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ABC's Cross-Dressing Comedy 'Work It' Draws Controversy

December 19, 2011 (1:54 am) GMT
GLAAD and HRC have slammed the new midseason series, which features two men dressing as women to get jobs, for being insensitive to transgender people.

"" has received opposition from two groups just weeks away from its premiere. The ABC new comedy was slammed by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) which deem the show offensive to transgender community.

"During a period in which the transgender community now routinely finds itself in the cultural crosshairs, the timing couldn't be worse for a show based on the notion that men dressed as women is inherently funny," GLAAD associate director of entertainment media, Matt Kane, stated.

Having watched the pilot, the LGBT community claimed "Work It", which laughs at images of men trying to adopt a feminine appearance, will encourage people to mock those with actual gender-identity issues. The group also criticized the latest ad released for the show which depicts the two main characters dressed as women while standing at men's room urinals.

"Transphobia is still all too prevalent in our society and this show will only contribute to it. 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," Kane added. GLAAD asked ABC not to run the ad and consider "whether airing this show is worth the damage it has the potential to do."

Meanwhile, HRC expressed its worry that the show's premise reinforces false and damaging stereotypes about transgender people. Through a written protest, the group urges people to send messages to the Alphabet, stating "It is never appropriate to belittle or mock those who do not adhere to society's gender norms or the struggles they face."

ABC has reportedly agreed to meet with GLAAD and HRC to talk about the show, but no meetings have yet taken place. The network has not released any statement regarding the backlash, either.

"Work It" is set to air January 3, 2012 at 8:30 P.M. While it does not feature transgender people, it follows two men who dress as women to get jobs as pharmaceutical reps.

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