Representing trans sexualities

Authored by: Eliza Steinbock

The Routledge Companion to Media, Sex and Sexuality

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138777217
eBook ISBN: 9781315168302
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This chapter disentangles the web of terms that knots together the medical naming of transsexualism, the mediatised practices of trans sex and what might today be recognised as the multiplicities of trans sexualities. Carla A. Pfeffer has named trans sexualities ‘a lacuna’ in theorisations of sexuality and desire (2014: 598). For a growing number of (trans) scholars, trans sexualities, sex and their mediatised representations are vital academic and political concerns. Trans sex and sexuality reveals the myriad ways in which gender and sexuality are interdependent and mutually constitutive, moving forward studies of gender and sexuality in practice, in policy and even philosophically. Close analysis of erotic (self-)representations brings to light the possibility of experiencing both sexual fluidity and stability, resolving a long-standing impasse in feminist and queer approaches to sexuality (Steinbock, 2011). In this chapter I will focus on two domains that provide insight into the cultural shifts around how trans sexualities are mediatised: transfeminine activism in queer pornography and, by way of conclusion, some notes on news coverage of how to talk about trans sex.

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Representing trans sexualities

This chapter disentangles the web of terms that knots together the medical naming of transsexualism, the mediatised practices of trans sex and what might today be recognised as the multiplicities of trans sexualities. Carla A. Pfeffer has named trans sexualities ‘a lacuna’ in theorisations of sexuality and desire (2014: 598). For a growing number of (trans) scholars, trans sexualities, sex and their mediatised representations are vital academic and political concerns. Trans sex and sexuality reveals the myriad ways in which gender and sexuality are interdependent and mutually constitutive, moving forward studies of gender and sexuality in practice, in policy and even philosophically. Close analysis of erotic (self-)representations brings to light the possibility of experiencing both sexual fluidity and stability, resolving a long-standing impasse in feminist and queer approaches to sexuality (Steinbock, 2011). In this chapter I will focus on two domains that provide insight into the cultural shifts around how trans sexualities are mediatised: transfeminine activism in queer pornography and, by way of conclusion, some notes on news coverage of how to talk about trans sex.

Framing trans representation politics

In this chapter I understand representation as including re-presenting the self through language and bodily expression, as well as through media technologies such as film, television and digital forums, in genres ranging from news reporting to pornography. In each case, the representation of trans sexualities involves the double projection of a singular subject and collective subjectivities. Issues such as making available new collective vocabularies for self-definition – such as the much-publicised addition of gender qualifiers on Facebook and dating site OkCupid (North, 2014; Weber, 2014) – have a real impact on trans lives. Whereas users previously had to identify their gender as male or female and their orientation as straight, gay or bisexual, Facebook now has 50-plus different gender options (for US users), such as trans man, trans woman, cis/cisgender, bigender, genderfluid, gender nonconforming, intersex, agender, androgynous and two spirit.

Genealogies of trans identities have sparked heated debates about how to understand the entanglements of gender and sexual diversity (Reid-Smith, 2013). 1 The early medical nomenclature of transsexual stresses how sexology imagined the deviant ‘crossing’ of a sexual border. The diagnostic category of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) (2013) allows for convoluted and contested terms, such as ‘autogynephilia’, that reduce gender identity to attraction, a paraphilia for becoming sexually aroused by imagining or having a normative female body (Blanchard, 1989). 2 The current clinical nomenclatures of GID and gender dysphoria classify trans as a condition that is universal across cultures and experienced by a minute proportion of the population, identifiable according to a set of symptoms such as disgust at their own genitalia. The distress, social isolation and depression that many self-identified trans people report are attributed by psycho-sexual literature such as the DSM-5 to a response to genital incongruence. However, trans activists and scholars argue that this results from a society that expects one to hold a gender identity that conforms to one’s assigned sex at birth (cf. Nadal, Skolnik and Wong, 2012).

