Transgender Activists Call For Better Representation In Media

A powerful video has highlighted the ongoing problems with how the media represents the transgender community.

Five trans activists discussed the issue with The Huffington Post with one person posing the pertinent question: "Why do you only hear about trans people when we’re in a casket or on TV?"

The group hit out at only being portrayed as "entertainers" and "victims" and only appearing on TV when they are the victims of violence or abuse.

Transgender activists have spoken out against media representation

"Suddenly, we’re pop culture fixtures and even though we had our own “tipping point”, we only seem to get media attention when we’re the targets of hate crimes," trans activist Riley Rubin Pogensky said, referring to a cover of TIME Magazine.

The cover, released in 2014, featured transgender actress Laverne Cox and read: "The Transgender Tipping Point, America's next civil rights frontier".

Discussing the point that they don't have a problem with being represented, but with how it's done, Aaryn Lang continued:

"Us gender nonconforming and trans folks are happy for the media attention, but we’re so much more than just entertainers and victims.

"Trans representation falls short of presenting trans people as people".

Laverne Cox on the cover of TIME Magazine

The group then leave a poignant message for viewers and broadcasters, offering a solution to the problem.

"Here’s our message to the media about what it can do better, starting with: represent all kinds of trans people.

"When the media features only the most conventional representations of trans people, it sends the message that if we’re any different, our lives don’t matter as much.

"Our storylines almost always revolve around the same narrative, that doesn’t fit everyone’s unique experience.

"We’re actually not all trapped in the wrong bodies and we actually don’t all transition," the group said.

Kimmie Kadan then added: "Show us as multi-dimensional with diverse professions, not just as victims and punchlines."

The message sent by the transgender activists comes at a time when numerous trans people are murdered just for being themselves.

In 2016, there has already been three confirmed murders of trans people.

While in 2015, as many as twenty were killed.

The video ends in reflection of the killings, as the group send a clear message to fixing the coverage.

"We’re glad that the media is finally reporting on violence against trans people. But the media often overlooks the nuances of our gender expression.

"And we shouldn’t have to be murdered or take our own lives, to be worthy of media coverage.

"When you report on murder, touch on how gender nonconforming people are also victims of violence.

"And finally, trans people are some of the most creative people on the planet.

"Embrace us in your writers’ rooms and news outlets.

"We’re more than qualified to tell our own stories.

"We may even teach you a thing or two."