Peter luce had appeared on Phil Donahue along with two hermaphrodites and a transsexual to discuss both the medical and psychological aspects of these conditions. On that program, Phil Donahue said, "Lynn Harris was born and raised a girl. You won the Miss Newport Beach Contest in 1964 in good old Orange Coutny, California? Boy, wait till they hear this. You lived as a woman to the age of twety-nine and then you switched to living as a man. He has the anatomical characteristics of both a man and a woman. If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'."
He also said, "Here's what's not so funny. These live, irreplaceable sons and daughters of God, human beings all, want you to know, among other things, that that's exactly what they are, human beings."p. 410, The Oracular Vulva
I put in a video application for Survivor after the first season. This was back when Real World and Survivor were pretty much alone in the reality TV arena. Since then I have thanked my lucky stars I never got a response. People are made to look like demons on TV. It amazes me time and again that anybody is willing to be interviewed for The Daily Show. And if it's good entertainment, nobody seems to care how it affects the lives of the people who are on the show. Did anybody else watch that show My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance? That show was so painful. And I hear there were lawsuits afterward.
I imagine people look to being on TV to find legitimacy for themselves (and some prize money, no doubt). But I never had much respect for the Phil Donahue show. I never watched it much, but imagined it as being something like Jerry Springer, and I don't see a discussion on transsexualism there advancing their legitimacy much. I hope it did, it's horrible to think a 20/21st century person wouldn't treat them as a human being.
I think, though, and this may just be conditioning, that there's no such thing as bad publicity. If your idea gets air time, it gets advanced. If you're an elementary teacher who has sex with your 14 year old student, don't worry, the publicity will ensure you a book deal that will secure early retirement (as soon as you get out of prison... if you go at all).
So, for me, the contention is between being on Dr. Keith to talk about a point of view that is more often than not censored or forgotten, and avoiding TV altogether because the odds are vastly in favor of personal humiliation. Luckily for me, there are more courageous folks to do the dirty work. Maybe some day I'll be called on to do something hard but really worthwhile, but this isn't it. :-)