LGBT groups are calling for the end of cross-dressing-themed show "Work It" on ABC, saying it is offensive to transgender people.
The Gay and Lesbian Association Against Defamation and the Human Rights Campaign claim the cross-dressing comedy, which is set to premiere Jan. 3, "reinforces false and damaging stereotypes about transgender people," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The organizations have scheduled a meeting with high-level executives at the network.
The series stars Ben Koldyke and Amaury Nolasco, who are two heterosexual unemployed car salesmen who dress as women in order to land jobs as pharmaceutical salespeople.
The Human Rights Campaign is using its web site to ask their supporters to send emails asking ABC not to air the show.
“We believe that the show will harm transgender Americans and because of that, GLAAD and the HRC are asking ABC not to air it,” GLAAD senior director of programs and communications Herndon Graddick told The Hollywood Reporter.
Several questions remain: Are LGBT Groups taking their movement too far? Do LGBT groups have more pull now than Christian and family groups?
Some say that the characters are not two transgender individuals, but two men dressing like women in a comedy akin to “Mrs. Doubtfire,” so it would not adversely affect the transgender population.
In a statement on its web site, GLAAD president Mike Thompson said “Work It” would contribute to the discrimination that already exists against the transgender community.
“Transphobia is still all too prevalent in our society and this show will only contribute to it,” the statement reads. “It will reinforce the mistaken belief that transgender women are simply ‘men pretending to be women,’ and that their efforts to live their lives authentically as women are a form of lying or deception.”
ABC has received accolades in the past from LGBT Groups for shows “Dirty Sexy Money,” “Ugly Betty,” “Modern Family,” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” which display homosexuals and transgendered people in leading roles. This fall, the family network cast Chaz Bono, the female-born transgender child of Sonny Bono and Cher on Dancing with the Stars.
Several Christians and Christian organizations had spoken out against Bono being cast on the show, but he was never removed. In fact, Bono lasted a lengthy six weeks on the show after several highly criticized performances.
OneMillionMoms.com, for example, wrote on its website that the casting of Bono "is completely unacceptable and Christians should not watch the show, no excuses!"
A Fox News column by psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow called “Don’t Let Your Kids Watch Chaz Bono on ‘Dancing With the Stars’” urged parents not to support the show on a network which is supposed to cater to its family-oriented base.
Also, the network was bombarded with angry emails and posts on their site asking them to remove Bono, but they did not.
ABC, GLAAD and the HRC are finalizing details to discuss the matter with network executives most likely after Jan. 1.