Transgender as ingroup or outgroup? Lesbian, gay, and bisexual viewers respond to a transgender character in daytime television

Eleanor G Morrison
Journal of Homosexuality 2010, 57 (5): 650-65
From November 2006 to April 2007, the daytime drama All My Children featured Zoe, the first transitioning transgender character on broadcast television. Acknowledging historical tension within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community over transgender acceptance, this study examines how lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) viewers of All My Children reacted to this character. LGB viewers were more likely to dislike the character than non-LGB viewers, yet were also more trans-supportive than non-LGB viewers. Further evaluation suggests LGB viewers' negative response to Zoe was tied not to the transgender status of the character but specifically to unhappiness with a plot development seen to threaten the identity of the lesbian character, Bianca. Applications of social identity theory and implications for community politics are discussed.

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