Monday, March 15, 2010

Trans Does Not Equal White

One of the things that continues to fascinate the public is documentaries and interviews with trans people.

Last weekend CNN rolled out the Anderson Cooper Chaz Bono interview and the Susan Stanton documentary to boost those television ratings and clock those advertising dollars.

Can you guess what group was NOT represented in this smorgasbord of transgender programming?

Can you say trans people of color?

While people are fond of saying the trans community is a diverse bunch, you couldn't back that statement up by the monochromatic programming that was being offered last weekend,

White transpeople were once again predominant as the faces of the transgender community while prominent transwomen of color's phones continue to remain silent or they fail to receive e-mail from the producers of these shows.

Maybe it escaped you documentary or news feature producers that 13% of the United States population is African American, 15% of it is Latino/a and 4% of it is Asian. The 2010 census that's currently being conducted will confirm that our shares of the US population are increasing.

Contrary to all the vanilla flavored trans programming that dominated your television sets last weekend, there are African descended, Latino/a and Asian transpeeps successfully living their lives inside the United States.

If you bother to look or even talk to us, we too have compelling stories to tell beyond the stereotypical or the tragic trans victim.

But as has been the case for the last 50 plus years, when there's a documentary to be done on transpeople and you tune in, you can almost bet without even looking at anything but the preview for it that it will involve a white, middle to upper middle class transperson.

Attention media. Trans people come in all shapes, sizes, classes and ethnic groups. How about taking a moment to broaden the trans narrative to reflect that?

I doubt that the situation will improve before the May and July sweeps period either.

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