Trans Media Watch

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.




Discussion Questions Artful Concealment And Strategic Visibility

1. Racial profiling is wrong and is not acceptable when it comes to issues regarding security. How is this type of trans profiling or gender profiling any different from racial profiling?

2. Do you think surveillance of these bodies is justified due to the need for identification and security purposes? Is it acceptable to believe that because someone is different, they may be a suspicious person?

3. Why is concealing one’s gender identity to fit male or female, or going “stealth” so important in our society?

Gender Identity

Gender identity is defined as “A persons sense, and subjective experience, of their own gender.” (Wikipedia) Unlike your biological sex, which is the sex you were born as, gender identity does not have to mirror your sex. Striker mentions gender identity in the work “Transgender Story”. Striker states, “For most people there is congruence between the category one has been assigned to and trained in. Transgendered people demonstrate that this is not always the case.” (Striker 13) Striker’s work also says “sense of ones self not of the gender role they are assigned to.” (Striker 13) Gender identity is specific to each individual. Gender identity is not binary nor is it limited to only male and female. Gender identity is also separate from an individual’s sexuality.

Towle and Morgan bring up the term third gender in the “Romancing The Transgender Narrative”. In the reading, it is explained that third gender is a western concept that breaks away from the idea that there are two genders. Third gender is uniquely western and is used as more of a psychologized, medicalized, and moralistic term. The reading mentions that “western binary systems are not universal or innate.” Like gender identity, third gender acknowledges that transgendered people do not have to identify with the sex they were born as, or accept the gender role they were assigned to. Although third gender addresses that a dichotomous gender system does not work, it is a blanket term and very general. Third gender does not acknowledge the many variations of identity outside of male and female. This takes away the individuality of those who fall under the third gender category. Third gender excludes many identities, and not everyone who is neither innately male nor female will identify with the term third gender.

One issue I have with third gender is that when you use one blanket term to categorize a certain type of people, those who fall under that category will be judged, stereotyped, and generalized. When you categorize and label a certain type of people as being of the third gender, they are subject to discrimination whether or not they themselves identify with third gender. Any image established with third gender, good or bad, will be associated with everyone who falls under the third gender category. Aside from the generalizations associated with third gender, it is important to understand that gender identity is a concept that goes much deeper than simply male, female, and third gender. It is important to continue to educate people in the western world on gender identity opposed to third gender.

Its great that more and more information on transgender studies is becoming available. Old and dated information is constantly being reviewed and revised and adapted to fit present-day society and culture. I look forward to learning more about gender identity in class.Image

Jeremy Saflor Introduction

Good evening. My name is Jeremy Saflor. I am a senior in the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts program. I plan on pursing a career in audio and video production after I graduate. In my free time I like to play video games and read horror books.

I am taking this WGS course to better understand the trans community.