Lost Girl, currently English-language television’s only show centered around a sole lesbian or bisexual character, has issued a statement to GLAAD over a scene the LGBT media advocacy group considered transphobic in its Season 3 premiere.
The scene in question came toward the end of the episode “Caged Fae,” which saw Bo going undercover at a women’s Fae prison run by the Amazons and their unscrupulous warden. The warden, it is uncovered, is really a male Liderc posing as a female to rule the Amazons, a Fae race that refuses to associate with men, and secretly impregnate prisoners without their consent while running a black market adoption ring for profit. The Amazons confirm this by grabbing the warden’s crotch and before dragging their former leader off. I know, if you don’t watch the show that’s a lot to take in.
The Canadian company Prodigy Pictures, Inc., which produces the show, has released the following statement to GLAAD:
We want to let you know that the Lost Girl writers base all episodic characters off of researched folklore, and that the character of The Warden in the premiere of Season 3 is a character based off the mythological shapeshifter known as the Liderc. The Warden was only intended to represent this mythic being. We did not intend this character to be seen as a transgender person, we apologize if the character was seen as such. We do hope that you accept that no comparison or discrimination toward the transgender community was intended by the depiction of this mythological character.
Lost Girl prides itself on being open and accepting to everyone, and are enthusiastic supporters of the GLBT community. We want to encourage a society in which everyone can feel comfortable to express and be who they are without judgment. Equality and a world without labels is important to all of us at the series. We strive to create three dimensional characters, who empower all viewers regardless of sexuality or gender.
The Producers of LOST GIRL
GLAAD wrote in its post about the episode that it “unfortunately hurt and offended many of its fans” by showing a scene that was “was disturbingly evocative of real life anti-transgender violence.” GLAAD objected to the warden’s discovery and subsequent attack, saying it also reinforced “the offensive claim that transgender women are ‘tricking’ their way into female-only spaces for perverted or criminal purposes…”
Now, as I mentioned in my recap of the episode this week, I can understand why someone could find this scene offensive or problematic. The method of discovery and anger afterward does, sadly, mirror the reaction of some to transgender people. And to reinforce those bigoted beliefs – and the humiliation, violation or violence that can befall the trans community as a result – in any way would be a mistake.
But I also think it is essential that any such claims be viewed in full context. These are not human characters, but – as the producers mentioned – fantasy characters based in mythology. The producers’ intent was not to have the warden be a trans character, but a genuine trickster with unsavory motivations. This was not a person trying to live her truth. And therein lies the key difference.
The other important thing to note is the Lost Girl universe has never once made an issue of sexuality. Characters have been lesbian, bisexual and fluid in ways rarely seen on television. And, better yet, it has never been a source of angst or discrimination for the characters either. In many ways, it portrays sexuality in an almost mythical post-gay world where people aren’t seen as gay or straight or whathaveyou, but just people who like other people, period. Likewise, the character’s sexual orientation does not drive their moral compass. People just are – good, bad, gay, straight. It’s part of what I love most about the show.
Given the show’s track record on presenting strong and inclusive LGBT characters, I am not surprised they would be responsive to anything that might upset its audience. So I am glad they issued the statement. But I am also sad that they had to. Because this is truly one of the most LGBT positive shows on the air now with a production staff and actors who have proven their commitment and appreciation of the community.