The Transgender Television Awards
Official Sponsors –
Sade Class Tawe Butterflies
Jenny-Anne Christine Bishop OBE TransForum Manchester
Transgender Zone observe and catalogue television in the UK. We closely monitor television and record any issues that may positively or negatively affect transgender people. From this (list compiled every few years) the winners are chosen. The organisers do not have to choose the main winners as the media choose them for us, in other words, the winners choose themselves by their trans-positive behaviour. Anyone on UK television can win one of these awards – they just need to treat transgender people with dignity and respect over a long and provable period to be in with a chance. Unlike many awards, this is not decided by a small group in a room in an afternoon, this is the culmination of months of serious and critical observation. Our logs date back decades, so we can even refer back should we see sudden hypocritical changes in television ‘talent’. It really is difficult to win one of these awards! Television tends not to have actual transgender people on it, it tends to have cross-dressed comics who then use transphobia as part of their act – which is unacceptable. On panel shows, again, it is unusual to have a trans*comic present, so again, ripe for transphobia. To hire a trans* stand-up comedian to be present, at least allows a rebuttal if mocked. Often, sadly, transphobia is spoken to a non-trans audience by non-trans*people, and that is something we are addressing. However, to succeed we need allies, and it is with great pleasure we present this years winners and why. Maybe you would like to visit these topics in our library(?). ‘Transgender-Currency’ , ‘Gay Licence’ and finally ‘Transphobia by Proxy’ (TBP), as if you are a broadcaster they make essential and well informed reading. Each will be self-explanatory. Each term was created by Transgender Zone after decades of media research. You will see why when you visit the pages. As the terms required simply did not exist, but yet are rife in broadcasting.
THE TRANSGENDER TELEVISION AWARDS
Itv1 has been exemplary this year and for the first time beaten Channel 5 to the top spot. Thanks to their programmes ‘This Morning’ and ‘Lorraine’ this was a clear favourite. itv’s other channels such as itv2 need some attention and are by no means perfect. But itv daytime has made this choice very easy indeed.
This Morning is a regular winner of the Transgender Television Awards. Historically they have been very successful in their command of transgender issues. This year they have snapped up ‘Best Programme’ from all the programmes aired in 2015, This Morning ensured transgender guests were treated not only with dignity and respect, but offered a voice to the general viewing public on topics that included film discussion with transgender guests (such as ‘The Danish Girl’), but also younger voices who are now pushing for early intervention.
This Morning remains a very safe venue for transgender issues with a team that ensures all receive a very warm welcome and are taken seriously. Worthy Winners. Rylan was also on hand. For more on those see last year’s awards at the bottom of this page.
https://twitter.com/Schofe – Phillip Schofield (pictured above).
https://twitter.com/hollywills – Holly Willoughby (pictured above).
https://twitter.com/EamonnHolmes – Eamonn Holmes (Fridays).
https://twitter.com/RuthieeL – Ruth Langsford (Fridays with Husband Eamonn).
‘Big Brother’s Bit on the Side’ is now Rylan’s domain, which he took over from Emma Willis (a past winner of the TTA). Big Brother cannot always have transgender housemates. But the spin-off show that debates the happenings of the house entitled Big Brother’s Bit on the Side, makes up for this by having a very gender-variant studio audience coupled with trans* guest panellists. ‘This Morning’ (see above, where Rylan discusses the Award with Holly and Phil) is Rylan’s ‘day job’ where he reports on celebrity news stories. Of course in 2015 there was no bigger story than Caitlyn Jenner. Caitlyn was all over the press and social networks, and of course Rylan’s safe pair of hands ensured his reports were balanced, fair, and carefully explained. Contrast this with comics on other channels, we see how easy it can be for any trans*person in the public eye to become a figure of fun. Rylan seems unstoppable, this is the third award he has been part of. This time though it is a personal ‘Best Presenter’ award, just pipping Matthew Wright (‘Wright Stuff’, Channel 5) to the post. Congratulations Rylan.
Best Dramatic Role
Banana, Cucumber and Tofu was a series of tales set in Manchester created by Russell T Davies of ‘Doctor Who’ fame. One of the stories was about revenge porn (topical) and featured a hard working (restaurant manager) trans*woman. This story took us in a different direction to that usual trans* narrative. It resulted in some exceptional acting. As she was mostly acting to a computer screen. We watched in horror as her world fell apart as her malicious ex boyfriend uploaded the footage for the world to see. We could only look on in sympathy, helpless. However, her strength and family dynamic won through. Bethany delivered an exceptional performance, totally believable, a performance that carried the audience on the journey with her. There is a full review with screenshots of the episode here so you can see why Bethany deserves this plaudit. Banana Review click here.
Special Award for Excellence
‘Pharmacist Baffler’ was a Radio 4 series of stand-up comedy shows delivered by Andrew O’Neill. It has been a long time since we have been truly excited by the prospect of a mainstream trans* Stand-up. The last time was here with Eddie Izzard. That was in the 90s. Since then few have really made a mark. Andrew is a multi-talented, musician, artist and performer. But the stand-up show entitled ‘Pharmacist Baffler’ was crafted in a way, only a trans* or a gender-variant person could do justice to. Andrew, examined the very idea of cross-dressing and the public reaction to street abuse in a light-hearted way. The audience instantly warmed to Andrew as they explained the minutia of trans* issues to a very appreciative audience. Andrew entertained us all. Andrew’s delivery was done in such a way, that it was made accessible to a regular cisgender audience. The roars of laughter and Andrew’s command of the stage demonstrated that we are now ready for Andrew to move into mainstream comedy opportunities, BBC2, comedy panel shows or light-entertainment presenting. The sky is the limit and Andrew has the potential, talent and style to be a big star of the future, and fortunately Radio 4 has repeated (just recently) the series in question, and that can be found here – Enjoy!.
Sponsor’s Special Awards
‘Boy Meets Girl’ (BBC2) created a lot of debate around the BBC Writer’s Room Transgender Comedy Award offering. One look on-line will find people debating it to some length. This was all because the community cared about the importance of a transgender person taking the lead role. Fears were calmed however, when established Transgender Actor Rebecca Root took the helm of this BBC2 sitcom about her relationship with a cisgender boyfriend and their families. The sponsors felt that this had a social impact, and their groups, organisations, and friends, were excitedly anticipating every episode. Any television programme that gets people talking is important, as the viewers care. However, a show such as this on a major broadcast channel (BBC2), featuring a transgender actress in a comedic role made this a very easy choice for the Sponsor’s Special Award. Rebecca was filming series two of Boy Meets Girl at the time of the award.
Rebecca’s Acceptance Speech
Tinopolis Productions – S4C – Wales
The second Sponsor’s Special Award is awarded to the Welsh (where the Sponsors are based) production company Tinopolis Cymru. Tinopolis Wales is the largest producer of Welsh language programming with 400 hours annually. The production company has been very supportive of transgender issues. And are working closely with the Welsh transgender activists (Sponsors) to create more programming in the future – watch this space! In this clip, taken from their flagship daytime programme ‘Heno’, the team formally accept the award along with some studio discussion. If you are wondering about the cuddly toy cat, it is called ‘Sparkles’, a mascot, and a fund raiser for the annual transgender event in Manchester.