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Video: A Lifetime of stigma

by Jeremy Hooper

In 2006, the Lifetime network began airing A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story, a very well done, GLAAD award-winning telepic that covered the life and tragic murder of transgender teen Gwen Araujo. You probably remember that Gwen was murdered by a group a men at a 2002 house party, after it was discovered that she had biologically male genitalia. A victim of horrible circumstances, not her own "bad decisions."

Well fast forward to 2010. Last night, a G-A-Y friend tipped us to the fact that the film is currently re-airing on the Lifetime Movie Network, which is a cool thing. However, look at how the network's marketing the programming week of which Gwen's story is a part:

Yep, that's right -- the film's being marketed as part of an out-of-control teen block. Binge drinking. Promiscuity. Drugs. A transgender teen's tragic murder?! One of these "good kids, bad decisions" scenario is most certainly not like the others!

Now we want to be careful in saying that we do not at all think this was a malicious decision by Lifetime, a network with a very positive record on LGBT matters. It was more likely just a boneheaded decision. An insensitive decision. But nevertheless, it's still a potentially dangerous decision that we can now use as a teachable moment, reminding programming execs that transgender does not equate sensationalism.

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