The media love to push sexuality onto audiences, using entertainment to make it seem attractive. But what if those in entertainment don’t want to play into a progressive narrative?
Too bad, says Salon. Jennie Neufeld writes in her piece, “Can a Transgender Actor Ever Be Just An ‘Actor’?”, that a transgender actor in Hollywood is in fact “an inherently activist presence in entertainment,” even when that person is trying to escape both the title of activist and the media applause that seems to come with it.
Hari Nef, a transgender actor lauded by the media, such as for being one of the “Women Changing the World We Live In,” has spoken out about being labeled as an activist. Nef finds it “a shame I’m so consistently framed as a distuptor/activist” and even tweeted at Marie Claire, saying, “I actually haven’t said much of anything at all in regard to trans issues on the public record...I barely talk about gender at all.”
In another tweet, Nef stated: “I’m gonna say it again in as clear of terms as I can muster: don’t call me trans. Don’t talk about it. Don’t project an agenda onto my work.”
Salon wrote instead: “Don’t journalists have a duty to identify?” Neufeld argued: “In day-to-day life, trans people experience job discrimination, high rates of unemployment, poverty and homelessness and an all-around lack of representation in the media.”
The agenda goes on: “Giving trans people exposure is, thus, crucial and possibly lifesaving.” How is watching a transgender actor on a television show saving a life? Nef’s “success is a boon to the trans community whether she herself speaks out or not.” And that’s why its ok to ignore Nef’s request and continue to feed the propaganda machine. Apparently, this is saving lives.
No wait: a journalist can still compromise and just admit that a transgender person’s very existence is a form of activism. “None of this is to say trans accomplishments shouldn't be celebrated or that trans people shouldn't be called the first trans this or the most successful trans that when they themselves want it stressed. It's just to say we need to quietly afford to trans people a place in society alongside those who are cisgender without making it a big deal. That's how things actually change.”