December 19th, 2011
12:46 PM ET
ABC's new midseason comedy "Work It" doesn't air until January 3, but it's drawing a critical reaction from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Human Rights Campaign, reports Entertainment Weekly.
The premise of "Work It" centers on two manly men who are struggling to find employment, and thus dress as women in order to get jobs.
GLAAD posits in a write-up on its website that "during a period in which the transgender community now routinely finds itself in the cultural crosshairs, the timing couldn't be worse for a show based on the notion that men dressed as women is inherently funny."
The organization adds that it has viewed the show's pilot, and while it "doesn't explicitly address transgender people, many home viewers unfamiliar with the realities of being transgender will still make the connection."
There's also the issue of the show's advertisement, featuring two men dressed in skirts and heels at a urinal, which GLAAD says "inadvertently further[s] notions that transgender identities are humorous or artificial" and is also the sort of image that "anti-LGBT activists resort to when trying to deny transgender people protections against discrimination."
The organization asserts that ABC, which has been acknowledged for previous inclusion of the LGBT community, should pull the ad and reconsider airing the show. GLAAD's acting president has said it "will reinforce the mistaken belief that transgender women are simply 'men pretending to be women,' and that their efforts to live their lives authentically as women are a form of lying or deception."
The Human Rights Campaign has issued a similar call with a letter writing campaign to urge ABC to not air "Work It." In a statement on the organization's website, the HRC says that the premise of the show "reinforces false and damaging stereotypes about transgender people."
According to EW, ABC had no comment on the comments from GLAAD or the HRC.
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