In cultures that organise gender and sexual norms in ways that afford bodily transformation, value a multiplicity of gender expressions and honour legal rights to self-determination, reported stress and suicide rates decrease dramatically (cf. Cabral and Viturro, 2006; Spade, 2011). Trans activism of the past decade has called for the de-pathologisation, de-criminalisation and legal recognition of trans identity/experience (cf. Balzer and Hutta, 2012). Integral to this is making accessible a range of practices for transforming one’s gendered embodiment, from name change to hormone replacement therapy to surgeries and clothing choices. Regrettably, many popular representations of trans sexualities continue to hark back to the ways in which psychomedical approaches both hypersexualise and de-eroticise trans individuals (Davy and Steinbock, 2012). A recent example is the film The Danish Girl (2015, dir: Tom Hooper), based on an historical novel about Lili Elbe, one of the first people to physically transition from male to female (in the 1930s), with the support of her wife. The film, however, presents trans womanhood as a forced feminisation fantasy, like those prevalent in pornography, in which a dominant woman dresses a submissive male who gains sexual enjoyment from his feminised status.

On (not) fitting in: LGB+T

A central question raised by the genealogies of trans -sexual, -gender and GID is how in fact trans relates to being a sexuality. The term ‘trans sexualities’ seems to presuppose a set of discrete sexual identities of trans people, or even a sexual orientation towards trans people. 3 Like queer sexualities, must trans sexualities be situated in relation to gay, lesbian and bisexual identity markers in order to become readable? Or could representations of trans sexuality emphasise instead the generation of one’s gendered bodily aesthetic through sexual desire and erotic encounters (Davy and Steinbock, 2012)? These questions are complicated by the ever-expanding acronym of LGBT (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender) to include Transsexual-Queer-Questioning-Intersex-Asexual and sometimes also 2Spirit-Allies (resulting in the alphabet soup LGBTTQQIA2SA). This history of international community formation and institution naming shows how trans*, transgender and transsexual have been tacked onto larger lesbian, gay and bisexual sexual identities, forming an uneasy alliance.

If trans refers foremost to a gender identity that cuts across these sexual identity monikers, then the ‘T’ does not belong, because it suggests erroneously that transgender is a sexual orientation with a coherent set of shared political interests (Murib, 2014). On the other hand, the binary homo–heterosexual only makes conceptual sense within a masculine–feminine gender binary, so LGB shares with T a politics of questioning gender normativity. As Susan Stryker explains, ‘[g]ender’s absence renders sexuality largely incoherent, yet gender refuses to be the stable foundation on which a system of sexuality can be theorized’ (2004: 212).

The umbrella identity term ‘transgender’ purports to gather into one aggregate all formations of sex/ual and gender-nonconforming identities and expression, sheltering them from discrimination (Singer, 2014: 259). Yet the popular uptake of transgender in political and educational arenas since the 1990s continues to erase local manifestations of gender variance, and to subsume important cultural and racial differences in the understanding of gender and sexuality concepts (Davidson, 2007). David Valentine’s 2007 study of New York City’s gender-variant subcultures interrogates the ways in which the category transgender emerges from within White middle- and upper-class versions of gender, eliding interlinkages with racialised sexual subcultures. Two key sites of study are stud (African American queer female-bodied masculinity) and travesti (South American queer male-bodied femininity) identity cultures (cf. Lewis, 2013; Kuper et al., 2014). The elimination of local erotic knowledge can also occur through colonialising impulses, particularly found in anthropological research on hijra and waria Southeast Asian identities. 4 Nominations such as third sex or third gender collapse cross-cultural figures into the same sort of transgender experience, overlaying Western sex/gender systems while simultaneously ‘romancing the transgender native’ (Towle and Morgan, 2006). The TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly special issue on ‘Decolonizing the transgender imaginary’ challenges ‘transgender studies to look closely at its geography and historical location as the product of a largely North American settler culture’ (2014: 308).

The domination of North American conceptualisations is repeated in cultural representations, which more often than not present trans people as sexual freaks with improbable anatomy, e.g. pregnant men and she males. In a recent zine, trans woman Mira Bellwether states (2013):

In most media we’re either cast as sexual predators who prey on unsuspecting men (hence ‘trap’, the disgusting slur that’s given to those of us who mostly pass as cis women or are taken to be cis women), or we’re looked down upon as objects of pity who do not and could not pass as women at all, who couldn’t conceivably even HAVE a sex life.

