Representations of transgender young adults in multiple medias, or The transgender success story
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Adolescence is not experienced in the same way by all individuals or communities; individuals who cannot find harmony between their sense of identity and social norms often have a much harder time during this period. In this vein, there is an especially strong need for transgender adolescents to be able to locate themselves in the world around them. I examine current transgender representations available to (and specifically marketed towards) young adults through three venues—literature, television, and the Internet. The amount of material that deals directly with any instance of transgender or transsexual identity is minimal. I will argue at the very least that these representations are important for transgendered adolescents to find someone with whom they can identify but that more than likely, it is important for all adolescents to have exposure to representations of transgender individuals. I closely analyze the young adult novel, Parrotfish (Wittlinger 2007), and the CW television show, America’s Next Top Model, for narratives of success that are applied to transgender subjects. I also briefly analyze three websites and compare them to the previous texts, identifying key similarities and differences. I end with suggestions for future growth in all three areas.