Transgender Bender: Moving Beyond the Binary System
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Until the 1950s in the United States, in a binary system that included only male or female, gender was simply a matter of plumbing. Now gender is more commonly understood to be more complex-and sometimes separate from the body. On this edition, we take a look at a couple navigating their relationship through the crossfire of gender identity, follow one woman’s experience of changing her sex, and explore legislation and public education efforts to protect transgender people.
Chris and Liz, a couple caught in the gender crossfire; Nicole McRory, transgender musician; Dainna Cicetello, counselor and educator, Gender Identity Center; Sut Jhally, executive director, Media Education Foundation; Laurie, former spouse of Nicole McRory; Gwen Smith, transgender activist; Paisley Currah, director, Transgender Law and Policy Institute; Jamison Green, author and educator; Marcus Arana, discrimination investigator, San Francisco Human Rights Commission.
For more information:
Sut Jhally, Media Education Foundation – Northampton, MA
Gender Identity Center of Colorado – Lakewood, CO
LGBT and HIV Unit – San Francisco, CA
Review of this program on PRX (Public Radio Exchange):
Reviewer: David Swatling, Radio Netherlands
This is an excellent introduction to the issues that confront the transgender community. The mainstream magazine-style structure of the program should appeal to stations which might have qualms about the subject. The first segment introduces an engaging transgender couple navigating the complexities of their relationship with love and a good dose of humor. Next a musician tells recounts her difficult journey toward “gender equalibrium,” interspersed with experts defining the elusive term “transgender.” And finally, current legislation regarding hate crimes and discrimination is discussed, with a particular distinction between transgendered individuals and the gay and lesbian community at large – an important point often misunderstood. While it bothered me a little that the program became less personal and more narrator driven with each segment, the overview presented is balanced and thorough. The series Making Contact is committed to stories and viewpoints not often heard on mass media. This is a prime example and should not be overlooked by broadcasters.
Adjectives: NPR NewsMagazine-y, Polished, Thorough