To combat these prejudices, safer sex handbooks and guidebooks like Trans Bodies, Trans Selves (2014) address the self-esteem issues that trans people can suffer from, which have the potential to result in abusive partners, sexual violence and high-risk sex that can lead to contraction of HIV. 5

Genital epistemologies and the visual reveal

With the horror of stigma also comes fascination, or desire for the other. Erotically infused spectacles like drag performance and beauty pageants, as well as sex workers or sexualised display in pornography, have long dominated mainstream trans representation. Most well-known fiction films in the trans cinema canon deal with the Western focus on genitals as the essential determinants of sex and sexual identity through a shock device known as ‘the reveal’. Danielle M. Seid describes the reveal as ‘a moment in a trans person’s life when the trans person is subjected to the pressures of a pervasive gender/sex system that seeks to make public the “truth” of the trans person’s gendered and sexed body’ (2014: 176). In media representations, such as those of trans woman Dil in The Crying Game (1992, dir: Neil Jordan) or Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry (1999, dir: Kimberley Pierce), this plays a structuring role in the audience’s knowledge of a transgender life. Whereas the trans child Ludo in Ma vie en Rose (1997, dir: Alain Berliner) manages to avoid this cinematic device of exposure, the film still works within the harmful stereotype of trans people as ‘evil deceivers and make-believers’ (Bettcher, 2007). Bettcher explains the double bind of a conflated gender presentation (appearance) and sexed body (reality) as locking in a trans person to invisiblity or visiblity as a pretender; either way, she states, ‘we are fundamentally viewed as illusory’ (2007: 50, 59). All trans (self-)representation faces the predicament of how to break out of this logic. Visual representations of trans people are always already coded as sexual due to the socio-cultural reduction of gender identity to the sexed status of genitals.

The case of the sexually ob-scene in queer porn

Gender regimes are central to the development of visual sexual cultures. There is a stark difference in the ways in which trans men and genderqueers, versus trans women, have become integrated into the ever-expanding genre of dyke and queer porn. Queer porn has included trans men and masculine genderqueers (for example Papi Coxxx or Jiz Lee in The Crash Pad Series, 2005–) but transfemininity has largely been excluded from dyke and queer porn projects. This differential treatment relates to trans women’s struggles for erotic visibility off-screen in queer sexual cultures. Though a few trans women have featured in queer porn production in the US and Canada in the past three years, significant barriers remain that are anchored in long-standing transphobic suspicions regarding trans women’s real sex and real desire. To disentangle one strand of gender and sexuality in the term ‘trans sexualities’, I offer an analysis of the relationship between the social conditions of lesbian/queer trans women and the production of queer sex culture, whether DIY, alt or for-profit.

Taking the demarcation of what is obscene as her starting point for understanding sexual cultures, Linda Williams (1999) detects a shift away from the simple repression of sex, keeping it locked up in secret museums or in the repositories of the powerful few. She suggests that sex and sexuality are instead being generated, mobilised and pushed out into the open in the cultural gesture of on/scenity (1999: 282), ‘the gesture by which a culture brings on to the public scene the very organs, acts, “bodies and pleasures” that have heretofore been designated ob-off-scene, that is, as needing to be kept out of view’ (ibid.). To become visible as a sexual subject, one needs to speak sex, to have it intelligibly speak you. For trans sex, the story of entering the public scene and becoming visible appears fraught. As in mainstream sexual cultures, queer subcultures have cohesive aesthetics in terms of which organs, acts, bodies and pleasures they bring on/scene. Despite the proliferation of queer porn, transfeminine sex within supposedly progressive sexual cultures continues to be rendered obscene.

Tobi Hill-Meyer, a trans woman of mixed race from Eugene, Oregon, and an award-winning director and talent, offers the following analysis:

Trans women are often told we need to hate our bodies and our sexuality. Denial of medical care is threatened if we admit to liking sex before vaginoplasty. Alternatively, we are often expected to find validation through being sexually available to men. Again, medical care can be denied if we admit to not being attracted to men. We deserve better than these options … We deserve sexuality on our own terms. And queer porn is one way I’ve found that delivers that.

(Hill-Meyer, 2011)

The hope is that queer porn will counter the sexual stigma attached to the gendered feminine term, ‘tranny’, that is very often found in the niche description ‘tranny porn’.

