As soon as I saw the sketch, I found it offensive and knew that there would be an outcry from the trans community. I decided not to post the video here, but there is a link below for those who want to check it out.
GLAAD released to following statement this week:
In the January 29 episode of Saturday Night Live, NBC broadcast a dangerous and blatantly anti-transgender segment which they called 'Estro-Maxxx' - the punch line of which was the lives of countless transgender people across the country.
The piece was a mock commercial for estrogen replacement therapy and featured men with facial hair wearing dresses, meant to represent transgender women. This segment cannot be defended as "just a joke" because there was no "joke" to speak of. The attempted comedy of the skit hinges solely on degrading the lives and experiences of transgender women. Holding people up for ridicule simply on the basis of their identity fuels a hurtful climate and puts people in danger, especially given how infrequently the media shines a fair and accurate light on the lives of transgender people. "The violence, discrimination and harassment that transgender Americans experience each and every day is no laughing matter," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "Saturday Night Live is a touchstone of American comedy, but Saturday's unfunny skit sends a destructive and dehumanizing message."
We have already been joined in speaking out by the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and the Human Rights Campaign as well as many other advocates and groups; now it's your turn. Take action and tell NBC it is unacceptable to dehumanize transgender people by turning their lives into a punch line.Click here to see the offending sketch and to sign GLAAD's petition to NBC.
Some activists are none too happy with GLAAD either. Transexual activist Ashley Love takes issue with GLAAD for not being more inclusive and understanding of the transexual/intersex community. In a posting Monday night on her FaceBook page, Love said, "GLAAD's "handbook" tells straight people that transsexual women are in the same box as cross dressers, so how can they be surprised when mainstream society portrays us as such? Will GLAAD ever stop misrepresenting and misgendering us and REFORM THE MEDIA GUIDE?"
On a personal note, I'd like to say that although I have tried to be as supportive as I know how to be to the trans community and have reported on transexual/transgender issues, I have often found it difficult and frustrating. I don't claim to be an expert on the subject. I am open to input and try to be as understanding as I know how to be. I understand that there is no single way to define individuals who are unhappy with the sex they were born into and want to do something about it. I have tried to reach out to the trans people I know in an effort to better understand, so that when I write about their issues, I can do it in a more sensitive and compassionate manner.
The reaction I often get is somewhat frustrating to me. On the one hand, I understand what a personal and private issue this is. Some folks just don't want their personal lives put on display and used to make a political statement . I get that. Like anybody else, most trans people just want to get on with their lives. Some no longer identify as trans, once their transition is complete. Others hold onto their trans identity in order to make a statement about the need for greater acceptance and others fall somewhere in the middle.
On the other hand, while I totally understand that my (or anyone's) questions may seem intrusive and unintentionally offensive, the negative reaction I often get makes it harder for me to give a damn, but I do anyway. I hope my friends understand that I'm only trying to reach out and establish a dialog so that we can all understand each other better.