Trans Media Guide

Please note this is an ever changing article. This means I will continue to update it as more problems/information arises. Please leave a comment with feedback or use my contact the author page!


The news media has a huge problem when it comes to reporting on trans* people. This problem spans across a wide variety of arenas, it is not localized to one specific issue that can be addressed simply. The news media needs an overhaul, a make-over if you will, on how it reports trans* people. While I understand there are articles and guides out there that cover how to do this, I’ve noticed very few explain exactly why in some form of depth. I want this to be a basic guideline, a stepping stone of dos and don’ts, organized by the trans* community and their voices. A guide from and by trans* people about trans* people. There are no better teachers than ourselves.

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Gender Stereotypes and Cisnormativity in Ads

Enculturation is the process in which an individual learns about their culture. The enculturation process teaches a person what is right and wrong, their roles and expectations in society, and how they should view others. It is no surprise that commercials are a key component of the enculturation process that is enforced through the media. We are exposed to hundreds of advertisements every day through the radio, magazines, television, newspapers, billboards and even buses. We are surrounded by an almost constant stream of advertisements about all kinds of products from household cleaners, diet supplements, restaurants, and even medications. While seemingly innocent and obvious on the outside, many commercials carry a loaded message about what a person is supposed to be based on their gender. While gender norms and stereotypes are slowly being eradicated, you’d be hard pressed to find an example in advertisements. Women still sell cleaning products, the sexual exploitation of women is still being used to pander to male audiences, and the existence of transgender and other gender minorities (especially trans women) are being mocked and deconstructed.

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