The spring of 2012 saw an explosion in the American blogosphere, and in the transnational formats of Facebook and other social media, over the use of the slur term ‘tranny’, invoked by gay men as well as by trans men in the porn industry. 6 Neil Patrick Harris, Dan Savage and even RuPaul came under fire for potentially propagating trans-hate in their use of the word. Trans man Morty Diamond, the porn director of the early TrannyFags videos, Ken Rowe at Trannywood Pictures, Buck Angel and Kate Bornstein, among others, weighed in on how the term has either historically been reclaimed or even started as a intra-community term of endearment – but for many it conjures up a figure of the trans woman as hypersexualised, always hard, lascivious, or de-eroticised and grotesquely ugly; a ‘male’ body in women’s clothing.

In a response to Hill-Meyer (2009), ‘A’ notes that ‘its uncool to be a shemale, but rad to be a trannyfag’ (The Bilerico Project, comment 25 March 2009). Shemale porn is marked by the contrast of high-femme garb and the centrality of the penis – a skewed picture of what sex is like for most trans women, who undergo hormone replacement treatment that makes it harder to have an erection, and who may call their penises ‘clits’ or ‘girlcocks’. This porn is never screened in queer contexts, and cross-over performances of shemale stars in queer porn are rare. Buck Angel, the first commercial trans man performer recognised by the Adult Video News (AVN) Awards and the Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto, was celebrated with the prize ‘Boundary Breaker of the Year’ in 2008 for his trans and genre cross-over work. In 2007 he teamed up with the hugely successful Allanah Starr, a ‘real American shemale pornstar’, to create the first trans-on-trans sex scene produced by a major production company, Gia Darling Entertainment. Nominated for the 2007 AVN awards for ‘Most Outrageous Sex Scene’, it also caught the attention of British artist Marc Quinn, who cast a life-sized bronze version of their coupling.

Julia Serano, who coined the term trans-misogyny in her 2007 book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, identifies the medical and cultural sexualisation of trans women as a logic that reduces women to their sexual attractiveness to men. In short, ‘[t]rans-misogyny is steeped in the assumption that femaleness and femininity are inferior to, and exist primarily for the benefit of, maleness and masculinity’ (2012: 1). Transitioning on the femininity continuum is considered to be a way of enabling your own sexual objectification rather than something done for personal, emotional or aesthetic reasons. With the exclusion of lesbian and bisexual trans women, or those who desire other trans folks, this logic closes down sexual expression to passing as heterosexual. Serano argues that ‘[p]erhaps the most visible example of trans-misogyny is the way in which trans women and others on the trans female/feminine spectrum are routinely sexualised in the media, within psychological, social science and feminist discourses, and in society at large’ (ibid.).

In this environment, trans women who confront sexualisation by participating in porno do so at risk of being read through a trans-misogynist lens. The tender and moving embrace of shared trans desire in the early short by Barbara DeGenevieve, Out of the Woods (2002), featuring Tennetty and JJ Bitch was presented on, the premier porn site for ‘hot femmes, studly butches and lots of genderfuck’, from January 2001 to February 2004. Yet while many trans men followed in the footsteps of JJ, the video didn’t usher more trans women into the queer porn world. For example, it was not until 2011 that Courtney Trouble’s QueerPorn.TV site featured two trans women.

Clearly, trans women are not out of the woods yet. A major step forward came when Drew Deveaux, a model and porn actress, won the Feminist Porn Awards ‘Heartthrob of 2011’. Deveaux, an androgynous trans woman from Toronto, writes that ‘Through performing in porn, I’ve been able to take the world’s fucked up notions about trans women and fuck them into blissful oblivion’ (Deveaux, 2010). She nevertheless experienced feeling isolated in queer sex culture as a trans woman with a vagina. In 2012 she coined the term ‘the cotton ceiling’ to describe the feeling of being invisible as a sexual, queer woman. The cotton ceiling, like the glass ceiling for women in the workplace, is a barrier that limits access to power, recognition and respect. It refers literally to the panties of (cisgender) dykes, suggesting a social barrier to being recognised in queer sex cultures by cisdykes. As trans writer and activist Roz Kaveney sees it, this obstacle is present because, ‘however theoretically accepting of trans people a lot of progressives may be, when it comes to actually having sex with us, they vote with their … um … feet’ (2012).

