Transgender people are increasingly depicted in both offline and online media. These representations inform the general public about transgender communities and have a significant impact on transgender young peoples’ identity development and lived experiences. However, despite increasing awareness of this representation, a lack of research persists on the perspectives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth regarding depictions of transgender people in contemporary media. This is despite the fact that this population may be particularly well positioned to consider the impact of these representations on themselves and their peers in the LGBTQ community. In this article the trends in contemporary media representations of transgender individuals are described, the perspectives of LGBTQ youth (N = 19) regarding these messages are examined, and the particular perspectives of transgender youth participants (n = 4) are explored. Clinical implications for social work practice are considered, including the potential usefulness of an ecological framework in considering the media engagement of LGBTQ young people.
By Lauren B. McInroy and Shelley L. Craig, 2015