Despite being one of the most inclusive science fiction programs on television, the SyFy series Lost Girl unfortunately hurt and offended many of its fans with its most recent season premiere this week, which featured a shapeshifting villain that gets her comeuppance in a scene (as seen in the below image from AfterEllen) that was disturbingly evocative of real life anti-transgender violence. Following complaints from viewers and outreach from GLAAD, the producers of Lost Girl have now released a statement in response.
The Canadian produced Lost Girl airs in the US on the SyFy network, and follows a supernatural heroine named Bo who investigates crimes involving mystical beings. Its season three premiere, “Caged Fae,” is the show’s take on pulpy “women in prison” films, in which the main character gets herself tossed in a jail for supernatural beings to uncover a criminal plot. The jail is run by Amazons (as in the mythical all-female warrior tribe) and the prison warden who are secretly impregnating prisoners and selling their offspring.
At the end of the episode, the warden is revealed to be biologically male shape-shifter, who Bo “exposes” by kissing her and telling the Amazon guards that the warden has beard stubble. One of the guards immediately grabs the warden’s crotch in a forceful manner and yells, leading the other guards to immediately descend on the warden and drag her away. As the attack is happening, the warden screams “My mother was an Amazon! I’m one of you!” Afterwards, the other characters mention that the warden survived the attacks, but refer to her with exclusively male pronouns.
Whether or not you consider the prison warden to be a transgender character is open to interpretation given that the character is a mythological shapeshifter, but there’s no mistaking the scene that takes place out at the end of the episode. The warden being “discovered” and then viciously attacked is a scenario tragically based in reality, but here is played out for the enjoyment of the audience. It’s also evocative of the offensive claim that transgender women are “tricking” their way into female-only spaces for perverted or criminal purposes which was recently put forth in a defamatory editorial in The Observer that became the subject of heated online debate. That piece inspired so much outrage from the LGBT and feminist communities that The Observer actually pulled the piece offline altogether.
GLAAD spoke with the show’s producers today after finding the episode offensive. Prodigy Pictures, Inc. have released the following statement:
We want to let you know that the Lost Girl writers base all episodic characters off of researched folklore, and that the character of The Warden in the premiere of Season 3 is a character based off the mythological shapeshifter known as the Liderc. The Warden was only intended to represent this mythic being. We did not intend this character to be seen as a transgender person, we apologize if the character was seen as such. We do hope that you accept that no comparison or discrimination toward the transgender community was intended by the depiction of this mythological character.
Lost Girl prides itself on being open and accepting to everyone, and are enthusiastic supporters of the GLBT community. We want to encourage a society in which everyone can feel comfortable to express and be who they are without judgment. Equality and a world without labels is important to all of us at the series. We strive to create three dimensional characters, who empower all viewers regardless of sexuality or gender.
The Producers of LOST GIRL
It’s especially unfortunate that this scene took place on a show with strong bisexual and lesbian lead characters, including the “Lost Girl” herself, Bo, who began a relationship with a woman in this same episode. Lost Girl has a very loyal fanbase among lesbian and bisexual women, and with good reason, as it’s one of the few shows on television to make their stories the focus rather than supplementary plot, not to mention one featuring well-rounded, out characters. We hope that they will continue to set a good example in future episodes.