Hill-Meyer’s award-winning video Doing It Ourselves: The Trans Women Porn Project (2010) is a project by a group that has chosen to stop waiting for recognition and make its own sexual images, with the very narrative of the vignettes held together by the communal excitement in doing it. It begins with Tobi shouting, ‘June, Lucretia, there is a new Trannywood video!’ No one rushes into the living room, so she enjoys it herself. During the sweet after-glow of a solo masturbation scene with her girlcock in a strap-on holder, a Hitachi wand and a butt plug, Lucretia walks in on Tobi. They argue over whether TrannyFags is better than the Trannywood videos. June interrupts: ‘Why are you watching fags having sex? Why aren’t you watching dyke porn?’ Tobi claims: ‘There isn’t much in the way of transdykes, and feminist porn’, to which Lucretia replies, ‘I’d give a lot to see porn like this, except with trans women’. Tobi grabs the camera and encourages June and Lucretia to make out, to make what they wish they could see themselves. The video then cuts to Tobi editing the footage and deciding to expand the project to include more trans and queer folks having sex with trans women.

The next scene, with Drew (Deveaux) and Daisy (Joss Blains), begins in much the same way as the first one, with a discussion of the sexual representation problem for trans women. They both say they want to be part of this project of producing trans women porn, because trans girls are hot too. Avoiding the issue of shemale pornography, they focus on their shared desire for dyke porn, but, as Drew puts it: ‘Why are trans girls not in it? They’re hot too.’ Their scene becomes indisputable proof that trans girls have hot dyke sex too, complete with fisting, strap-on sex, inventive positions and powerplay. In the progression of each scene, one can feel a palpable building-up of the self-confidence and sexual excitement of the trans women involved. The video is edited to emphasise the DIY dynamic of a community project, by and for trans women; a clear example is in the aesthetic, rather than functional, integration of the handheld camera.

Nevertheless, the scenes are obviously rehearsed and staged for the camera, and the ‘let’s make our own porn!’ set-up is clearly predetermined. As in many porn films, the acting can be described as wooden. The video stands as an instance of political discourse, not a pure index of reality. In Judith Butler’s discussion of censorship, she admits the utility of realist aesthetics for some representational images: ‘when we point to something as real, and in political discourse it is very often imperative to wield the ontological indicator in precisely that way, this is not the end but the beginning of the political problematic’ (2000: 489). The realist mode of porn, particularly in our on/scene sexual culture, is the defining means by which to point to someone, some desire, as real. The aesthetic elements in Doing It Ourselves all point to trans women’s desire as real. At the same time, the privileged confession of sexual desire evinced by each and every performance points out the limits of a culture’s sexual fantasy, points to the edge of obscenity. For Butler, ‘fantasy is not equated with what is not real, but rather what is not yet real’; hence the introduction of trans women in queer porn evidences what is not real just yet in queer sex cultures (2000: 489).

When queer pornographer Courtney Trouble released the unprecedented two-and-a-half-hour-long film Trans Grrrls: Revolution Porn Style Now! (2012), the film sold more copies than any of her other titles, while scooping up various nominations and awards. In the Troublefilms network, alongside James Darling’s FTMFucker website for trans male porn, Hill-Meyer’s site releases episodes of ‘sex positive porn with a trans female focus’. Other notable upcoming directors include Lola Clavo, a Spanish trans woman based in London whose work was awarded the Berlin PorYes Award in 2013 for her contribution to the field. 7 The limits of the queer fantasy just keep getting pushed.

To conclude: proliferating print, digital and alternative sexualities

From the first Western press coverage of trans figures such as Lili Elbe in the 1930s, and the American Christine Jorgensen who transitioned in Denmark in the 1950s, trans was framed as the alluring spectacle of a powerful new medical science that can transform bodies. Increasingly, though, representations of trans lives are not primarily psychomedical: the presentation of television star and trans woman of colour Laverne Cox on TIME magazine’s May 2014 cover signposted the tipping point in the generation of new narratives, faces and relationships to media.

While porn is in the leading position at the forefront of sexual activism, in close second are the game-changing conversations taking place through social media, news websites and online media watchdogs. 8 Organisations like the UK’s Trans Media Watch successfully attack popular representations of trans characters, such as those on the show Little Britain (2003–2006), that are used to comic or tragic effect. 9 Inflammatory language, for example on RuPaul’s show Drag Race (2009–), is regularly checked by GLAAD. When mainstream press reporter Katie Couric presented an episode on trans lives, she was challenged for her intrusive questions about her guests’ genitals (or hormonal/surgical transitions). In the next episode she offered a heartfelt apology and corrected the mistake in a widely circulated ‘learning moment’ speech. 10 Social media-led movements also provide a space for partners of trans people to affirm their relationships, with Janet Mock’s partner Aaron Tredwell’s podcast ‘The Missing Piece’ being a prime example.

