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OP-ED: How TV's CSI is Screwing Us Again

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The Advocate
|
December 2, 2012
Issues: 

Wednesday night's episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, entitled "Strip Maul," contained the latest in the show's long history of offensive and defamatory portrayals of transgender people.

The episode begins with the police walking up and down the Fremont Street area of Las Vegas, arresting several people all of whom are intended to be seen by the show's viewers as freaks and weirdos. In fact, one of the officers says, "That's why I'm here. You deal with the whack jobs [emphasis added] and I do the evidence collecting." Another officer says while looking at the people arrested, "Full moon tonight."

One of the people arrested and taken to the police station is obviously a transgender person. The show cast a masculine-appearing male actor, and put him in a sparkly dress and exaggerated make-up, intending to create the stereotypical "man in a dress" version of a transgender woman.

Once all of the "whack jobs" are at the police station, an officer looks at the transgender woman's driver's license. Viewers see a man's picture on the license while the officer says "Josh McClure, Florida license." The transgender woman immediately corrects the officer and says, "It's Joslyn." Joslyn then goes into hysterics about protecting her "unborn child." When an officer asks if she's been drinking, Joslyn violently attacks the police officer and is restrained in a chair. As she is restrained, the officers all refer to her as Joslyn, but one of the officers also calls her "Sir."

GLAAD's own Nick Adams wrote a piece for the Advocate about CSI's representation of trans people.