“Depression is humiliating. It turns intelligent, kind people into zombies who can’t wash a dish or change their socks. It affects the ability to think clearly, to feel anything, to ascribe value to your children, your lifelong passions, your relative good fortune. It scoops out your normal healthy ability to cope with bad days and bad news, and replaces it with an unrecognizable sludge that finds no pleasure, no delight, no point in anything outside of bed. You alienate your friends because you can’t comport yourself socially, you risk your job because you can’t concentrate, you live in moderate squalor because you have no energy to stand up, let alone take out the garbage. You become pathetic and you know it. And you have no capacity to stop the downward plunge. You have no perspective, no emotional reserves, no faith that it will get better. So you feel guilty and ashamed of your inability to deal with life like a regular human, which exacerbates the depression and the isolation. If you’ve never been depressed, thank your lucky stars and back off the folks who take a pill so they can make eye contact with the grocery store cashier. No one on earth would choose the nightmare of depression over an averagely turbulent normal life.
It’s not an incapacity to cope with day to day living in the modern world. It’s an incapacity to function. At all. If you and your loved ones have been spared, every blessing to you. If depression has taken root in you or your loved ones, every blessing to you, too. No one chooses it. No one deserves it. It runs in families, it ruins families. You cannot imagine what it takes to feign normalcy, to show up to work, to make a dentist appointment, to pay bills, to walk your dog, to return library books on time, to keep enough toilet paper on hand, when you are exerting most of your capacity on trying not to kill yourself. Depression is real. Just because you’ve never had it doesn’t make it imaginary. Compassion is also real. And a depressed person may cling desperately to it until they are out of the woods and they may remember your compassion for the rest of their lives as a force greater than their depression. Have a heart. Judge not lest ye be judged.”—
I’m diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Right now I’m doing great, but I know exactly what this feels like for long periods of time. I’ve gone through periods of not being able to shower or speak for days and have lost all interest in everything and everyone. I hope I don’t go trough it again, but you never know what’s going to happen.
ABC, right? Easy question, easy answer. ABC has given us loving lesbian and gay families in Callie and Arizona on Grey’s Anatomy and Cam and Mitchell on Modern Family. It has given us hilarious, well-rounded gay men on Happy Endings and Desperate Housewives. It has given us complicated recurring lesbian characters on Private Practice. And it has been at the forefront of transgender inclusivity with Ugly Betty and Dancing With the Stars. In fact, 50 percent of ABC’s original programming includes positive representations of LGBT characters. Then why, oh why, are they planning to give a home to the wildly offensive sitcom Work It this January?
Unfamiliar with Work It? Lucky you! But allow me to enlighten you: When two straight male characters are fired from their jobs as car salesman, they decide to pose as women to land careers in the pharmaceutical industry. Is macho posturing going to drive the plot? Yep. Is misogynistic boy banter going to fill each episode? Uh huh. But the real problem with Work It — as evidenced by ABC’s first ad — is that it is going to make a giant joke out of stereotypes that continue to damage the transgender community.
One of the most harmful, degrading stereotypes transgender women face is the notion that they’re not “real” women. And you can bet that will be Work It’s entire repertoire of gags: “Look at that culturally defined male wearing traditionally feminine clothing! LOL! Lady fail!”
For transgender women, female presentation is not a joke. Unlike cisgender women, most of whom never have to think about things like mythical cultural cues, transgender women have to learn to speak with female speech patterns while maintaining female pitch, to move effortlessly in traditionally feminine clothing while observing culturally mandated behavioral cues, to display a cisgender body type, and so much more. And they must learn to do it in a society that is ready to mock even the slightest indication that their presentation isn’t “authentic.” It’s not just a matter of celebrating repressed femininity; it’s a matter of constantly combating discrimination.
So it’s no surprise that GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign were quick to condemn Work It when ABC released the first ad for the sitcom. In addition to meetings with high level execs at ABC, they are also asking LGBT people and allies to join a letter writing campaign urging ABC not to air the show. Our friend Lesley Goldberg has the full story over at The Hollywood Reporter. She even spoke to GLAAD senior director of programs and communications Herndon Graddick, who told her:
We believe that the show will harm transgender Americans and because of that, GLAAD and the HRC are asking ABC not to air it … It detracts from the real challenge transgender people face.
I read a lot of online commentary about Work It over the weekend, and nearly all of it was disheartening. There was a lot of this: “As a gay man, I’d just like to say that the gay community is being too sensitive!” Or: “I’m a lesbian and I think GLAAD needs to lighten up!”
To which I say: I’m a lesbian. I know what it’s like to feel a sense of cultural otherness. I know what it’s like to be discriminated against. But I do not know what it to grow up with a body that isn’t congruent with my gender; or to daily face the stereotype that I am just a man dressing up as a woman, and isn’t that just the funniest thing?
ABC should pull Work It from it’s roster immediately. It’s going to tank anyway, and cancelling it before it airs is a perfect way to save face in several ways. Of course, the best way to save face would have been never to have greenlit this dreck in the first place.
Here’s a tip for the do-it-yourself crowd: Go to your computer’s Start menu, and either go to “run” or just search for “cmd.” Open it up, and type in “ping [website address],” like so:
Once you have the IP for a website, all you really need to do is enter it like you would a normal URL and hit enter/press go. Typing in “188.8.131.52” should bring you to the front page of AO3, for example, just as typing “184.108.40.206/dashboard” should bring you straight to your Tumblr dashboard. Since we’re obviously bracing for the worst case scenario which would involve you not being able to access Tumblr regularly, you should, like, save this list, I guess.
So I updated Outside In again. This post isn’t humorous. I’m not laughing at myself or the lab or anything like that. I promise that there will only ever be two of these posts that are this sad. It’s really important though. So you should check it out.
The main gist of it is that Ash graduated and that makes me sad.