Call to stop sensationalization of transexuals' stories

Published: June 9, 2014

As the oldest FTM group in the Philippines, PinoyFTM is no stranger to receiving requests for interviews or to appear as resource speakers to tackle the topic of female-to-male transgenderism. As education is one of the core focuses and values of our organization, we welcome and appreciate all such invitations. We have, however, on multiple occasions, turned down invitations we believe are not in the best interest of the goals we are fighting for. And more often than not, these rejections are for shows or people who appear to want to sensationalize our story or do not act in a professional manner by wanting to do everything in a rush.

However, despite our apprehension towards rushed requests, when Bandila, an award winning and well respected news program, came to us with their pitch for a segment they wanted to do on trans men, we found ourselves agreeing to do the interview. The decision to accept did not come from the fact that Bandila is popular, although their critical acclaim did make it easier for us to trust that a reliable news show like them would treat our story fairly and responsibly.

Ultimately, the reason we chose to accept the interview was because of what we felt was one of the best pitches made to us by someone not from within the LGBT community itself. Rather than the requests we commonly get from TV shows who make it obvious that they’re only interested in the radical physical changes brought about by our transition and only want to use our story for shock value, we were approached by a Bandila segment producer who had asked to interview three very distinct people:

  1. The organization head or president. The producer explained she wanted them specifically to talk about PinoyFTM as an organization, and what we do and have done for the Filipino trans community.
  2. Someone who could be considered successful. They clarified that it would be someone who has successfully transitioned (not necessarily physically), and could be someone people can look up to as an example that there is hope for trans men in our country.
  3. Someone who has experienced discrimination. The producer asked for someone who would be comfortable sharing their story and experiences with discrimination based on their transgenderism.

In our correspondence leading up to the interview, the producer had been respectful and accommodating, down to the way they framed the story they wanted to create. We had high hopes. There was no reason to believe there would be issues given how well everything was going.

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