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Transing the small screen: loving and hating transgender youth in Glee and Degrassi

Sandercock, Tom 2015, Transing the small screen: loving and hating transgender youth in Glee and Degrassi, Journal of gender studies, vol. 24, no. 4, Special issue: diversity in gender and visual representation, pp. 436-452, doi: 10.1080/09589236.2015.1021307.

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Title Transing the small screen: loving and hating transgender youth in Glee and Degrassi
Author(s) Sandercock, TomORCID iD for Sandercock, Tom orcid.org/0000-0002-3048-4814
Journal name Journal of gender studies
Volume number 24
Issue number 4
Season Special issue: diversity in gender and visual representation
Start page 436
End page 452
Total pages 17
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication Abingdon, Eng.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 0958-9236
1465-3869
Keyword(s) transgender youth
adolescent television
discrimination
relationships
Glee
Degrassi
Social Sciences
Social Issues
Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary
Women's Studies
Social Sciences - Other Topics
Summary The teen television shows Glee (2009-) and Degrassi (2001-) are notable for diversity in gender and sexuality representations. Glee represents a variety of masculine women and feminine men as well as gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters. Likewise, Canada's Degrassi franchise has portrayed non-heterosexual characters in significant and controversial ways. Its most recent incarnation, Degrassi (previously Degrassi: The Next Generation) is discussed in this article, alongside Glee, in relation to their recent inclusions of two transgender-identified teenagers bringing transgenderism to the fore of these programmes' discussions of gender and identity. As trans youth are highly vulnerable due to both systemic ageism and cisgenderism, it is not surprising that both detail narratives of discrimination and assault driven by bigotry and ignorance. Conversely, they also explore more positive aspects of the lives of young people, such as friendship and romance (even as these cause their own problems at times), also enjoyed by trans youth. As such, the themes of ‘love’ and ‘hate’ manifest in interesting ways in both of these televisual texts and guide this article's analysis. While challenging assumptions that trans lives are governed by negative emotional states, these representations continue to reify stereotypes, not only of transness, but also of boyhood, girlhood, race and their intersections. Both representations are grounded in material and emotional journeys (or movements) and the concept of the ‘moving body’ (Keegan, 2013) partly informs these readings. The privileging of certain modes of trans personhood and embodiment over less normative (unseen, unacknowledged, and thus invisible) ones is at stake in these representations, but they also lay the groundwork for diverse future depictions. By addressing this gap in research, this article elucidates how gender (diversity) is being constructed for consumption on adolescent television and its potential for (re)thinking trans/gender, identity, and embodiment for young people in contemporary Western societies.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/09589236.2015.1021307
Field of Research 1608 Sociology
Socio Economic Objective 0 Not Applicable
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Taylor & Francis
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30086087

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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