“Work It” premieres after the new year, and though the show is yet to appear on ABC, it’s already stirring up controversy. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Human Rights Campaign took out a one page ad against the show in Variety magazine. The ad protests the show, stating it mocks the lifestyles of transgendered individuals.
The actual ad is titled: "Message to ABC: 'Work It' Will Harm Transgender People," and says that men who dress up as women as a disguise to get work will encourage others to mock transgender people in every day life. "By encouraging the audience to laugh at the characters' attempts at womanhood, the show gives license to similar treatment of transgender women," the ad states. It also says that ABC "should know how offensive this show is, and that it even has the potential to jeopardize the safety of many transgender Americans in the process."
The group met with ABC to express their concerns with the show that stars Ben Koldyke and Amaruy Nolasco as two men who cross-dress to work in a woman-only firm. The group wants ABC to “consider whether airing this show is worth the damage it has the potential to do.”
ABC is not anti-transgender lifestyle and is likely not aiming to make a mockery of those who live the lifestyle. In fact, ABC cast Chaz Bono, who was Chasity Bono before a sex-change operation, on the 13th season of “Dancing With the Stars.” The network received incredible backlash for the decision, but stood by Bono throughout the duration of the show.
It’s likely writers just want to show what a challenge it is for the average man to try to live life as a woman. For example, in the promo the man needs help putting make-up on after originally painting his face like a clown.
“Work It” premieres January 3 on ABC.