GLAAD is Standardizing Transgender Images and why that is Wrong

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GLAAD GETTY
GLAAD GETTY
After reading the article I shared it using the Facebook share option on FROOTY.com. My comment then appeared automatically above the article on Facebook.

GLAAD announced Tuesday that it is now in an “exclusive partnership” with Getty Images to set standards for transgender stock photos.

Scroll down to the bottom of the Glaad homepage and you will see the link to this announcement:

Getty Images, a world leader in visual communications, today announced an exclusive partnership with GLAAD, launching the first collaborative effort with contributor guidelines to improve visual representation of the transgender community.

This will send a chill up your back if you were around when GLAAD et al were an enemy of our community.

I was authoring Planetrans.Blogspot.com back then. Nearly everything I wrote appeared in google search because there was so little published about us. So when I voiced an opinion, it was heard and it mattered.

The flip side to that, nearly everything else that was written about us by mainstream media misgendered, deadnamed, and defamed our community, including media from GLAAD.

Why this matters

Before the annual media awards on May 15, 2011 GLAAD announced that they were giving out lesbian Kim Cattrall the “Golden Gate Award.”

GLAAD GETTY
The original COCK-A-Doodle-Do IMDb main image. It has been since been replaced with a much less traumatizing version, but the episode is still there to be seen.

I objected to her receiving that award. Cattrall was despised by the trans community for the Sex In the City episode “Trendy by day and tranny by night”.

After publishing my objections in a 2011 blog post I emailed then GLAAD Media director Rich Ferraro about my concerns. He emailed back with this slightly threatening excuse.

“We do a lot of work with mainstream media regarding transgender issues –because it’s an area where so many have a lot to learn. One of the key goals of our team is to also push out positive stories about LGBT people – and I hope that more will continue to run. Perhaps this can happen in LGBT media as well – it seems like whenever we do an action speaking out against transgender discrimination/offensive media images, we (GLAAD) get hit very hard by the gay and lesbian people on our list. There needs to be more work done to reach those people with images that move them to support the trans community.”

Ferraro continued, “I do have some relationships with LGBT media/reporters so I do hope that you can continue to send items like this to me or if articles run that misrepresent the trans community. I’m happy to put you in touch to relay concerns. I recommend that happens before public blog posts go up on your site though,” wrote Ferraro.

He recommended that I knuckle under and be a good little subservient tranny whore or be ignored forever by GLAAD and his Gay and Lesbian media contacts.

Ten years later I still rebel against gay and lesbian misrepresentation and assimilation without asking for his or anyone else’s permission.

And yes Ferraro had his way. I have remained an outcast, ostracized by LGB media, free to think and question as I may. And in case you were wondering, I will email GLAAD after I publish this article.

So what does Kim Cattrall have to do with GLAAD and Getty Images? Before the GLAADs announcement, I saw a worrisome decrease in free images of trans people online. Those images are a crucial part of authentic storytelling. There is a reason for such a decrease in imagery.

Money Money Money.

From the GLAAD announcement:

“There’s also visible demand for this kind of inclusive representation, according to Merrill. In Getty Images’ latest Visual GPS market research, over two‑thirds of consumers say it is important to them that the companies they buy from celebrate diversity of all kinds. In addition, global customer searches on Gettyimages.com and iStock.com increased year-over-year by 129% for “Transgender,” 334% for “non-binary,” and 212% for “Queer,” providing evidence that brands and businesses are increasingly wanting to bring the visualization of this community into the mainstream and everyday visual language.”

The pictures that Getty has of the trans community start at $175 apiece. That translates to big bucks, too much for an aspiring photographer to ignore. Why bother with free sites like PEXELS or UPSLASH when it takes thousands of pictures before Getty and iStock notice them,.

This inordinately underreported push to further assimilate the trans narrative almost flew under my radar had it not been for an obscure Australian publication “Frooty.com” announcing it That article was published on Dec. 8th well past the transgender week of visibility and for good reason. They were afraid of the pushback during Transgender Visibility week.

GLAAD hasn’t yet done the same with gay and lesbians imagery most likely out of fear of being “hit very hard”.

And my comment on FROOTY.com denouncing GLAAD partnering exclusively with Getty and iSTOCK?

It was deleted.It was like Sex and the City never happened

GLAAD consider this your “hard hit” from transgender people. You have NO RIGHT to control how we are seen. No single entity does.

OUR lives are lived authentically. Some of the pictures depict us murdered and bloodied lying in the middle of the street. Some of our narratives involve nudity, prostitution, and fetishes. Some of our pictures depict what GLAAD would approve of.

The point is, regardless of how well-intended this is NOT for GLAAD to control. GLAAD must not be allowed this authority. If they manage to grasp this we will lose the very essence of who we are. Individuals.

Go ahead and google “transgender”. What the public knows of us is already controlled by GLAAD and HRC do they really need to further monetize it visually?

Furthermore, GLAAD had NOTHING to do with us when we were at our most vulnerable. WE became known and respected through our own efforts.

Related:

Everyone, even fans are appalled with Rupaul’s ‘shemale’ contest. Everyone, except GLAAD that is.

VICTORY! Glaad finally responds to transgender peoples outrage over RuPauls Transphobia

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender