Wednesday, November 14, 2007

GLAAD PSA spot for Transgender Day of Remembrance

In honor of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is this Tuesday, November 20, GLAAD has released a public service advertisement called "Be an Ally & a Friend." (If that link doesn't work, try this one.) It's not specifically aimed at anti-transgender prejudice, but homophobia generally, and that gives a message of T inclusion in the LGBT community that is sorely needed.


It features actress Alexandra Billings, TR Knight, Rex Lee, John Amaechi, Rachel Griffiths and Jamie Bamber. Alexandra Billings is a transwoman who has appeared on Gray's Anatomy, among other shows. Her site says ("About Me" section): "She has now made Television history by being the first Transgendered Female to play a Transgendered Female character on Television." That appears to be for her role in a 2003 TV series. I guess that puts her earlier that than Dr. Marci Bowers, who appeared in CSI in November 2004. But I am the last person one should ask for any information about pop culture, spending more time with my nose in a book than in front of the TV. I'd love to hear from those in the know on this point.

For example, I missed last week's episode of Dirty Sexy Money, which has, I believe, the first prime time show with a recurring transgender character played by a transgender actor (I think so, anyway) where apparently "Patrick’s Senatorial candidacy is in jeopardy when somebody tries to out his relationship with Carmelita. Exactly who is trying to play this card? And will Patrick call their bluff?" (from dirtysexyblog) I'm going to have to go to the website and watch this episode. As soon as I finish reading my 200 emails, 400 posts, coaching the moot court team, and grading 100 papers....let me know what happened with Patrick, okay?

And, speaking of transgender in the media, this morning I received an email from GLAAD (the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) announcing the 2008 Transgender Advocacy Fellowship. From the email, it seems that there are 11 Media Fellowships for 2008, which are designed for students or recent graduates to develop media activism experience and leadership skills in the movement for LGBT equality. "GLAAD Media Fellows work in areas as diverse as National News, Entertainment, Spanish-Language Media, Transgender Advocacy, Communities of African Descent Media and more." More at GLAAD.org, http://www.glaad.org/about/fellowship_opps.php

P.S. I just watched the episode of Dirty Sexy Money from 11/1. I had to download a special viewer, but it worked just fine and the first 5 minutes shows the situation with Carmelita - well done! And there was more...but let me not spoil her moment. She's gorgeous, well-spoken, noble...the writing and acting was wonderfully done, and her character is a gem. I'm sorry now I missed it. Go see it here.

P.P.S. Transgriot has an important post on the racial divide in transgender media portrayals.

P.P.P.S. Autumn Sandeen has a post with an interview by Good Morning America of Candis Cayne, who plays Carmelita. It's wonderful, but it does imply, I think incorrectly, that Candis is the first transgender actress to play a transgender woman on a television show.

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