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After decades of women complaining that men were paid better and obtained better jobs, the high-heeled shoe is finally on the other foot.
ABC, the network that brought LGBT personalities to the air in shows such as Modern Family, Brothers & Sisters, and the heavily promoted Chaz Bono on "Dancing with the Stars," most recently televised a new program "Work It," a comedy similar to the 1980s "Bosom Buddies" with Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari.
"Work It" is the story of two men who dress up as women, because women have stolen all of the jobs from men to enter the pharmaceutical industry, which is largely populated by brainless women who talk about clothes, diets and dating.
These women acknowledge that their success is specifically because the doctors that they pitch to want to sleep with them.
This is what Lee and Angel (the two lead characters) have been pushed aside for, and as the promo says, "they won't take unemployment sitting down."
When two women suddenly join the team with deep voices, linebacker physiques and flop mop wigs, the women are all too dumb or self-involved to notice.
Characters who oppose the traditional gender norms have the potential to influence an audience thinking about itself. So far, "Work It" has missed the mark, especially in the scenes of these characters putting on makeup and feminine clothing.
"Work It" makes similar implications about transgender women's identities and their ways of expressing them, while also reinforcing the erroneous notion that transgender women are not "real" women.
The HRC recently stated:
"The premise of this show is repulsive, and ABC should know better than to air it. By encouraging the audience to laugh at the characters' attempts at womanhood, the show condones similar treatment of transgender women. Unfortunately, such behavior needs no encouragement: 97 percent of self-identified transgender people reported being mistreated at work, and 26 percent -- that's one in four -- reported losing their jobs because they are transgender."
As a transgender person myself, I know all too well the effects of workforce discrimination and the lack of rights in protecting such actions.
While the characters in the show are not presented as transgender, but rather as "unrepentant guy's guys" in dresses who very much identify as men, audiences will nevertheless connect them with transgender women.
On the other hand, ABC's newest sitcom could be leveraged as a way to break the ice, using the levity to initiate conversation about transgender people and the challenges they face every day. Winning the war is more important than winning every battle and humor allows the uneducated to feel more comfortable discussing topics, which in turn, helps cultivate change.
Ironically, the major networks are not ready to air a program about a transgender personal fitness trainer who body builds, races sports cars, flies planes and generally leads an average American life.
In time, we will be to that point in our societal evolution, but until then, it will take steps, baby steps at times, to develop the acceptance that transgender is just another characteristic of a person and not a comical punching bag.
Note: Since Chris Tina wrote and submitted this column, ABC decided to cancel the sitcom "Work It" after receiving a tremendous amount of negative feedback from the community at large, for its insensitivity.
To learn more about the cancellation and GLAAD's response, click HERE
More about Chris Tina Bruce
Chris Tina Bruce is a male-to-female transgender bodybuilder, spokesperson and fitness talent.
She is the founder of Be Bold Be Proud, a grassroots non-profit transgender equality organization. She is also the founder of Discover Health and Fitness, a freelance writer and the proud parent of two amazing children.
She obtained her bachelor of science degree from Georgia State University, and is also a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer.
Chris Tina lives by some very simple rules and affirmations: All of life is a transition; where you are does not have to define who you will be and together we can cultivate change. Be Bold, Be Proud, Be Yourself.
For more information about Chris, her Fitness Fun Camps, private sessions, nutrition programs or next bodybuilding show, check out her website, check out the Hillcrest Fitness, follow her Facebook page, or on Twitter, or call (972) 989-6076.