Personally, I’ve read other reports from around the net which tend to vary from lukewarm to poor reception among the transgender community who aren’t paid contributors to websites. I mean come on, it’s Two and a Half Men, one of the most sexist and crude shows at times on prime time. On the other hand, they have treated some LGB subjects with sensitivity, such as when Charlie’s mom had a lesbian affair. Perhaps a crucial step towards mainstream acceptance is to not get too offended right away, unless the offense is blatant and unavoidable?
Recently I saw a drag performance with a cisgender woman and a transsexual friend, said performance being done by a gay man. The cisgender woman thought that the performance was entertaining and not offensive. My transsexual friend was torn – she did find the performance entertaining, but was also nonetheless bothered about “why is a man dressed as a woman supposed to be funny? Doesn’t this cause people to view transsexual women as drag performers, and thus not take the fact that our entire lives are uprooted and changed during transition as seriously as they should?”
As a transsexual woman myself, I was torn. My opinion was somewhere between the two – on one hand, I can see where my trans friend was coming from. On the other hand, the performance was done respectfully and well, and was entertaining. The focus of the humor was not on “look at me! I’m a gay dude wearing a dress!” but rather the gay man was simply playing a role which happened to be female.
Context and delivery is everything, and from what I can tell from the clips I’ve watched, Two and a Half Men didn’t do such a bad job. If nothing else, it’s worth waiting to see how the story develops.
Op-ed: Two and a Half Men Introduces Trans Character, Manages to Stay Respectful | Advocate.com.