Trans Media Watch is a small volunteer run organization that is dedicated to improving media coverage of trans and intersex issues. Trans Media Watch helps people in the media to understand these issues and produce clear, accurate, respectful material. Trans Media Watch also helps trans and intersex people who are interacting with the media to get results they are comfortable with. Trans Media Watch hopes to end prejudice, bigotry, and hate towards trans and intersex people and wants the media to play a role that does not negatively represent trans people.
Trans Media Watch challenges problem coverage but their first goal is to prevent things from going wrong in the first place. They offer services to media organizations to help them do a good job and they provide resources and training. The website is a great resource for everyone to better understand trans people and the media.Overall I really like the message of positivity that Trans Media Watch displays. The website provides lots of links for additional resources outside of their area of expertise. Through the website you can also access their social media sites, and there is also a section for you to donate money to support their cause.
The reason I chose an organization like this is because it is so important for the media to accurately and positively represent trans and intersex people. I am a senior in the broadcasting and electronic communications department and we study how the media can send a message and influence viewers. One thing we learned about was the social learning theory and it states that we learn by observing others. We often see trans people negatively represented in the media. Stories about trans people in the news often involve sex, drugs, crime, and violence. Even media professionals like Katie Couric treat trans people with little respect. Katie Courics’s interview with Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera was extremely aggressive and disrespectful. Viewers of all ages and especially young people see these negative representations of trans people and see the way that trans people are treated in the media and will begin to think that its acceptable. Simple representations of trans people in the media can have a profound impact on the viewers and that is why it is so important for the media to accurately portray trans people. If the Trans Media Watch were a part of all types of programming and media, instead of only those who reach out to the Trans Media Watch, then the media would be more accurate and respectful, and we would be able to prevent many of these instances from even occurring.
Vik Lewis’s article “Forging Moral Geographies” brought up a great example of how the media effected the people of Tecate. The newspapers started publishing articles on how the transvesti were a threat to the youth, that they were immoral, and that were a risk to public health. The newspapers were able to publish these articles with no supporting evidence, yet the readers took it as truth and new regulations and laws were established because of it. Not only were newspapers used to influence the brainwash and persuade the public, they were used for political purposed and to influence the laws. I believe that if the Trans Media Watch were able reach out to Tecate during this time, they would have been able to clear up a lot of the misunderstandings and prevented the misrepresentations in the media.
You do a great job in bringing awareness to our class about imperative outreach programs in the Bay Area. This organization relates to our Dean Spade article because he touches on the issues that transgender and intersex people are faced with when alienated from social justice. He states, “For more and more queer and trans people, regardless of marital status, there is no inheritance, no health benefits from employers, no legal immigration status, and no state protection of our relationship to our children… Those of us who are not must wait our turn until the “priority” battles are won by the largely white, male, upper-class lawyers and lobbyists who know better than us” (Spade 654). The media influences individuals to make believe the magazines, tv shows, radio etc. are the “truth”, “real”, and the viewers accept it. This organization helps the attitudes and American culture to recreate mindsets into becoming educated and aware how the government, politicians, and institutions effect the population. From my understanding, economics has everything to do with oppression and social justice. Fortune 500 companies pay off lawmakers to create and decide how our society will be run. Transgender and intersex people are treated the same as people in poverty. Structural violence has been a fundamental progression to all the examples Spade wrote about. Individuals outside of the mistreatment have choices and privileges to acknowledge these problems or keep to themselves. Transgender and intersex people are affected by structural violence when there is less accessible resources available because advocating for transgender and intersex people would mean there will be change. Structural violence is also connected to power when the 1% drives the economy to whatever force they feel will benefit themselves. Economy is the direct line to social justice because if everyone had equal opportunities there would be no room for the capitalist America everyone is infatuated with. All over the media you see commercials, etc. send messages to be the best, number one, and achieve to have the best, luxurious, “said thing”. Overall, transgender and intersex people will continue to struggle for true equality and freedom when advocates start from ground up.
This sounds like a really great and helpful organization. It strives to not only educate people about transgender and intersex conditions, but also to end discrimination against trans or intersex people. I especially like that they focus on informing the media as opposed to trying to spread word themselves. Having word be spread via television, newspaper, magazine, or the Internet will vastly increase the number of people being taught. Though it’s true what you said about some media professionals not being completely in-touch or sensitive to trans or intersex peoples’ private matters, like Katie Couric was with Laverne Cox. I hope Trans Media Watch, in the future, can educate the people that are trying to educate.
I must say that I enjoyed your presentation today in class. Trans Media Watch is doing wonders for the LGBTQ community by offering such services to better support the LGBTQ community. Trans Media Watch is making waves by getting the message out to the public that the way the media portrays a person in the LGBTQ community or anyone who does not conform to social norms as negative. I must say that if organizations like Trans Media Watch didn’t exist people like me would still be highly influenced by the media from the lack of knowledge of the LGBTQ community. Many people have turned to the television or internet as a way to receive information about the world, but many do not know how to decipher the information from what are facts and what is fiction. The fact that Trans Media Watch looks to stop the prejudice before it even starts in the media is moving in a positive direction. Since todays culture has turned to social media as a way to rely on facts it is very important that the facts are correct and portray people who are trans or from the LGBTQ community correctly if not the negatives and stigmas will continue. This directly relates to how the media started writing stories against the trans people of that community and adding that they were a risk to the public in Lewis’ article “Forging Moral Geographies”.