Considering the general public’s lack of enthusiasm when it comes to granting equal rights to gay Americans, the mainstream media has been quite enthusiastic about gay issues lately — especially when it comes to transgender citizens.
Oprah’s infatuation with “the pregnant man” Thomas Beatie last year started a pretty heated public debate about transgendered parents — which may have inspired ABC to tackle the subject in an upcoming special, dramatically titled Primetime: Family Secrets.
The hour-long special, which airs tonight, tells the story of Rene and Chloe Prince, who, as ABC will surely remind you, “are not a typical lesbian couple.” That is because Chloe Prince was born Ted Prince. ABC explains further:
Cameras followed the couple for a year, as their two sons went from having a mom and a dad to two moms and Rene’s husband became her wife. While I am all for increasing trans visibility, I find the premise of the show a bit troubling for a number of reasons.
First of all, the show was filmed as Chloe was transitioning. Anyone with trans friends can tell you that is not an easy time. The show’s description mentions how the boys are “forced to adjust” and how Rene is not happy with Chloe’s new body — if you haven’t even come to terms with the transition as a couple, why would you subject your children to being the stars of a Primetime special on ABC?
Second, the show’s description is begging for a wingnut from Fox News to call in child services: This couple is “redefining” their family. Poor word choice, ABC, we have all had enough of it.
It seems to me that instead of highlighting how many happy families with same-sex parents are out there, this special aims to sensationalize and demonize Chloe:
Dun, dun, dun! At what cost? Is it better to continue living what you feel is a lie? Ever since the news business started its rapid decline, we have been subjected to more shock and awe tactics by primetime channels than ever before. It’s not about increasing visibility for trans citizens, it’s about getting viewers all worked up. Soon enough, Chloe will be on The View, arguing with Elizabeth and promoting her book, and Bill O’Reilly will get people like my father on a warpath while replaying a clip of an upset child: “Look at this,” he will say, “This child’s life is ruined!”
Maybe I’m being a little doom-and-gloom considering I haven’t watched the show yet, so I suppose I’ll have to tune in. In the meantime, Chloe has taken to her own blog to ask that viewers watch the episode with “an open heart and mind”:
Will you be watching?