In recognition of Transgender Awareness Week and the Transgender Day of Rememberance, GLAAD and TheWrap spoke with 11 trans actors, producers, writers and advocates to gather perceptions of trans representation in TV and film entertainment. Respondents include Chaz Bono; GLAAD Board Co-Chair, author and professor Jennifer Finney Boylan; comedian, writer and actor Ian Harvie; Andrea James, writer, director, producer and transgender advocate; reality TV star and model Carmen Carrera; PFLAG's Director of Policy Diego Sanchez; fashion model and designer Isis King; TransGriot blogger Monica Roberts; transgender advocate Kye Allums; Houston Beauty's Mia Ryan and actress Jamie Clayton.
These compiled testimonies will also inform GLAAD's work with television networks, film studios and other storytellers who may need guidance around telling transgender stories. Check out an example of Chaz's answer below and view the full list and slideshow at TheWrap.
1. What transgender story or character has been particularly meaningful or impactful to you?
Boys Don't Cry was important to me. It was about a year after I saw that film that I started to question my own gender identity. It's a difficult movie to watch, but it was the first image of a transgender man I'd ever seen in the mainstream media. Even though the character wasn't perfect and there was a tragic ending, I could still identify with Brandon. Seeing that film helped me figure out that I was transgender.
2. What is a common stereotype or cliché in stories about transgender people that you never want to see again?
I'm so tired of seeing TV shows and films where transgender people are either victimized or killers. And too often those characters that are supposed to be transgender don't look or act anything like actual transgender people. People in the entertainment industry who are writing, casting, directing, and acting transgender roles have a responsibility to do their research and make it more realistic.