The show, which seems to basically be a rehash of the old plot concept from Bosom Buddies and Tootsie. The idea is, a straight male is "forced" by some circumstance beyond his control to dress up as a woman. He may be doing this to get a job, or to obtain some other benefit. And even though it goes against his very nature, he succeeds, and perhaps, comes to be a better man because of it. Oh, and he finds that he enjoys being a woman, if only for a while. In another words, it is a classic transvestite fantasy of forced feminization.
So, why is Mr. Sandeen so upset? Well, it appears that LGBT activists have declare war on this show because it "trivializes" the experiences of transgender people, and well, it makes fun of the idea of men wearing dresses. In another words, this is a safe issue for them to use to "prove" that they are really, really aware of, and concerned about, transgender issues and they are doing something about it,
Of course, the whole thing is just ridiculous. This is a show about two straight men disguising themselves as women to get jobs. They are "pretending" to be women in order to get a job they would otherwise be denied (again, how is this company getting away with a clear violation of Federal law?). That is totally unrelated to "real" transgender people who ae pretending to be women because they think it is a fun and cool thing to be a "woman with a penis." And, it is unrelated to true transsexuals who are women, who are in the process of putting they lives on track.
The claim is made that in "real life" transgender people face problems:
In the brick-and-mortar world, most of us late-transitioning trans women didn’t have the benefit of make-up and wardrobe departments to facilitate our transitions. Many of us started our transitions with deep voices, heavy beards, and bone structures that didn’t say “woman.” Many of us were — many of us are — visibly trans, not “passing” in our target sex of female.Of course, Mr. Sandeen fails to mention that he, and other transgender people generally attack anyone attempting to be actually "pass." The whole idea for people like him is to be visibly transgender. They are not interested in actually being female, but derive their identity from being "women with penises." So, a show about two straight men who somehow manage to overcome obvious problems and succeed in passing, is just too much for them. They think, how dare these men actually work as women, and not "trans women." It appears that they are upset with this show for much the same reason that they hate those who identify as transsexuals, but not transgender. They hate anyone who is successful at being a woman.
Sandeen attempts to feign ignorance of the whole concept of stealth:
In the brick-and-mortar world, the two crossdressers in Work Itwould be having uncomfortable discussions with the HR department of their new employer about transitioning in the workplace, including negotiating restroom use. They would likely at least face workplace harassment, and if they lived in the 35 states without employment protections based on gender identity, they might not have been hired — or if already hired might have been fired — specifically for being trans…and without much legal recourse.I live in the brick and mortar world, as he puts it. I have never had an uncomfortable discussion with the HR department. In all of my jobs, except one, I was not remotely out. I did work at a position as an outreach worker for a research project that targeted people who identified as transgender or transsexual. I had participated in the project at the request of my therapist at the time, and I sought the position because it provided me with both an income and health insurance benefit that would cover my sex reassignment survey. I later moved on to another position that was not directly related to transgender issues. But even there, there were no such discussion.
No, most jobs I have had since transition have been held simply as a woman. I never seriously considered "transitioning" on the job. Even in the outreach position, I had been in transition for years, and was simply listed as a female. In fact, I ignored requests sent out to all employees in the organization to, "be out." Every year, during Pride Month, they would distribute posters featuring employees who were willing to publicly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. I had no desire to do so.
I lived in one of those 35 states. In my first job after transition, I was hired as as a woman, and assigned to the lingerie department. In my job, among other duties, I had to assist other women in the dressing room. No one ever questioned whether whether I was a woman. Granted, unlike those Sandeen describes, I had undergone electrolysis, had been on hormones for years, and well, I admit I am blessed with relatively good bone structure. But, more importantly, I did not begin transition until i was ready. This was not a silly fantasy for me. It was about being who, and what, I really was. Not engaging in dress-up and forcing people to indulge my delusions. I was not interested in being transgender, or even transsexual. I was simply living as the woman I already was.
The only connection this show has to transgender is the fact that it is essentially a clean version of transvestite fiction. You would think that someone like Sandeen would be excited to have this presented weekly. But, the LGBT activists have spoken, and so he must rush to front of the mob, and help lead the charge. After all, if they get this show cancelled, they will have shown their power and TV executives will be under their control.
Personally, I think the show is a rather silly idea. The answer to sex discrimination is to take the employer to court, not to pretend to be the sex they are willing to hire. But that would not make a very good TV show. Another objection to this show is that it uses the idea of men dressed as women for humor. Funny, but I would think they would start by making an effort to shut down every drag show, and to force every drag queen, to stop performing. Of course, men dressed as women is humorous. And yes, that is a problem for transgender people. After all, that is exactly what they essentially identify as.
GLAAD has the following to say about the show:
GLAAD has seen the pilot and 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. Work It invites the audience to laugh at images of men trying to adopt a feminine appearance, thereby also making it easier to mock people whose gender identity and expression are different than the one they were assigned at birth. Said GLAAD’s Acting President Mike Thompson, “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.”
These problems are even more pronounced in the show’s printed ad, which depicts the two main characters dressed as women while standing at men’s room urinals. Not only does it inadvertently further notions that transgender identities are humorous or artificial, but imagery like this are one of the first things anti-LGBT activists resort to when trying to deny transgender people protections against discrimination. As Mark Snyder from the Transgender Law Center said in a recent article, a printed image like this in magazines or the sides of city buses will “make it more difficult for transgender people to gain full equality — including the important right to access public accommodations appropriate to their gender identity.”GLAAD clearly has no grasp of transgender reality. When you have men, who are intent of being "trans women," i.e. retaining their identity as men, while attempting to force society to accept them as women, simply, and only, because they claim to be women, it is really kind of hard to argue that they are not engaged in a form of lying or deception. Granted, the deception is not the one that GLAAD is thinking of, but it is, at best, a shaky position. And the issue is not the right to access public accommodation appropriate to theyr "gender identity," but quite the opposite. It is about men, who are quite happy as men, getting into women's spaces.
As to the print ad, I grant, it is a bit absurd. Transgender people don't walk up to urinals like that. No, they stand to pee in the stalls of women's room. After all, as I said, forcing their way into women's rooms is a major part of their agenda, though I do suppose they would welcome forcing women's rooms to include urinals. But that is a whole new discussion.