GLAAD And HRC Take Out Variety Ad Urging ABC To Cancel Work It

work-it-picTalk about putting your money where your mouth is.

GLAAD and HRC have taken out a full-page ad in Variety, the entertainment industry mag that usually touts “For Your Consideration” Oscar bids, attacking ABC’s mid-season replacement comedy, Work It.

The show follows two jobless car salesmen who decide the best way to find gainful employment is to jump into the female-dominated field of pharmaceutical sales—as women. (Did someone stay up for a Bosom Buddies marathon on TVLand?)

“By encouraging the audience to laugh at the characters’ attempts at womanhood, the show gives license to similar treatment of transgender women…,” the ad reads. “Since ABC has a record of positive portrayals of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender  people, they should know how offensive this show is, and that it even has the potential to jeopardize the safety of many transgender Americans in the process.”

Back when it was going to air in the fall, we thought the show just sounded lame. But when you consider how hard it can be for transgender people to get jobs in this country, it’s premise might be less than innocent.

“This show could contribute to the high levels of job discrimination that transgender Americans face and will give license for people to mock and ridicule those whose gender expression might not fit with what society considers the norm,” said GLAAD’s Mike Thompson. “The media should use this as an opportunity to address the huge number of inaccurate or offensive images of transgender people in news and entertainment today.”

But is GLAAD overreaching? These characters aren’t trans women, after all. They’re guys in dresses—and if anyone understands the difference, its the transgender community. But GLAAD doesn’t trust the viewing public to make that distinction, according to its blog: “While the show’s pilot does not explicitly address transgender people, many home viewers unfamiliar with the realities of being transgender will still make the connection. ”

GLAAD and HRC want the show shut down completely before its January 3 debut and are meeting with ABC execs in the coming days. “At the very least, Work It is offensive and insulting,” a GLAAD rep says. “At worst, the show is downright dangerous and sends a message that transgender people are to be laughed at, or are somehow less-than.”

But if Work It is indeed transphobic, is cancelling the show really the answer?

Why not let the show languish in the low ratings it’s likely going to get. It could be an exercise in American intolerance to dumb transgender-mocking premises?

What do you think—kill it or let it die on its own?

Images via ABC, GLAAD

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  • John

    I wish GLAAD and HRC would actually spend time and money on something WORTHWHILE. Last time I checked, the world was in bad shape….this TV show doesn’t stand a chance in hell. It will NOT last and HRC/GLAAD will have nothing to do with its demise. Shame on these media hungry queers.

  • Cam

    I’m sure HRC made GLAAD pay for the entire ad. Solomnase needs to buy a few more Armani suits before his last day.

  • JayKay

    This show looks irredeemably stupid, but I think I’ll have to tune in just to piss off the professionally offended activists of the world.

    By the way, when did the GAY and LESBIAN Alliance Against Defamation become the Gender Warrior Defense League?

  • Jonathonz

    This show sounds like it would have been funny in the 70’s. It just sounds offensive and regressive now. Do we need another Bosom Buddies? I think GLAAD and HRC should be pointing out how un-timely this show is.

  • Zane

    Censorship in any form is wrong, especially when the show hasn’t even aired yet.

    At any rate, cross-dressing is a staple of comedy. Is Dame Edna transphobic?

  • Matt

    “Do we need another Bosom Buddies?”

    Do we need “Some Like It Hot”?

    Do we need “Tootsie”?

    I don’t see anything wrong or insulting with men playing women for laughs.

  • tj

    ummm this is not the first man in a dress comedy… but whatever sounds stupid… no one will watch it will fail. NEXT!

  • Art

    There is a difference between Dame Edna, tootsie, or even mrs. Doubtfire and this show, you have a sence of dignity and respect from this characters and the men that play them…. Work it! It’s just: “look men dress like woman, laugh!”…. It’s outdated…. A sitcom about an actual transgender person would have been new and interesting… As difficult as it is to be trans I this socity…. You have some serious funny moments too. The best comedy come from pain.

  • R.A.

    Sounds exactly like the premise for “Victor/Victoria” but in reverse.

    We have become ridiculous.

  • Riker

    A more interesting question: Why are transmen so underrepresented, not just in that ad but in trans activists in general? Everytime the media needs a sound bite, it goes to a transwoman. All the hoofs are run by transwomen. Why the discrimination? Is it because trans white men are “part of the problem?”

  • christopher di spirito

    The “PC” police are out in force. If gays don’t to watch ‘Work It’ then turn the channel.

  • Will

    Oh boy I hope GLAAD and the HRC come out in force with LOGO’s next season of the A List a show that TRULY uses the worst self stereoypes of gay men as gay men.

  • pedro

    Are you creaking kidding me…Glaad and hrc have officially jumped the shark. I hope those exec give them the finger.

