Transgender media representation has negative effect: report
A report detailing the health needs of trans people reported that one of the bigger negative factors affecting them is transgender media representation.
According to the report Transforming Outcomes produced by Manchester’s LGBT Foundation, it noted that 51 percent of the respondents said the negative media representation damaged their wellbeing.
However, this isn’t a surprise, with similar survey results by Trans Media Watch noting the negative effects of media representation way back in 2010.
Transgender media representation as health issue
The report’s objective was to look into the health needs of transgenders as well as their experiences when accessing health services.
A respondent interviewed in the Trans Mental Health Study said that, “tabloid stories about trans people are often exploitative, invasive of privacy, inaccurate, irrelevant or intended to drum up transphobia in their readers.”
In the same report, 67 percent of trans people reported being a victim of a hate crime. Likewise, 80 percent experience anxiety before accessing hospitals because of insensitivity, misgendering, and discrimination.
“Transforming Outcomes is a call to arms for all our work moving forward– the realisation of our vision of a fair and equal society where all trans people can reach their full potential,” said Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation.
“To achieve this we need to widen the road to include all trans people and this report is an important step towards that vision,” Martin said.
Similar transgender media representation results
The group Trans Media Watch had earlier come out with their survey in 2010 on how the media covers trans and intersex issues, and the relationship with media hasn’t changed much.
According to the survey, 67 percent of respondents noted that negative reports in the media made them angry. More than half said they felt unhappy, 35 percent said they felt excluded, and 20 percent felt frightened.
Meanwhile, 70 percent noted media portrayals were either “negative or very negative.” Likewise, 78 percent said the portrayals were either “inaccurate or highly inaccurate.”
At least 21 percent had received one instance of verbal abuse they thought associated with the representations of trans or intersex people in the media, while 20 percent received negative reactions at work due to media.
Transgender media representation in movies
Trans filmmaker Sam Feder, who’s been compiling a comprehensive historical guide on trans cinema, will be the first to tell you that this isn’t news– at least with regard to Hollywood blockbuster films.
“Nothing has really done it right. Some things have been less offensive than others,” Feder told Refinery29, noting that independent films are not so bad.
Feder noted the different categories or buckets that media represents transgender people: the “deceiver” or the person who hides a true identity, the killer, the martyr who dies at the end, and the joke.
Citing the 1953 film Glen Or Glenda, Feder said: “[Glen] is just kind of sad”. But the character is not a joke. The character is not a deceiver, is not killing anyone or being killed. So, that’s better than what else is out there at that time.”
Feder added: “The fact that being trans is the joke, it’s the punch line… as a trans person, that just sucks. That your identity makes people laugh.”