Wednesday, December 21, 2011

“Work It” Doesn’t Work


“On January 3, 2012, ABC is set to premiere Work It, a sitcom about two men who dress as women to secure employment.  At a time when the transgender community routinely finds itself in the cultural crosshairs, a show like this could put the transgender community in an even more dangerous position.”

Today, “GLAAD [Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation] and HRC [Human Rights Campaign], two national LGBT advocacy organizations, placed a full-page ad [above] in media industry publication Daily Variety as part of a campaign to educate the media industry and the general public around the show. The organizations also confirmed a meeting with ABC executives will take place to discuss the sitcom.”

“ABC should not air this show – plain and simple.  At the very least, Work It is offensive and insulting.  At worst, the show is downright dangerous and sends a message that transgender people are to be laughed at, or are somehow less-than. This show would be a setback for transgender Americans, and for everyone who believes that all people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.”


Those are excerpts from the GLAAD Work It webpage. To view the entire webpage, please follow this link.

Also, there is an excellent new posting concerning Work It on the front page of The Huffington Post this morning written by Joe Solmonese and Mike Thompson, the president of the HRC and acting president of GLAAD, respectively. To read that post, please follow this link.


  1. Stana
    As usual your high standards as a writer are well honored. I cannot say the same about Mr. Solmonese. His piece copies generously from the Renna article, the GLAAD release and the HRC piece. Mr. Solmonese should review the rules for using quotation marks when quoting someone else's work and making proper attribution. Or he could spend a bit of time reading "Femulate" and simply copy your practice of proper attribution. Mr. Solmonese could give Joe Biden lessons improper attribution.

    Having read all that I can find and all that you have linked I am still wondering why there is such a dust up over this sit-com.
    Mr. Solmonese argues that even though the characters are not presented as TG that "audiences will nevertheless connect them with transgender women." Sadlly, I do not think that he was joking.

    Then, after quoting some of the facts mentioned in the GLAAD release he opines that TG workplace discrimination will be perpetuated by the images created by this sit-com. Again, I am afraid that this aspersion by the author is serious.

    He goes on to opine that "The premise of this show is repulsive...". Would he have said the same about "All in the Family", "M*A*S*H*", "Seinfeld", Etc. These were comedies that taught a number of lessons about human behavior and tolerance. The optomist in me would hope for the same with "Work It". I suspect that this will be a bit of a low brow attempt at cheap laughs that will play in part on the "guy in a dress" theme, but I also suspect that there will be many lessons in tolerance that can be found in this show.

    The rancor and vitriol that has been desplayed by the activist authors and organizations purportedly carrying the banner of the "T" community makes me wonder if these activists have run out of real issues to focus their energies on or if they will do anything they can to create issues where none may truly exist just to hear the sound of their own voices.

    The show is a sit-com. I would suggest that the activists sit back, relax, take a chill pill and let the show go forward. My general view, as a guy who likes to dress as a woman and go out and about while dressed, is that our cause is generally served with as much increased exposure as we can find. Almost anything that removes fear of TGs from our society is good...even comedy.

    Everyone who watches this show has the power to simply turn it off.


  2. Living in the UK we will not get this show, we did have "My Transsexual Summer" recently, a reality TV documentary following a group of transgendered people through a few months. This played to the sensational and sought out the lowest common denominator, but at the same time was able to present trans people in a positive light, and get the sunject aired. If this show gets discussed on air and raises issues then it might be made into "a good thing"

  3. these are not trans people, they are two men trying to pass as women to make a buck. It's no different than a straight female impersonator performing on stage for a buck, but has no interest in transitioning. It's a comedy, and I don't think it's meant to make fun of the transgendered community and more than tim allen on home improvement is trying to make contractors look like idiots. How is this show any different than bosum buddies from the 80's?

  4. Last night on "Red Eye" the 3:00 AM comedy news parody on FNC there was mention of the objections that have been raised against ABC for "Work It". This show has a rather libertarian slant.
    One guest, Cal Thomas, the poster child for conservative writers mentioned the outstanding "Some Like it Hot". The woman on the panel made reference to "Bosum Buddies" and discussed the acting of Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari.
    After mentioning the outpouring of opposition by activist groups and showing the show's trailer one of the members quipped that the should could not be showing TG people tripping in their heels since in their experience real TGs are expert at walking in heels.
    I thought that it was fair treatment of ABC and the concept of "Work It" while taking a soft swipe at those opposed to letting ABC air the show.
    PS: Of course I woud still love to be in the "leg seat" on the show.

  5. Unfortunately, USA is miles away behind other countries in terms of LGBT rights (human rights, after all). It's strange, but I think this should change asap as USA claims to be the guardian of human rights all around the Earth... USA should be an example for the other countries, which is NOT happening now. It's a pity and a shame.

  6. I held off comment until I had actually seen the show. It doesn't portray them as real TGs, just guys doing it to get a job. However, after seeing the first episode, I predict those actors will be looking for new jobs in a month at the outside. Not because the show is offensive, but because it is just not any good.