  • JohnAGJ

    I enjoyed Bosom Buddies in reruns growing up and really don’t see why it would be considered offensive today. This show may not be as good but I see no reason for this hoopla about it. How long before Priscilla: Queen of the Desert or To Wong Foo will also be unconsidered un-PC by HRC and GLAAD? Meh. Sounds like a lot of noise over something inconsequential that only turns the movement into a joke, something both HRC and GLAAD are quite good at come to think of it.

  • Meowzer

    I think the show should be killed before it airs, but that won’t happen. Now, with all the stick being raised by HRC and GLAAD, the show is bound to get some decent ratings at the start because of curiosity from people who wonder what all the stink is about.
    Everyone should have just ignored it and it probably would have failed. Look at all the attempts to reboot show premises from the 70s & 80s (Charlie’s Angels anyone), they don’t work in today’s culture.
    Let this show die quietly.

  • Aries3dc

    So “Drag Race” features men in drag being ridiculous and we eat it up. “A-List” plays to every stereotype in the book, and we applaud it too! But ABC wants to run a sitcom about men in dresses and we protest?!?

    I’m so confused.

    Cross-dressing and transitioning are two completely different things. A man wearing a dress for laughs is not remotely the same as a man living as a woman and asking to be resepcted as such. To say that we would be offended by “Work It” is to say that the show’s ridiculous premise is simiiar to actually being trans. We all know it’s not.

    And if we are so concerned that the viewing public is too stupid to know the difference, than why aren’t be protesting “Drag Race” and “A-List”? Won’t some people beleive that all gay men are drag queens? Won’t some people beleive that all gay men are nelly and shallow? I could go on and on….

    Most people know that TV isn’t real. Even “reality shows” aren’t real. We would be wise to spend our advocacy dollars on shit that actually matters!

  • Erik

    It’s hard for me to have an opinion on a TV show I haven’t seen.

  • Grevin

    Hmm… yeah, thinking this years donation will be going to the Trevor Project instead.

  • Aki

    I guess the video of “I want to break free” from Queen will also be targeted.

  • CBRad

    Now we know, without any further doubt, that GLAAD and HRC are made up of members completely ignorant of the real world. They choose these silly little comfortable “battles” that mean nothing to anybody, gay or straight, and then only hang out with each other to play little fantasy pretend-time that they’re significant.

  • jason

    Transgenders are not gay-friendly. They don’t want to be gay. We risk destroying the gay rights movement by including transgenders in our umbrella.

    There were never laws against transgenders, only homosexuals.

  • WillBFair

    Actually, this show could have broken new ground. It could have explored the gay tradition of gender bending to help people take gender less seriously. And it could have explored trans issue by adding a couple of trans characters. But the professionally offended crowd have highjacked the narative as usual. So we’ll never know.

  • WillBFair

    Gender bending also expresses the joy and playfulness that can be found in gender. But many brilliant queer ideas are being banned by the joyless crowd. It makes me sad that our fine traditions can be erased by people only pretending to be our allies.

  • JAW

    WAIT a second… these guys are Cross Dressers… they are NOT TRANS… no need for the Transsexuals to get upset. As we all know the Transgendereds (now known as Transsexuals)are the ones that kicked the Transvestites (renamed Cross Dressers) to the curb.

    I can’t wait to watch it… sounds like fun.

  • JB

    I agree with JAW. These are cross dressers, not transgendered people. All the offense seems out of place to me. And while I do believe everyone should have equal rights, gender identity and sexual orientation are two different things. It seems when we lump them in together, it adds to the old stereotypical notion that all gay men wish they were women, which is not true. They are two completely different issues.

  • Scar

    @jason: Hey moron, a lot of trans people ARE gay. Buy yourself a clue.

  • Jeff

    Let’s see nothing new here, both the HRC and GLAAD practicing PC censorship to the extreme yet they do and say nothing when the biphobic, transphobic, misogynistic, and racist Dan Savage says hypocritical biphobic, racist, and transphobic things in print and in other forms of media.

  • Interesting

    If this were a remake of Cruising, the comment section would look a lot. Contrast this also with the response to Patti Stanger. This is “PC.” And when she said most gay men are sluts, she was being offensive. How dare she! In other words, most of the people are hypocritical. Just once, I would like to see a comment section in which the exact same people are not applying double standards for gay issues versus every everyone else.

  • Zane

    It seems like there’s a certain level of transvestophobia that’s arisen out of the transgender movement recently.

  • the crustybastard

    OMG! A guy…in a…dress!


    I can’t believe nobody’s done this before. Genius.

  • Queer Supremacist

    Remember Ask Harriet? Me neither.

    GLAAD, who gave some of the most offensive TV shows and movies in history a pass, is getting their collective panties in a bunch over a Bosom Buddies retread? Where were they when they released that horrible movie where Adam Sandler and Kevin James got a sham domestic partnership?

    And if men dressing up as women is offensive we had better ban all British comedy. Especially that transphobic bastard Shakespeare with that odious piece of bigotry called Twelfth Night.

    Cross-dressing is not transgenderism. Putting on a dress does not make you a woman.

    GLAAD is starting to mirror the same fundamentalist fascists who are responsible for a lot of censorship on TV.

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