Transgender visibility is on the rise nationwide, thanks in large part to Chaz Bono becoming the first openly transgender contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Yet, even with recent breakthroughs in transgender visibility, his presence on the hit show was met with both positive and negative reactions in the media. In particular, GLAAD learned of disparaging comments made on Boston’s KISS 108 radio morning show, which boasts an average of almost 670,000 listeners weekly. Taking KISS 108’s top-rated listenership and community influence into consideration, GLAAD reached out to the Clear Channel station in the wake of the comments made.
Jim Clerkin, the producer of ‘Matty in the Morning,’ and Mary Menna, President & Marketing Manager for Clear Channel, were the first to hear from GLAAD on the issue. Through a series of correspondence, GLAAD, in conjunction with Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Coalition (MassEquality, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders - GLAD, and more), was offered a series of free 15-second public service announcements by KISS 108, Boston’s #1 rated radio station. Through swift and effective outreach GLAAD successfully brought about tangible results in the form of public education about transgender people, the discrimination they face, and the need for protections. The PSA campaign, which will air at various times throughout the day on the station, comes at a pivotal time for Massachusetts transgender equality. We encourage those of you who live in Massachusetts to contact your legislators. Please go to transpeoplespeak.org and urge them to bring the bill to a vote swiftly. The PSA, which will premiere on Monday, underscores the importance of such a bill:
“The Transgender Equal Rights Bill is about affirming the right of all Massachusetts citizens, including transgender men and women, to live with dignity and respect, and be free from discrimination and violence. For more information, please visit TransPeopleSpeak.org.”
No one should be denied housing, employment, or education based on their gender identity. This bill will ensure Massachusetts transgender individuals protection against violence and discrimination at home and in the workplace. This PSA campaign is one more form of transgender visibility. Through this education we hope to continue to shed light on a community that has until now, been largely invisible in the media.
GLAAD Media Field Strategist Justin Ward contributed to this story