New televisual series, webcasts and independent cinema are breaking ground by showcasing trans actors in trans roles while introducing narratives that engage trans lives beyond their transition. Jami Clayton as Nomi Marks in the Wachowskis’ Sense8 (2015–) may be a lesbian trans woman, but her primary concern is beating a shadowy enemy with her hacker skills, together with other sensates. Tangerine (2015, dir: Sean S. Baker) follows two trans women of colour sex workers over a day, but focuses on how, since one has been released from prison after a month inside, she needs to track down her cheating boyfriend, while her best friend spreads the word about her upcoming singing gig. Already attracting a large following online for its multi-racial casting, Her Story (2016, dir: Sydney Freehand), co-written by Laura Zak and Jen Richards, is about the sex lives of queer and trans women, told in short vignettes that tackle trans-misogyny and the cotton ceiling head-on. In the UK, Boy Meets Girl (2015–) is a BBC2 sitcom starring Rebecca Root in the role of a trans woman developing a relationship with a younger man, scripted by trans man Elliot Kerrigan, who was discovered as a winner of the Trans Comedy Award’s (2013) search for trans-positive portrayals.

A major shift in how trans people dialogue with and in media forums is that finally a discussion around trans sexuality is addressing broader sexual dimensions than the status of one’s genitals. 11 For instance, on the agenda are the disproportionate discrimination against trans sex workers, the media invisiblity of trans women and men of colour and the issues of trans people suffering sexual abuse, domestic violence and incarceration/prison rape (cf. Stanley and Smith, 2011). Discussions of trans sexualities, bodies and identities are now marked by trans people’s refusal to be silenced and misrepresented by medical practitioners, academics and cisgender media-makers. The incredible upsurge of research in the field of transgender studies promises to deepen the specific contributions and insights provided by trans sexualities to include the study of not only gender and sexuality but also colonialisation, racialisation, biopolitics and transnational approaches to ending discrimination and hate-based violence.


Pink Therapy in London, UK has most famously propagated the term Gender and Sexual Diversities (GSD) as a replacement for what they see as an excessively narrow and exclusive LGBT umbrella (Reid-Smith, 2013).

The Standards of Care (SOC) for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People (version 7) written by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health take a more practical support to therapy, noting that clients may request assistance with their relationships and sexual health. For example, they may want to explore their ‘sexuality and intimacy-related concerns’ (2012: 30).

See Tompkins (2014) on the future of a sex-positive trans politics about how to deal with trans partners whose desire for trans people is considered fetishistic.

Many examples can be found in Gilbert Herdt’s Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History, which documents variations in gender roles and identities across the Balkans, Native American societies, India, Polynesia and New Guinea.

Today trans people, particularly women of colour, bear the brunt of the crisis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).

Since then, petitions to change the industry-standard category to ‘trans porn’ or ‘trans feminine porn’ from ‘shemale’ and ‘tranny porn’ have circulated widely; see, for example, Poe (2014). Something that is heartening is the change of name for the trans adult industry recognition body (hosted by Grooby Productions) from ‘The Tranny Awards’ (2008–) to ‘Transgender Erotica Awards’ in 2013, for its seventh edition.

Lola Clavo (personal website). Available at: (accessed 20 January 2016).

Leading the way in Europe is the transnational project sponsored by the GRUNDTVIG Learning Partnership, ‘Page One’, ‘a collaboration of five European transgender equality organisations working together with the aim of exchanging knowledge and developing strategies to improve trans representation and visibility in the media’. Anyone can download a free media guide and trans guide. Available at: (accessed 20 January 2016).

Trans Media Watch. Available at: (accessed 20 January 2016).

The first episode can be watched on the Katie Couric site. Available at: (accessed 20 January 2016). Further discussion of the second episode, including the key clip, can be watched on the site. Available at: (accessed 20 January 2016).

A great example is trans activist and author Janet Mock responding to an intrusive interview with Piers Morgan by ‘flipping the script’ and interviewing a cisgender woman in the same manner to show how inappropriate questions about genitalia and personal memories about one’s body are when posed to a trans woman. Available at: (accessed 20 January 2016).


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