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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 29, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 05
Trans representation continues on popular television network MTV
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Trans representation continues on popular television network MTV

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

MTV's 'True Life' is not known for shying away from LGBTQ topics. Some groundbreaking episodes include 'I'm Genderqueer' and other episodes which challenge the social norm include 'I'm a Gay for Pay Pornstar.'

The newest episode, however, 'I Have a Trans Parent,' is inspiring as it hopes to educate the public about the children of Transgender people by looking at the subject with much needed social commentary around Trans issues.

The MTV 'True Life' episode focuses on Kiara and Jeremy. Kiara is a young woman in the South who struggles to use gender appropriate pronouns with Kelden who wishes to be referred to as 'Pops.' Jeremy's parent, Jessica, has been disowned by Jeremy's siblings and her mother. Although Jeremy is soon leaving for the military, he and Jessica are determined to reunite their family.

This episode of 'True Life' was developed by 'Look Different,' MTV's campaign 'to help drive a meaningful conversation on race, gender and LGBT bias and inspire audiences to take a stand.'

While shows like 'I Am Caitlyn' and 'Transparent' have helped to open doors for programming geared toward the Trans community, there is still an essential need for Trans representation advocates feel.

Last year, in particular, saw a rise in Transgender programming as a greater breadth of Transgender women's stories was given visibility.

'Not only did viewers get to watch authentic depictions of life as a Trans woman via reality shows such as 'I Am Caitlyn,' 'I Am Jazz,' and 'Becoming Us,' but some of the best narrative storytelling on television revolved around stories of fictional Trans women on 'Transparent' and 'Orange Is the New Black,' said Rebecca Raber at TakePart.com. 'These different types of shows showcased many diverse facets of Transgender life - dealing with puberty as a gender nonconforming person, coming out as Trans to your family late in life, dealing with bigotry, navigating dating.'

'The shows illustrated that there is no one monolithic Trans experience,' she continued. 'In a world where Trans women (especially Trans women of color) are more likely to be victims of violence, these depictions hopefully helped create some much-needed familiarity with, empathy for, and understanding of a rarely seen and underserved community for those who were previously ignorant.'

According to a recent Pew poll, nearly 90% of Americans say they personally know someone who is LGB. However, according to a recent Harris poll, only 16% of Americans say they personally know someone who is Transgender, which has doubled from the 8% who said so in 2008. The same poll showed that while 27% of Millennials say they personally know someone who is Transgender, only 9% of Americans over 45 say the same. Given this reality, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation's LGBT media advocacy organization says most Americans learn about Transgender people through the media.

GLAAD's staff, which has included Transgender people for over 15 years, is committed to working with the media to fairly and accurately tell the stories of Transgender lives. GLAAD works with national news outlets, TV networks, film studios and Spanish-language media to include real stories about Transgender people. GLAAD also works closely with Transgender people and Transgender advocacy groups to raise awareness about Transgender issues. In addition, GLAAD provides free media trainings to empower Transgender people to share their stories.

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Gay man sues pension plan for spousal benefits
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Texas grand jury clears Planned Parenthood, indicts accusers
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EEOC finds for Trans woman in bathroom suit
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The Elton John AIDS Foundation awards more than $5.4 million in new grants
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Trans representation continues on popular television network MTV
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GLAAD's 'Accelerating Acceptance' report provides snapshot of Americans' feelings about LGBT issues
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