Trans persons on trans representations in popular media culture: A reception study

  • Hanne Van Haelter (Ghent University)
  • Frederik Dhaenens orcid logo (Ghent University)
  • Sofie Van Bauwel orcid logo (Ghent University)


After having been largely ignored, people with a trans*gender identity are more represented in mainstream film and television, yet little research on the viewpoints of trans persons themselves exists (McInroy & Craig, 2015). Therefore, this article explores how Belgian transgender persons assess the recurring and contemporary media depictions of trans persons. Based on semi-structured in-depth interviews with transgender persons with ages ranging from eighteen to seventy years old (N=13), we found that the participants appreciated the increased visibility of trans persons and themes in media but noted that trans men and nonbinary persons are still rarely represented. Generally, respondents expressed fairly satisfied sentiments regarding representations that they perceived as realistic, especially in non-fictional and infotainment programs. Nevertheless, they also argued that media tend to focus too much on the physical body of a transgender person and depict a complete physical transition as a precondition to fully fit into society.

Keywords: Transgender representation, Media representation, LGBTQ, Reception analysis, In-depth interviews

How to Cite:

Van Haelter, H., Dhaenens, F. & Van Bauwel, S., (2022) “Trans persons on trans representations in popular media culture: A reception study”, DiGeSt - Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies 9(1), 75-88. doi:

Download PDF
View PDF



Published on
07 Jun 2022
Peer Reviewed