The Portrayal of Transsexualism in Media

Transgender people know that most of the outsiders consider them to be somehow impaired, or mentally ill. This opinion dictates the suspicious attitude towards those, who don’t belong to the community. The transgender community positions itself as a group of people who have a complex of medical/psychological problems they help each other to solve. They also let the outer world know that they unite not to let the world offend or discriminate those, who belong to their community. Transgender community is centered on the idea that the members have to support each other to ensure their survival. Some researchers identify transsexuals as the representatives of the "third sex" (Shapiro, 1991), thus transgender people often feel that they differ from the rest of the world psychologically, socially, and culturally.
Some historians said that transgender people have always existed, but they revealed themselves only in the 20th century. "The modern study of what might be called transgenderism began with Magnus Hirschfeld and the 1910 publication of his book, The Transvestites: An Investigation of the Erotic Desire to Cross Dress", – says Vern L. Bullough, the author of the study Transgenderism and the Concept of Gender (2000). After this study, many scientists contributed to creating the transgender scientific base, including Freud. People have been becoming more and more tolerable towards this minority throughout the 20th century.
Transsexualism is an issue that is widely discussed in media nowadays. Transsexuals as a group have announced themselves relatively recently, thus there is still lots of misunderstandings about the nature of the desire to live like the representative of the opposite gender. Lots of Americans have wrong information about the issue of transexualism, that is why prejudicial stereotypes are developed in the U.S society. Unfortunately media is one of the main sources of those stereotypes. It is natural, as it is from the media that most U.S dwellers get the information about transsexuals, but when this issue is put in the wrong light in books, articles, or TV shows, it creates severe problems for transgendered people and their families.
The transsexuals often have problems with medical care, and with legal forces. The thing is that the usual doctors and nurses, as well as policeman, have little understanding of what the transsexual are. They have their own stereotypes about transsexuals, and, as a result, the transsexuals are often discriminated by these specialists. (Conway, 2003).They also have problems registering marriage in some state. In Kansas and Texas, for example, transsexual marriages are sometimes declared invalid, and the judges even sometimes refuse to acknowledge that the operated person is a representative of the gender other than he was born in. (Minter, 2004).
For example, some articles and books, especially those written by orthodox believers, promote an idea that transsexualism is a mental illness. Moreover, de-jure they are right, as in DSM-4 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) it is classified as an illness. This is one of the main reasons for which transsexual people suffer discrimination when trying to find a job, as most employers don’t wont to hire a person who is "mentally

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