Image credit: ABC

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Human Rights Campaign took to a Hollywood trade on Wednesday to show how ABC’s upcoming cross-dressing comedy, Work It, could have a negative impact on the transgender community.

Using photos of transgender Americans, an ad in Variety features statistics from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force on discrimination to demonstrate how the comedy could be misinterpreted by viewers.“Work It will harm transgender people,” the ad says in bold letters. The comedy bowing Jan. 3 is about two men who disguise themselves as women to land jobs. GLAAD says via the ad that transgender Americans can be legally fired in 34 states for “simply being who they are,” and 97 percent of self-identified transgender people reported being harassed or abused at work. GLAAD also argues that while the show’s pilot does not explicitly address transgender people, many viewers unfamiliar with the realities of being transgender “will still make the connection.”

“This show could contribute to the high levels of job discrimination that transgender Americans face and will give license for people to mock and ridicule those whose gender expression might not fit with what society considers the norm,” said GLAAD’s acting president Mike Thompson in a statement. “The media should use this as an opportunity to address the huge number of inaccurate or offensive images of transgender people in news and entertainment today.”

GLAAD acknowledged that it will meet with ABC execs about the show. The network had no comment about the ad.

In July, ABC entertainment president Paul Lee defended Work It by comparing the show’s humor to a long tradition of cross-dressing British comedy. “I’m a Brit, it is in my contract that I have to do one cross-dressing show a year,” Lee said. “I was brought up on Monty Python.”

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